egypt
Luxor
Karnak Temple - This huge sprawling complex has lots of courtyards with columns for kids to run around. You do need to run quietly (shouting is frowned on) and try not to bump into any tour groups. To get to the temple, take a horse carriage (caleche) from the center of Luxor. Or boat down the Nile from Luxor, so your kids can arrive the way the pharaoh used to.
Luxor Temple - This temple is a gem and on a smaller scale. Visit it more than once, it grows on you. Also, be sure to go back at night. It is beautifully lit up and even more striking in the darkness.
Valley of Kings and Queens - The whole area is chock full of tombs. Our favorites were Thutmosis III, really impressive because you climb up a ladder for 30 meters to reach the tomb and the tombs of Ramses III's sons. In the tomb of Khaemsawet, there is a wonderful scene of Ramses introducing his son to the Anubis and other gods of the Afterlife. The painted relief shows the prince in typical clothes and hairstyle for a boy.
Deir el-Bahri – Visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut (Djeser-Djeseru)at Deir el-Bahri is an extraordinary experience. The monumental temple was cut out of the rock in three levels, ramps leading up to courtyards, decorated with reliefs of important events in the reign of Hatshepsut as pharaoh. Don't miss the chapel of Hathor (goddess decorating the pillars has lovely cow ears), and chapel of Anubis, with golden stars and shimmering blue ceiling, perky cobras along the top of wall.
More about Deir el-Bahri and Hatshepsut, read our blog post "Hatshepsut at The Met."
Deir el Medina - It's well worth a trip to Deir el Medina, ruins of the village that housed the craftsmen who built the royal tombs, the stonecutters, masons, painters. For 300 years, in the New Kingdom, this was a thriving town where the workers lived with their families. And the craftsmen who lived here decorated their own tombs (visit the Tombs of Peshedu, Sennedjem and Ankherha), and they're beautifully painted with scenes of farming, making offerings, daily life in ancient Egypt, so much freer than the formal ceremonial paintings of the royal tombs.
Editor's note - Egyptian tomb and temple imagery is complicated yet the kids always found things that they intrinsically liked, such as cobras, scarabs, or "Dr. Anubis."  Then they'd look for these elements in different tombs or temples that we visited.
Ride boats on the Nile - You can rent motor launches or feluccas (sailing boats) by the hour and go for a cruise on the Nile. The felucca is extremely atmospheric, but with the motor launch you can go where you please.
A motor launch looks like the "African Queen" and is quite comfortable, with cushions and small tables. If you're lucky, the kids will be allowed to pilot the boat (in the area around Luxor, the Nile is sandy bottomed). Tea is always brewed and served but you can also arrange to have lunch on board.
A popular ride is to take a felucca to Banana Island near sunset. Banana Island has, you guessed it, banana palms, but not much else. The small "finger" bananas are quite delicious - the kids gobbled up quite a handful. The wind-blown felucca is quite a way to travel on the Nile, but can be slow, depending on how much wind there is.
Donkey rides - For a breathtaking experience, take a donkey ride above Valley of the Kings. The trail is precipitous, so, if you have vertigo (as I do), hold on, but it is well worth it. We started in Gerizra village on the West Bank, rode through the sugar cane fields, on up along the crest of the ridge above Deir El Bahri, peeked over into the Valley of the Kings, and descended on the trail down by the temple of "Hot Chicken Soup" (Hatshepsut).
These donkeys were a big hit with our kids. The donkeys are kid-sized and with cushioned saddles, are comfortable to ride. A caveat - as our guide said, you can either kiss or kick your donkey. We had excellent donkeys that were very sure footed and knew the way. Tell your guide that you want "smart donkeys." While you get off to admire the view, you wouldn't want your donkey to wander off, leaving you stranded - it would be a long walk back.
Ride in horse drawn carriages - The horse-drawn carriages, caleches, have creaky leather and lots of gilt fringes. They are spacious, don't require seat belts and make a nice "clip-clop" sound as you ride about the town.
Relax in the cafes - Day or night, the cafes are a great respite from the tourist trade scene in Luxor (aka the spice sellers, the felluca captains, the guides, the caleche drivers, the taxi drivers, the souvenir sellers). Traditionally cafes are frequented by men only, but foreign women are okay in the back-alley cafes we visited in Luxor. Tables are small so the kids can have their own, and soft drinks in the cafes are safe to drink.
Mummification Museum - On the Corniche, the Mummification Museum has great examples of mummified animals, including a crocodile.
Watch local soccer games - When your kids have had it with antiquities, there's a soccer field on the West Bank, across from Luxor, near the main road that goes from the motor launch landing. Late in the afternoon, there's always a local soccer game or practice to watch.

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