I know, I know. Funnest isn’t a real word. But I needed something extra imaginative to describe these super fun restaurants. Watch your meal arrive to your table delivered by a model train. Munch your fries as you stare down a dinosaur. Eat, drink, and be merry as you laugh at the antics of a cowboy riding an ostrich. Put down your sandwich in order to gaze up, up, up at the balloon-animal wielding man on stilts as he stops by your table. Super fun, right? Now you see why I had to make up a word to better describe these unique restaurants.
So without further ado, here are the funnest restaurants in America (or at least, the funnest ones that we have had the pleasure to enjoy with our children):
Chugga, chugga, choo-choo! Or, should I say “chew-chew”? At Fritz Railroad Restaurant in Kansas City, you can say/do both. Admire the model trains throughout the restaurant while you await the arrival of your meal… which will be delivered to you by a model train. That’s right! Your meals arrive via model train at this restaurant. How fun is that?!? Plus, you get paper conductor hats (provided by the wait staff), and there is a cute train photo opportunity area. Eating at Fritz RR Restaurant is a fun and memorable dining experience. As an added bonus, the food is reasonably priced and very kid-friendly.
My little girl LOVES dinosaurs! So when I saw that there was a T-Rex Café in Kansas City, I knew that we had to eat there while passing through that area. Being only 3 years old at the time, my daughter was a little frightened of the giant animatronic T-Rex over the entrance. But she quickly got over that and was soon begging to wander the restaurant in search of a triceratops (her favorite dinosaur). The T-Rex Café features animatronic dinosaurs in each dining area. Every 30 minutes or so, there is a “meteor shower” with flashing lights and sound effects. Additionally, there is a dino mascot that will pose for photos with your children. Parents beware! Your children WILL want to buy stuff at the gift shop which is filled with all sorts of neat “prehistoric” merchandise from knickknacks and toys to science kits and t-shirts. The T-Rex Café also has a location in Orlando.
Welcome to the rodeo! Eat, drink, and cheer for your side at The Dixie Stampede as horsemen compete and perform stunts for you. We thoroughly enjoyed watching their always amazing and sometimes funny feats, and the children enjoyed meeting the horses outside before the show. One of our favorite moments involved a cowboy riding an ostrich. We saw this show several years ago in Myrtle Beach, and that location has since changed from an equestrian show to a pirate show. (The new Pirates Voyage show features full-size pirate ships battling in an indoor lagoon! How exciting!) However, Dixie Stampede has other locations in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where you can still see this amazing show.
Be prepared to get a little messy. True to the actual medieval era, there is no silverware at Medieval Times. That’s okay because the food is finger-licking good (and no worries, napkins and wet naps are readily made available as needed). Plus, you will be too busy watching the exciting dueling knights compete to worry too much about messy hands. Sword fights, jousting, fine horsemanship, and various shows of royalty – your children are certain to be entertained. Medieval Times offers several locations including Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Toronto, Atlanta, Lyndhurst, and Baltimore.
It’s always five o’clock at Margaritaville in Myrtle Beach! This is probably our favorite vacation restaurant because it is SO MUCH FUN. There is so much to see (and sing) there. Jimmy Buffet tunes play practically non-stop with accompanying video projected on a sail mast screen overhead. As you may expect, everyone stops what they are doing to sing along to the famous catchy tunes throughout your meal. Salt, salt, salt! Every 30 minutes or so, a confetti-wielding hurricane occurs when sirens blast and lights flash as a giant tequila bottle magically appears from the ceiling to empty its contents into a huge blender. Additionally, there is staff walking around on stilts during the dinner hours, and they make balloon animals/swords/hats for patrons. The atmosphere is fun for all ages. Besides Myrtle Beach, Margaritaville has many other locations.
Ahoy! The Pirates House in Savannah is fun for everyone – pirate-lovers, history buffs, ghost hunters, bibliophiles, foodies, and everyone in between. The building is over 250 years old. Said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah, it has significant historical ties to real pirates and is rumored to be the inspiration behind the famous Treasure Island book. While this is a historically interesting place to eat, it is also a ton of fun. The children’s menus transform into pirate hats and other accessories (earrings, eye patches, mustaches and more). There are actors dressed as pirates who will gladly tell you about the building’s history, pose for pictures, and engage in rowdy pirate-like banter. Plus, the food is wonderful! Be sure to ask for a tour of the building while you are there so that you can take a peek at the secret tunnels under the building (which were used to shanghai unsuspecting sailors many years ago).
When in Chicago with children, we almost always eat at the Rainforest Café. It has animatronic animals that move and make noise in a jungle-like atmosphere. Every 30 minutes or so, there is a “thunderstorm” in the restaurant with flashing lights and sound effects. It is very entertaining for children and adults. Besides Chicago, the famed Rainforest Café has many other locations throughout the United States.
I have not yet had the pleasure of eating there, but I have heard of a neat restaurant in Milwaukee called The Safe House. I think my spy-obsessed children would LOVE this place. (Seriously, my kids are obsessed with spy stuff – spy toys, spy games, spy kid movies. We even held a “Spy Kid Bootcamp” birthday party for my boys once.) The restaurant advertises itself to be “spy-tacular family fun” and encourages children to explore the premises on a secret covert mission while awaiting their meal orders. Have you heard of this place? Have you been there? Is it as fun as it sounds???? I need to know!