Vacation Like a Super Hero – AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON World Tour

This summer, the armor clad, caped crusading, super hero dream team known as Marvel’s AVENGERS come together to save the world from its latest threat.  To do so they embark on a globe-trotting adventure to all parts of the planet.  President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige says, “we’ve always considered The Avengers to be sort of the world’s heroes,” and Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON expands their reach from the United States to South Africa, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.  If you have a little super hero wanderlust in your blood, watch how the cast and crew embarked on the Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON World Tour, and consider any one of these spots for an unprecedented family adventure.

United States – New York City

The most accessible Avengers locale for those in the U.S. is New York City, home of Stark Tower where much of the action took place in the climatic final scene of Marvel’s The Avengers.  In AGE OF ULTRON, Tony Stark has rebuilt Stark Tower into the Avengers Tower, and the massive mansion is equipped with military hangars to go along with the multi-million dollar views of New York City.  Avengers Tower may be fictitious, but New York City’s ultra-modern One World Observatory opens at One World Trade Center for this first time this spring.

One World Observatory, New York City

One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, New York City, image courtesy of One World Observatory © 2015


The One World Trade tower observatory debuts to the public on May 29, 2015, and is a three-level observation deck atop the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.  The new observatory occupies floors 100 to 102 of the recently opened One World Trade Center.  After ascending to the top of the tower in futuristic Sky-Pod Elevators in less than 60 seconds, experience a movie celebrating New York City in the See Forever Theater before heading to the Observatory.  In addition to 360 degree views of the city below, the Observatory is filled with interactive exhibits and tour guides who can interpret and point out the sites before your eyes.  Look to the horizon to see if you can find the Avengers Quinjet.

South Africa – Johannesburg

The cityscape and surrounding area of Johannesburg, South Africa provides the backdrop for one of the biggest action sequences in AGE OF ULTRON involving Iron Man and The Hulk. “The Hulkbuster fight is one of the big action sequences in the film and is really an awesome spectacle,” says Kevin Feige.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron

L to R: Iron Man’s Hulkbuster suit (Robert Downey Jr.) vs. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) ©Marvel 2015


After you cool down from a long day of battling in Johannesburg, it’s only natural to want to get out of the city to see some of the sites of South Africa.  Just outside of Johannesburg is Pilanesberg National Park situated between the Kalahari and Lowveld with an abundance of game species including the “Big 5” African elephant, African leopard, African lion, Cape buffalo and White/Black rhinoceros as well as wild dog, Roan, Tsessebe, Sable antelope and birds.

Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Male lion and lioness in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa, photo by Graeme Shannon, Wikimedia, creative common license

Italy – Val d’Aosta

Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens in the mysterious (yet pretend) country of Sokovia with a raid on the stronghold of Baron von Strucker.  The castle depicted in the film dates back to the year 1000, and sits in the Aosta Valley (Val d’Aosta) of northwestern Italy.  This mountainous region of the Italian Alps boasts over 100 medieval castles and fortresses including Forte di Bard which was in use as a military installation until the mid 1800’s and then as a prison and weapons storage until 1975.  Today, when not being raided by the Avengers, Forte di Bard serves as the cultural center for the western Alps, and hosts the Museum of the Alps, the Children’s Alps, and other exhibitions.  In addition to the historical and cultural sites of the region, the Aosta Valley has numerous sporting opportunities, particularly mountaineering, and sits in between the Winter Olympic sites of Turin, Italy (Torino 2006) and Albertville, France (Albertville 1992).

Forte di Bard

Forte di Bard, photo by Francofranco56 Wikimedia, creative common license

South Korea – Seoul

“Seoul is a very cutting edge city in real life and is a technologically driven society,” says Kevin Feige.  Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON shot in many locations around Seoul, South Korea, and also introduces Korean actress Claudia Kim (who grew up in Seoul) as Dr. Helen Cho in the film.  “I remember telling (director) Joss Whedon that whether or not I get the role, I’m so excited and so proud as a Korean that you’re shooting in the country,” says Kim.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim), photo by Jay Maidment ©Marvel 2015


To get an overview of Seoul, head to the heights of the N Seoul Tower, and take in the panoramic views of the sprawling metropolis below you.  The Gangnam district, of the infamous hit song/viral video Gangnam Style by Psy, lies south of the Han River (whose Mapo Bridge features prominently in the AVENGERS film) and is home to high end shopping, restaurants and clubs.  For a sense of Seoul’s history, visit Changdeokgung Palace – a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 1400’s.  Changdeokgung served as home to the kings of the Joseon Dynasty.

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea, photo by sellyourseoul, Wikimedia, creative common license

United Kingdom – London

Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON wrapped up its world tour filming in the United Kingdom around and outside of London.  The iconic Avengers Tower was actually a massive set built on a London soundstage, and the climactic final battle of the film was an outdoor space on location outside of the city.

Dover Castle, United Kingdom

Dover Castle, Kent, England, courtesy Visit Britain


London offers a number of family friendly sites perfect for a vacation such as museums, the London Eye observation wheel, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, and the Tower Bridge.  Teens and tweens will be particularly interested in Harry Potter’s London including Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, the Reptile House at the London Zoo, or the Warner Bros. Studio Tour to see the sets from the film.  Dover Castle is the largest castle in England, dates back to the 12th century, and a day trip from London.  Underneath Dover Castle are secret wartime tunnels that burrow deep into the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron

L to R: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) ©Marvel 2015


On May 1st Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens in theaters, and with the world order hanging in the balance, the Avengers must stop Ultron from enacting his terrible plans in an action-adventure that unfolds on a global scale.  The scenes and stories in the new film are grounded in real places that could make for an epic super hero fueled family adventure.  For more family travel and entertainment news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.