Let’s face it: sometimes camping in the woods or hitting the beach just isn’t your thing. Most of us got into the technology business because we love doing geeky things. And when it comes time for a vacation, sometimes we want to continue our love affair with either science, technology or other fun stuff.
Have no fear, we’re here with five great ideas on places you can go this summer to satisfy the inner (or outer) geek that resides within us all.
5. Boston Museum of Science (Boston, Mass.)
One of the earliest museums that let you go around touching different things, this is a great stop on any trip to Boston, especially if you or your kids are into science. You can spend half a day in the mathematics section alone, so be sure to pace yourself when visiting. Must-see: The lightning show and at least one movie at the museum’s IMAX theatre (or go to a Planetarium laser show at night).
4. Computer History Museum (Mountain View, Calif.)
No trip to Silicon Valley is complete without hitting the Computer History Museum, which aims to “preserve and present for posterity the artefacts and stories of the information age.” The museum, established in 1996, is home to more than 13,000 objects, 20,000 images, 5,000 moving images, 4,000 linear feet of catalogued documentation, and 5,000 titles (or several hundred gigabytes of software). Maybe they have that old Zork II game I’ve been wanting to re-play. Rumour has it that the museum now has wireless Internet access, so you can stay connected while you peruse the exhibits (although you’ll probably be too fascinated to want to be networked anyway).
3. Star Trek Experience (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Techies mostly hit Vegas during a trade show (CES, CTIA sometimes, Interop, etc.), but they’re usually too busy doing business or going out to dinner that they may forget to check out this attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton. If you’re a Trekkie (or Trekker), you need to make a pilgrimage to this “all things Star Trek” locale. The attraction includes two rides: the Klingon Encounter is a motion-based simulator, but you also ‘beam onto’ the bridge of the Enterprise from the Next-Generation show; and the Borg Invasion 4D ‘ride’ involves being chased by the Borg through the halls of a space station (along with an interactive movie). If you don’t want to go on the ride, check out Quark’s restaurant (and bar), as well as many different stores with Star Trek merchandise. It’s the perfect place to get that “Future Starfleet Officer” T-shirt for your kid.
2. Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center (Orsino, Fla.)
You can have your Disney World or Universal Studios theme park if you’re heading to Orlando, but true technology fans will want to jump on the Beeline Expressway (now known as the Beachway Expressway) and head west to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The newest interactive attraction is called the Shuttle Launch Experience, which sends visitors through the sensations of launching into Earth’s orbit. NASA astronauts, expert designers and attraction experts helped create an authentic experience using the latest motion technology, special effects seats and high-fidelity audio and visual presentations. The attraction includes a realistic simulation of an 8.5-minute ascent into orbit, custom-designed crew cabins and an advance seating to maximize the sense of realism, Kennedy Space Center officials say. Other attractions at the visitor complex include tours of the NASA spaceport, Astronaut Encounters, an IMAX theatre and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
1. The Pinball Hall of Fame (Las Vegas, Nev.)
If you happen to be in Las Vegas for either a technology trade show or you’re going to the Star Trek Experience, rent a car and head to the Pinball Hall of Fame. Located about three miles from The Strip (3330 E. Tropicana), entrance is free and most (if not all) of the games are playable for either 25 cents or 50 cents (newer games cost more). Lots of classics from the ’50s all the way through to modern games. There’s a few classic video games (Space Invaders, Frogger, etc.), but the real appeal is the pinball.
Relive your youth when you would spend all Saturday at the local arcade. You may have to schedule an extra day of the trip just to get through all of these games.
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