In 2007 the New 7 Wonders of the World Foundation announced the winners of a popular vote on which man-made structures should be named as “the 7 Modern Wonders of the World”.
The winners were:
- Chichen Itza
- Christ The Redeemer
- Great Wall of China
- Machu Picchu
- The Colosseum
- The Taj Mahal
(Suprised one of your favourites isn’t here? Come and see the 21 Finalists that were voted on)
Whether its a deep fascination for a particular era in history or just a desire to cross the continents, these sites naturally attract the attention of worldwide visitors. This recent accolade only adding to the curiosity and mystique these places hold.
Some of these amazing places are not straightforward to reach; ancient cities long since buried and rediscovered – others sitting as ancient icons in modern cities for centuries!
So can you visit the 7 modern wonders with kids?
Of course you can! We have asked travelling parents who have visited this amazing sites to explain the ins and outs and their top tips for visiting the modern wonders with kids.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
A powerful Mayan trading city dating back to 800-1200AD
We are a little embarrassed to say how many times we’ve been to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico without visiting Chichén Itzá, so with our most recent trip being a whole month, we knew it was time to add it to our itinerary. Not only is Chichén Itzá where you’ll find the Kukulkan Pyramid, one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, but it’s also the 2nd most visited archaeological site in Mexico.
It’s just our kind of thing to do too, mixing culture with nature. We were able to let the kids run along the jungle paths while we marvelled at the Mayan ruins. The ruins themselves may not have been that interesting to kids so young, but they were perfectly happy running around and climbing on what they could. The entire site is nicely spread out so even when the tour buses did start to arrive it didn’t feel crowded.
It does get pretty hot without much shade so hats and sunscreen are a must. When everyone had had enough of exploring the ruins in the heat, we stopped by one of the nearby cenotes to cool off!
Given that we were travelling with a 4 and 2-year old, we wanted to ensure we would all enjoy the experience since it is a long outing from either Cancun or Playa del Carmen. We had our own rental car allowing us to arrive early, beat the crowds and see it at our own pace.
Christ the Redeemer
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The newest of the world’s modern wonders, this 98-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ was erected in 1931 as a symbol of Brazil’s Christianity
We visited Christ the Redeemer in Rio with a two-and-a-half-year-old. Having watched Rio (the kids’ movie), the statue was the one landmark she instantly recognised. We also decided to go up Mount Corcovado where the statue stands for some of the best views of Rio.
There are two family-friendly ways of getting up there: a road that leads to a car park from which you can easily walk to the statue and a small train (Corcovado train). We picked the second option as that seemed like a fun ride for a toddler. The train ride was fun but slightly scary at times. The tracks are really narrow and seem to be rather precariously laid down at times. Looking out the window was fun as we spotted some animals and many fruits in the trees. A short walk up a paved path and steps and we were on the small platform on which the Christ stands.
We were there late morning and it was packed. It was unbearable to be fair. We couldn’t let our toddler be on the ground. She would have got lost in a second (and we are not easily scared). We took pictures and left. She was not impressed. The view was stunning as promised. We would go again because you have to see the view. But the best part was the train ride for our toddler.
My advice: go early or late. Also, trains get booked up quickly. Better book the tickets in advance. And don’t take a pram/stroller: steps and busy train ride make it impossible. For smaller kids, take a baby carrier or make them walk. It is steep but not long. Finally, if it is a cloudy day, it may not be worth going. The view, the whole point of the trip, in my opinion, will be very limited.
Great Wall of China
Built between the 5th and 16th century to protect the Chinese Empire from invading Mongols. Spanning 4000 miles, it is the longest man-made structure in the world.
The Great Wall Of China is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. As we were on our way to Australia from the UK and were looking for a stopover this seemed like the perfect time. Our daughter was 20 months when we visited which was great as she walked a distance of the wall for herself.
If you want to visit The Great Wall I’d recommend having a child that is a good walker at distance or one that doesn’t mind being in a carrier as it is steep in places, particularly at watchtowers.
You can visit the wall at several locations but we’d recommend the Mutianyu section as it is not too far from Beijing but not as busy as other sections. We used a private tour company to take us to the wall which I’d recommend to other parents as it allows you to travel at your own pace and eliminates any language difficulties. We used Great Wall Hiking and definitely would recommend them.
To visit the Great Wall I’d recommend staying in central Beijing and travelling out to the wall. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Beijing which has amazing facilities for children including a brilliant indoor pool and is in a great location for other Beijing attractions.
Andes Mountains, Peru
An Incan citadel perched between 2 peaks in the Andes, built in the mid-1400’s and unknown to the outside world until 1911
Machu Picchu, Peru has been one of those dream destinations of mine since I started traveling. When we had children, I thought it would be one that would need to wait a while due to altitude and the logistics of getting to this wonder of the world with young children. But after doing some research, I learned that visiting Machu Picchu with kids is not only achievable but an incredible family adventure.
Machu Picchu ended up being relatively easy to get to. We opted not to do the famous Inca Trail hike due to the ages of our boys (3 & 5). But Machu Picchu can be accessed via a flight to Cusco, and a train to Machu Picchu Pueblo. From there, it’s a short bus ride up the mountain to the entrance to the ruins.
While we didn’t see many foreign visitors with children as young as ours in Machu Picchu, we saw plenty of Peruvians who were visiting with their young children. In fact, Machu Picchu was one of the highlights of our trip to Peru for our boys. They loved the accessibility of the ruins, the crisp mountain air and free-roaming llama’s dotting the green landscape.
For parent’s looking to experience Machu Picchu with their families, I recommend taking your time to get there. Book a couple of days in the Sacred Valley to get acclimatized and then base yourself in Machu Picchu Pueblo. The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo is a fantastic hotel for families and offers loads of things to do. In fact, it could be a destination all on its own.
Near Wadi Musa, Jordan
The capital of the Nabatean Empire “The Rose City” dates back to first century BC, unknown to the outside world until it was rediscovery in the early 19th Century.
Buried deep in southern Jordan 240kms south of Amman, nothing can quite prepare you for that first glimpse of the famous Treasury building as you pop out the end of a mile-long Siq and arrival at the ancient city. The clattering of horses and carts truly adds to the atmosphere as you’re transported to another era – a city carved into the rocky mountainside.
We visited with a 7, 4 and 2-year-old and found it was probably more than they could all cope with, although the awe and wonder of the place was certainly not lost on them. Even with the help of donkey’s and horses, exploring the site still involves a considerable amount of walking. Those with smaller legs will tire easily, especially on the steady incline back to the entrance. Consider whether you should bring a carrier for younger tots, or alternatively, it might be a trip worth waiting until you think kids can last the distance – expect over 8km of walking all up, at least.
Whilst the first section of the walk to the Treasury is manageable with a stroller you wouldn’t get further into the site which is sand and rocks. We suggest you take a carrier with small children and consider some donkey assistance should you wish to explore deeper into the site and over the hill to the monastery.
Catching “Petra by Night” where the Siq and Treasury are lit up is also an amazing and memorable experience worth saving some leg power for (check the schedule as it’s not on daily). Our kids also really enjoyed visiting nearby “Little Petra” (Siq al-Barid) a smaller but equally impressive site that is far less crowded and easier to navigate than the main Petra city, yet still steeped in history and ideal for junior explorers.
We stayed at and recommend the Movenpick Resort Petra. If you are on a tighter budget though, we could also recommend Petra Guest House immediately at the entrance to the site and including the 3000-year-old Cave Bar!
Built between 70-80AD it is one of the longest standing and most recognisable relics from the Roman Empire
The Colosseum commands attention. It stands tall in the centre of Rome, amidst zooming cars and scooters, and it grasps the interest of little explorers like no other site in the city.
Built in the 1st century AD by order of emperor Vespasianus, the Colosseum is a theatre and over the course of the centuries has witnessed fights where gladiators, wild animals and even ships battled each other for the entertainment of Roman emperors and commoners alike.
Visiting the Colosseum with kids is fun and educational. The theatre is located just beside the Roman forum and it is a good idea to plan a full morning in the area and get a sense of what ancient Rome was truly like.
The Colosseum is open to the public and ramps and lifts make it accessible also to families with young kids. Lines can be exceptionally long and in the summer, when the sun beats its ancient marbles relentlessly, can be too hard for children. Do invest in skip the lines tickets and family-friendly tours: you will save time and specialized guides will make the place come to life with stories about gladiators, animals and…. toilets (ancient Roman ones, of course)!
Toddlers may find the Colosseum of little interest but are likely to enjoy a stroll in its vicinity anyway: ‘ancient’ Romans in full gladiator attire will grasp their attention and the hill in front hosts a small but cute park with gorgeous views and an ice cream shop!
There is a metro stop nearby, Colosseo making it easily accessible from most parts of Rome.
The Taj Mahal
A mausoleum commissioned for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, built between 1632 and 1648
Living in Bangalore, India, we figured that visiting the Taj Mahal was something we just had to do. Our boys were aged 2 and 3 at the time, and therefore good planning was key to a successful visit.
The best months to visit are the shoulder seasons of March/April and September/October, which avoids the uncomfortably hot monsoon season and overcrowded peak season. Also, try and arrive for sunrise, when there are fewer crowds and the air is cooler; and note that the Taj is closed on Fridays.
Security is very tight on entrance, with separate queues for men and women. All bags will be check and all food will be confiscated. This was not good for our two boys who had missed breakfast due to our early start. You are likely to spend about 3 hours walking around, so just hide those snacks better than we did!
You’re also going to want to capture that iconic shot in front of the Taj. Trying to find a gap with no one else around and having your kids cooperate is an impossible task. We found that if you walk around to the right of the mausoleum, there are hardly any tourists, and getting ‘that shot’ is a much more feasible. Just expect a few selfie requests along the way, especially if your children are fair.
We were worried that our visit had perhaps been lost on the boys as they seemed more interesting in wrestling than marvelling the architecture. But as we walked out of the exit gate our 2 year old said, ‘Bye-bye Taj Mahal, you’re beautiful’.
We recommend staying at the very lovely DoubleTree by Hilton – Agra.
Thank you for joining us for our whirl-wind adventure around the world and for all the families who contributed their stores. As ever, we are eternally inspired by those around us who have helped us continue to explore the world, even after kids come along!
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