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Geek Vacation Destinations 2012

Perhaps you will have a chance to get out of the lab this summer and enjoy a little rest and relaxation. Some of the best discoveries have been made while visiting foreign islands or staring into the night sky. Below are some suggestions we think will appeal to our science-minded community.

Life Science Destinations

  • Pay homage to the father of genetics and visit lovely Austria at the same time. Make a visit to the Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas, Brno which hosts the Mendel Museum of Genetics. Visits to the Museum include a walk in the garden in which Gregor Mendel carried out his famous experiments with produce.

  • On the exotic side think about a trip to Parque Cretacico - Dinosaur Park in Sucre, Boliva.

    “At the site of Sucre's Fancesa cement quarry, there is a vertical mudstone face with over 6000 dinosaur tracks. The tracks were laid by over 150 different species of dinosaur and measure up to 80cm in diameter.”

  • If you like dinosaurs, you could also visit Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado/Utah in the US. Your kids will talk about it for years!

  • For even more fossil fun, check out the La Brea Tar Pits in California. See science in action at an active dig site.

  • Mix relaxation with scientific history by visiting the Galapagos Islands, which laid the foundation for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Retrace Darwin's steps and explore the diversity of species firsthand.

Other Scientific Destinations

  • If in England, it's worth a visit to the Royal Observatory Greenwich. This is a pleasant boat ride on the Thames from London. It takes almost a whole day if you want to see all the highlights: The Greenwich Meridian Line Longitude 0° (take your picture on both sides like everyone else — it seems like this place brings out the inner geek in everyone), 17th century rooms occupied by the first Astronomer Royal, a giant 28” refracting telescope, PLUS a planetarium where you can touch a 4.5 billion year old meteorite.

  • If you want to brush up on your particle physics, you should also plan a visit to CERN in Switzerland. In addition to providing the particle accelerators for research, it is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. CERN welcomes visitors to tour its exhibitions and experimental areas, and admission is free.

  • For the truly adventurous (and wealthy), nothing can beat a trip to outer space. Reserve your seat now on a future Virgin Galactic flight.

  • Last, but not least, a place dear to our hearts — the MIT Museum. Just blocks from Addgene, this uniquely fun museum boasts interactive exhibitions, public programs, experimental projects and a renowned collection of historical science and tech artifacts. Also, this may be the only gift shop in the world where you can get a "My Mom's a Geek" T-shirt. Plan a trip and then stop off and visit us at Addgene!

TV and Movie Destinations

  • Whether you are a hardcore fan or just privately amused, Scientists have a special place in their hearts for Star Wars. Consider an exotic vacation to Matmâta, Tunisia better known as Tatooine, the home of Luke Skywalker. Here is a picture of Hotel Sidi Driss where you can stay. It was, of course, the home of Skywalker, his Aunt Beru and his Uncle Owen until that fateful day…

  • You might also want to consider a visit to New Zealand for a Lord of the Rings tour, including Matamata the home of Hobbiton (the name of which strangely resembles the location above — coincidence? We think not).

  • You could also use The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations to find places where your favorite movie scenes were filmed and plan a trip around those pilgrimages. Done properly you could be city, state or country hopping in no time.

General Science Geek Vacation Resources

  • Check out The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science and Technology Come Alive. From Amazon:

    “You won't find tedious, third-rate museums, or a tacky plaque stuck to a wall stating that 'Professor X slept here.' Every place he recommends is meant to have real scientific, mathematical, or technological interest."

    — places guaranteed to make every geek's heart pound a little faster.

  • Not much time to get away on a long trip? Check out the entertaining, international website Nerdy Day Trips (the website is no longer available). While we don’t always embrace the moniker of “nerd” we think you will still like moving around this world map and clicking on day trips near your place of research. Add your own suggestions or just browse a world of possibilities, literally.

**We realize that this list is far from complete, and if we didn't mention your favorite science destination, feel free to email your suggestion to [email protected] and we may feature it in a future article. Happy travels!**