Boost your family’s intellectual capacities by visiting these dynamic destinations. Here are five must-see places to consider.
US Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala ..
Do you have what it takes to be a space explorer? Visit this otherworldly tech hub to experience the Space Shuttle Simulator, feel three times the force of gravity in the G-Force accelerator, and browse one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia on display anywhere in the world.
You can also find out what it takes to be among the world’s greatest record holders. Check out the centre’s latest traveling exhibit, The Science of Guinness World Records, to uncover the stories of those whose talent and tenacity have enabled them to break the longest, most distant, deepest and highest records in the planet.
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Encouraging curiosity and celebrating questions, this is the perfect place to see a German submarine, understand how tornadoes and avalanches occur, and explore the structure of the eye in a hands-on lab environment.
Discover the mathematical patterns that surround us every day in the natural world – from the delicate, interlocking spirals of a sunflower seed to the ridges of a majestic mountain range, in a fascinating exhibit titled Numbers in Nature. Then head to the Whispering Gallery to understand how sound moves in different environments. A theater and interactive exhibits further enhance the experience.
Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey, California
Founded in 1984, this world-renowned organization’s mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s oceans. Through a variety of interactive activities and exhibits designed for young children and families, your crew will experience the delicate balance that exists in our seas today.
Younger visitors will be drawn to the 40-foot-long tactile pool to see curious creatures like starfish, sea urchins, kelp crabs and abalone up close. You’ll enjoy all the playful antics of southern sea otters, learn about the world of mudflats and swamps, and observe a master of disguise, the giant Pacific octopus.
Indianapolis Children’s Museum, Indianapolis
Spanning 29 acres with over 472,900 feet of exhibition space over five floors, this extraordinary non-profit institution has entertained and educated families since 1925. Regarded as the world’s largest children’s museum, children can learn about the daily tasks of astronauts and be inspired by the powerful stories of other children, including Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, Ryan White and Malala Yousafzai.
Families are charmed by a historic carousel and inspired by exhibits that show how plant science can help the world by cleaning up oil spills and growing healthy food.
Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix
This unique museum allows families to see and experience more than 3,000 instruments and artefacts from around the world. Live performances, family festivals, and a wide range of lectures and classes are available.
Discover the Steinway piano on which John Lennon composed “Imagine” as well as the instruments of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and George Benson. Wireless headsets allow visitors to see and hear exhibits throughout the museum. Children will enjoy the Experience Gallery, where they can touch, play and hear instruments from distant cultures. Discover their vast and diverse concert program.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel information on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook or through FamilyTravel.com.