Planning a vacation but more interested in science, technology and generally geeky subjects than in picnics and beaches? Fortunately, the U.S. offers plenty of geeky travel destinations. Whether you’re a single geek or a member of a geek family, there’s something for everyone.
10. International UFO Museum and Research Center
You don’t have to be a fan of “The X Files” to want to visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. Nor do you need to be a “ufologist,” someone who specializes in knowledge and research relating to UFOs. Nor do you need to be an astrophysicist, or a rocket scientist. Guaranteed, however, this museum will appeal to all those groups and more. Founded in the same city where one of the most famous American UFO sightings (and alleged cover-ups) took place, the museum contains a collection of artifacts and information relating to aliens, space ships and strange sightings in the nighttime sky. It even contains a research library, in case you’d like to work on your own contributions to the scholarship relating to “little green men.”
9. The Tech Museum of Innovation
Where can you try out the latest technological innovations and find out what the process is like to create them? Why, The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, of course! While science museums abound from coast to coast, this one actually allows you to be part of the development process: trying out emerging technologies and providing valuable feedback. From infrared cameras to “gestural interface technology,” if you’re a tech head, you’ll be in heaven.
8. Kitt Peak National Observatory
Located 6,875 feet above sea level, the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, boasts the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes as well as two radio telescopes, which together represent eight astronomical research institutions. Open to the public daily except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the observatory offers guided tours three times daily, as well as nightly observing programs. Among the telescopes is even a solar telescope that lets you gaze at the sun!
7. Museum of Science + Industry
One of the top-rated science museums in the country is the Museum of Science + Industry in Chicago. Boasting interactive exhibits, it delves into everything from transportation to biology, meteorology, and more. Among the museum’s treasures are unique items like a miniature fairy castle created by silent film star Colleen Moore; the Silver Streak, America’s first diesel-electric streamlined passenger train; and an up-close “real-time” view of planet Earth. The museum also offers live science experiences for schoolchildren, where they can do such things as diagnose a Human Patient Simulator and try their hand at manufacturing design.
6. National Museum of Play
For those who love collectibles and games, The National Museum of Play at the Strong in Rochester, New York, will be a little slice of heaven. Not only does the museum house an astounding number of games, including the Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame, but it also offers activities such as the American Comic Book Heroes world, featuring a Super Powers School where everyone can be a hero. Gaming geeks will be delighted to learn that The Strong also provides research fellowships for advanced graduate students who are working in the field of play scholarship.