With eight castles in the U.S. and one in Canada, Medieval Times is really more of a show than a restaurant, but you will definitely have happy (and well-fed!) children when you leave. Travel back to the Middle Ages and enjoy a show featuring jousting knights on horseback, sword-fighting, and medieval-style games. Kids will get to cheer for their section’s knight, and one child from the audience often gets to sit with the king! The menu is not varied – everyone is served the same basic fare of chicken (which they call baby dragon!), soup, bread, and corn (with vegetarian options available) – but the experience is second to none. It’s not inexpensive, but what an amazing treat for your little ones! Medieval Times has locations in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, and Ontario, Canada. Visit www.medievaltimes.com for more information.
With two locations in the United States, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure lets your child dine on board a pirate ship while you watch a show filled with pirates, cannons, singers, and stunt performers. Children even get a chance to join in the show! The menu is quite limited, though there are at least two options for each course except dessert. Children are served one of those favorites of kids all over – chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese. Of course, with a place like this, you come for the show and enjoy the food while you’re at it! Pirate’s Dinner Adventure has locations in Buena Park, CA and Orlando, FL. Visit www.piratesdinneradventure.com for more information.
Moving away from the dinner-and-a-show establishments above, Rainforest Café is a national chain, with 23 restaurants in twelve different states across the U.S., as well as locations in Niagara Falls, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Dubai. It all started in 1994, when the first restaurant was opened at the Mall of America in Minnesota. The restaurants feature a tropical rainforest theme, and kids are treated to animatronic animals that move and make noise while you dine. Families are treated to the rainforest theme before they even enter the restaurant, as most of the restaurants also have a beautiful exterior as well as interior. Snakes may greet you near the door, and you may enjoy your meal next to an elephant or a flock of parrots. While the kids will enjoy the delicious fare made especially for them, parents will love the varied offerings available for a more mature palate. Most importantly, though, your kids will never forget the fantastic surroundings. How often can they eat a meal in the company of a troop of gorillas? Rainforest Café has locations in the Midwest, Southwest and East Coast areas of the United States, as well as Texas and Florida. For a full list of locations and menu information, visit http://www.rainforestcafe.com.
As their jingle says, “Red Robin, yum!” Kids (and parents) will love the laid-back atmosphere that is found in every Red Robin in the country (and there are hundreds of them). Known for their fantastic burgers, this chain restaurant always has the kids in mind, keeping their restaurants stocked with balloons and fun décor. In fact, Red Robin is so dedicated to kids having fun that they have an entire section of their website devoted to kids. While you may not get a full show or tropical animals, Red Robin is a surefire way to make sure the kids have a fun and delicious meal. Red Robin has approximately 500 locations throughout the continental United States and three locations in Alaska. For more information, visit www.redrobin.com
Texans can rejoice in the fact that their state has two locations of this fun establishment. With servers dressed as popular icons from the past, present, and future, The Magic Time Machine restaurant offers fun family fare for all. In addition to their varied food offerings, the locations have themed dining rooms, including a lunchbox, a teepee, a carousel, plus both locations serve up their soup and salad bar in a modified 1952 MG-TD Roadster – they call it the salad car! How fun is that? The Magic Time Machine Restaurant has two locations, one in Dallas and one in San Antonio. More information can be found by visiting www.magictimemachine.com.
With a waterfall, a pink tower façade, a fountain, an arcade, and a different show every fifteen minutes in addition to puppet shows on the hour, Casa Bonita in Denver, Colorado, is sure to please even the most finicky child. Their waterfall plunges into a pool that hosts a dive show, and the children even get to go on a search for the hidden hideout of Black Bart! If the name sounds familiar, it may be because Casa Bonita was featured on the popular cartoon South Park back in 2003. Their menu features Mexican food dishes, and parents can enjoy the famous margaritas (available by the liter!). For more information, visit www.casabonitadenver.com.
Located on the famous Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California (along with two other locations in surrounding suburbs), Giggles ‘n’ Hugs is a favorite of celebrity parents. This fun family place features different activities every half-hour, including karaoke, scavenger hunts, arts & crafts, and much more! It has been voted the best place for birthday parties, the best family restaurant, and the best indoor play space (among other accolades) in Los Angeles. Parents will love the organic and locally-sourced menu items, and they offer gluten-free options, as well. They even serve breakfast all day, every day! Giggles ‘n’ Hugs operates three entertainment centers, located in Los Angeles, Canoga Park, and Glendale. Visit www.gigglesnhugs.com for more information.
A 12-page dessert menu and a carousel? You can’t possibly go wrong with that! Ella’s Deli, located in the city of Madison, Wisconsin, has been voted the best place to take kids in Madison for over twenty years. It features animated designs on the walls and tables with glass tops that have all sorts of delights inside, such as a moving model train, to delight your young ones. In the spring, summer, and fall, make sure to finish off the visit with a ride on the vintage carousel. Once a month, Ella’s also hosts a Kid’s Fun Night with all sorts of activities. For more information about Ella’s Deli, visit www.ellasdeli.com.
Heading back down to Texas, we find Clay’s Restaurant in Houston. Featuring pony rides on the weekends and some free roaming animals, Clay’s is sure to put a smile on your children’s faces. Not only that, but they serve up some amazing food! Kids will love the down-home style of the children’s menu – and parents will love its $6.99 price tag! Clay’s is a favorite among Houston residents who enjoy the award-winning burgers, and it’s also a fantastic place to host a birthday party. More information on Clay’s can be found at www.claysrestaurant.com.
Ah, high tea. Is there anything more elegant? We’re closing with a much less raucous and much more refined kids’ location, because sometimes kids like to get dressed up too! San Francisco, California, is home to this tea room, where kids and adults can enjoy tea, sandwiches, and pastries in perfect English style. The owners of this shop met in London and brought their love of high tea to northern California. Find out more about the Crown & Crumpet at www.crownandcrumpet.com.
This midtown diner with a nostalgic aura can make the tiny ones enjoy their meals with many tunes humming around.
Most of the waitstaff sings - past and present Broadway bound singers that will sure not disappoint you and also keep you entertained so much that you might just forget about everything else.
The most difficult bit when it comes to dining out with kids is once the order is done and they need to wait for their food to arrive. This restaurant is sure to keep all that in check!