The zoo, puppet theater, children's museums, parties with clowns — these places probably come to mind when deciding what activities to do with your kids.
But sometimes you want to do something different. Here are some alternative, family-friendly activities that will be fun for both kids and the '90s counterculture parent.
If you were part of the '90s subculture, you may be a music snob. While your friends were at the mall, you were scouring Tower Records for a copy of the latest Wilco single. Tower Records may no longer exist, but your propensity for music elitism does. So give your kid a music history lesson by taking them on a tour of your local record store or by playing your favorite albums during breakfast and lunch.
Sure, some concerts were off-limits to people under age 21. But the '90s were big on teen clubs and all ages shows. You won't be able to take your kid to Coachella, but you could still share your love of concerts. You can bring them to the SummerStage Family Days if you're in New York City. Or take a trip down to Austin, Texas for Austin Kiddie Limits — Austin City Limits' kid-friendly festival within a festival. There, they'll hear kid-friendly alt-pop that you'll even enjoy. Either way, there are plenty of kid-centric concerts that won't drag on for parents.
In the '90s, Nickelodeon was the leader of gak-filled kids game shows such as "Double Dare." Relive those glory days by creating your very own Nick-inspired obstacle course. Build a makeshift Super Aggro Crag in your backyard or bury lost treasure around the house that can only be unlocked by answering trivia. It's nostalgia that you and your family can enjoy.
A fondness for Shakespeare knows no decade and no age. But if you're like other parents who grew up in the '90s, your love of the Bard didn't actually start until you watched Leonardo DiCaprio court Claire Danes around a fish tank in the 1996 modernization of "Romeo & Juliet." Want your child to fall in love with Shakespeare, too? Then take them to your local production of Shakespeare in the Park. The shows are free and kid-friendly in most cities.
Nerf Super Soakers were synonymous with summer in the '90s. Super Soakers are still sold in stores, although they're not as popular as they were two decades ago. That doesn't mean you can’t relive your famous water fights with your own Super Soaker block party, though. Gather everyone in your neighborhood, bring out the big water guns, and have a day of super soaker summer fun.
Laser tag was huge in the '90s. It was like the kid version of paintball, and upped the ante of freeze tag. And laser tag was so big that teachers even planned field trips to arcades. The popularity of laser tag may have waned, but your love of it hasn't. So trade in the children's zoo for a laser tag party and show your kid why you were laser tag queen for three years in a row.
The '90s saw a resurgence of the “Star Wars” subculture after a special edition of the iconic sci-fi franchise was released in 1997 to honor its 20th anniversary. And then, two years later, director George Lucas released "Episode I – The Phantom Menace," the first in the prequel trilogy, to the excitement of millions of devotees. Share your love of the “Star Wars” universe with your kid and have trilogy marathon in your backyard. Throw up a shade, get a projector, sit on some lawn chairs, and watch “Star Wars” under the night sky.
Take the whole family to dinner and a movie at your local Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Go on an animal adventure with "WILD KRATTS" during PBS Kids at the Alamo. Or enjoy food inspired by the 1967 animated version of "The Jungle Book" in honor of the story's new live action take. Spending time at the '90s-born theater chain will remind you of all those times you spent at the movies after school.
Bowling has experienced a renaissance in recent years. But in the '90s, it wasn't uncommon for families to hang out at their local bowling alley on a Saturday afternoon. And if your family wanted the ultimate bowling experience, you went to cosmic bowling, where neon lights swirled and pop music played as you bowled for a turkey. Pass on the tradition to your children, and take them to the next cosmic bowling night at your local bowling alley.
Sometimes you just want to stay in. And what better way to enjoy your time indoors than with a family game night? But don't make it an ordinary game night with Pictionary or Monopoly. Break out the '90s games you couldn't live with. Crossfire. Break the Ice. Bop It. Gator Golf. Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? It'll feel like 1995 all over again.
Your kids will still want to go to the petting zoo or the circus. But that doesn't mean you can't add some adult-friendly kid activities into the mix.