VOCABULARY 180Summer is a time for fun, sun, and vacations. What about science and learning? Take the opportunity to include a little educational fun in your summer. Especially when you are vacationing, look for museums or outdoor spots that can help you educate your kids about nature and science in a way that is much more fun. Having a great time and making it interesting promotes learning and retention.

Top Science Museums

Chances are anywhere you are vacationing in the United States will have a science museum of some kind nearby. If you search for museums in your area ahead of time, you will be able to make your plans. Here is a great list of the top Science Centers in the World and jus in the U.S. for 2012 from MuseumPlanner.org:

Top 10 Science Centers – Worldwide 

  1. Citi des Sciences et de l’Industrie 
  2. Science Museum, London
  3. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
  4. National Science and Technology Museum, Taiwan
  5. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
  6. Pacific Science Center, Seattle
  7. Museum of Science, Boston
  8. Science City, Kolkata
  9. Ontario Science Center  
  10. Deutsches Museum, Munich
  11. California Science Center Los Angeles, California


Top 10 Science Centers – USA

  1. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
  2. Pacific Science Center, Seattle
  3. Museum of Science, Boston
  4. California Science Center Los Angeles, California
  5. St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri
  6. Franklin Institute 
  7. Liberty Science Center, Jersey City
  8. Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta
  9. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco,California
  10. Exploratorium 


Remember that different types of museums can have educational aspects, even if they aren’t “science museums”, and you can find scientific learning at places like aquariums where you can learn about marine animals, zoos where you can learn about all kinds of animals, and even nurseries where you can learn about growing plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

Tips for making museum visits even more educational:

Leverage tour guide information at venues you can visit. Ask for guided tours or just their information so that you can take educational pointers from that. Places like Wonderworks offer guided tours for groups, and educational programs  where you can learn extra information. There are many other activity centers and museums that are happy to help educate our youth, so you will get some extra assistance just by asking. Doing some research before your visit can also help you find print outs and background information to share with your children during your museum tour. Knowing all about the museum ahead of time can also ensure that you will know which exhibits to see during your time at the museum.

Best Science Cities:

If you do not have plans of where you are already going, you can actually plan your trip around places that are very rich in science center locations, or places to visit that have interesting things to learn.

  1. Washington, D.C. is one of the cities with the most museums per capita and in addition to famous science learning centers like The Smithsonian and The National Aquarium, there are many gardens to visit as well. Then there are all of the historic sites that make Washington D.C. a great tourist destination. What’s even better is that most of the places to visit in our nation’s capital are free. Here is a list of 55 places to visit in Washington D.C.
  2. The Florida Everglades may not be the first vacation destination you think of when you hear Florida, but in addition to visiting the theme parks and beaches, the Everglades are a nature lover’s paradise, with all of the wet lands and animals that inhabit the swamp, it is one of the most unique landscapes in the world. There is also, of course, the Kennedy Space Center which is the premier location for space fanatics.
  3. Yosemite National Park in California is one of the greatest vacation destinations in the United States because there is a great deal of fun to be had while also witnessing many different landscapes and scenery that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. The park is a vast 1,200 square miles with deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, and a very large wilderness area. Children can learn so much about science and nature in one trip.
  4. A trip to the American Southwest to see the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead in Nevada and drive through the Painted Desert to get to the Grand Canyon in Arizona can turn anyone into a lover of geology and engineering. The Hoover Dam is an engineering feat in itself and then to see the way that the Colorado River has carved its way into Lake Mead is an excellent lesson in the beauty of nature. Many tours are offered that are interesting and educational and will keep the kids’ attention, they won’t even know that it is a science lesson. Tours through the beautifully colored Painted Desert to the Grand Canyon can help your children learn first-hand about geology and nature. They will also learn that seeing one of the 8 Wonders of the World in person is much better than reading about it in a book.

If you are still stumped about where to visit for a science learning experience, here are the top 10 science road trip destinations  in the US.


Getting back to nature through camping and spending time in the great outdoors and sleeping under the stars is an excellent way to learn about science. Nature can help you learn about animals, plants, rock formations, and many things that most of today’s youth has lost touch with. The great thing about camping is you do not really have to travel far and wide. A science learning adventure waits in your own back yard.


Best Summer Vacation Spots that Enhance Science LearningJen Thames is the Brand Manager for RHL.org the best source for dorm essentials and twinXL bedding on the web.



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