Do you remember all of the things you dreamed of doing when you grew up? Driving a race car? Playing pro baseball? Living like a queen? Maybe even searching for pirate treasure? If you’re seeking inspiration for your next great getaway, consider a trip that allows you to follow a childhood dream. Read on to discover eight out-of-the-box vacations that are perfect for the young at heart.
When I grow up, I want to be a race car driver.
Whether you’re a racing fan, or you just like the idea of putting the pedal to the metal, you can now live out the childhood dream of being a race car driver, if only for a few minutes. The Skip Barber Racing School gives you the opportunity to follow the same course curriculum used to train the likes of Jeff Gordon and Michael Andretti. You’ll begin each day with classroom instruction, then put the rubber to the road as coaches monitor your every turn on the road course, giving feedback as you learn double clutch, race starts, and drafting and passing techniques. This is truly a thrill of a lifetime for race car fans.

When I grow up, I want to live in a tree house.

If you had dreams of living like the Swiss Family Robinson, you should check out the spectacular tree house rooms at the Tree House Lodge in Lìmon, Costa Rica. Far from roughing it, with an en suite restroom and kitchenette in your own private tree fort, this luxury hideaway offers seclusion and connection to nature as you drift off to sleep among the foliage.

When I grow up, I want to hunt for pirate treasure.

Portobelo, Panama once housed a treasury of sorts for Spanish gold stolen from the Incas. As such, it was the perfect target for pirates and privateers alike, many of whose ships sank in heated, at-sea battles. This area is now the perfect underwater playground for scuba divers/treasure hunters of any skill level. Check out PADI Dive Resort to schedule training (if you need it), equipment rental, guided tours, and nearby accommodations.

When I grow up, I want to be a professional baseball player.

If your childhood dreams involved sliding into home plate with all-time baseball greats cheering you on, you can find a fantasy baseball camp to make your dreams a reality. Receive batting instruction from former Yankees players or get priceless tips from past Red Sox greats as you play on an exact replica of Fenway Park. Nearly every major baseball team offers a fantasy camp, so a web search will quickly connect you with your home team’s program.

When I grow up, I want to get up close and personal with wild animals.

If you’ve dreamed of walking with elephants or photographing the fierce beauty of a pride of lions, you can check these wishes off your bucket list by going on an African safari. Wildlife tours through Wilderness Safaris are run by wildlife experts who are passionate about ensuring that Africa’s pristine wilderness areas remain sustainably protected. Check their website to see which times of year are best for viewing a wide variety of amazing animals in their natural element.

When I grow up, I want to dig for dinosaur bones.

If dinosaurs captured your imagination as a child – and if they’re not on the minds of your own children or grandchildren – a family fossil hunting adventure may be just the trip for you. The American Museum of Natural History hosts weeklong trips for budding paleontologists of all ages to discover and uncover dinosaur fossils in Colorado. On this one-of-a-kind vacation, you’ll hike the “Trail through Time” to identify large fragments of dinosaur skeletons that have been embedded in place for 145 million years, and learn excavation techniques and how to cast dinosaur bones and teeth. Learn more at athe AMNH Expeditions website.

When I grow up, I want to captain a ship.

If you’ve ever fantasized about port city hopping along the coast, you can learn to sail through a weeklong cruise from Blue Water Sailing School. Through personalized instruction and lots of hands-on experience right the from the start, you’ll soon taste the salty wind and hear the waves lap against the bow, as you confidently maneuver your craft and feel the freedom of the open water.

When I grow up, I want to be a king or queen.

Let’s face it, the only reason you wanted to be a king or queen was for the chance to live in a castle. Now you can live like royalty, if only for a day or two, without even pulling out your passport. The Castle on the Hudson is a true Norman style castle that sits atop 11 acres, and it’s just 30 minutes outside of Manhattan. If you absolutely must have the real thing, check in to the Ashford Castle, once the seat of the Royal House of Connacht and now a five-star hotel, in Galway, Ireland.

If you’ve taken a vacation to follow a childhood dream, feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment below.