Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Intel Museum

Image: Naotakem via Flickr

…I mean, sure, we’d swing by the Company Store at Apple Headquarters and stock up on t-shirts. Even if we couldn’t get into the actual office space, I’m fairly certain that it would blow my son’s mind just to stand on the campus. And we’d go to the HP garage just to see the outside. In other words, we’d swing by all the landmarks that make up Silicon Valley. But the Intel Museum in Santa Clara sounds like the perfect factory tour. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

Wallops Island by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr

For 12 years, we’ve been holding Wallops Island as our rainy day activity. After year after year of cloudless sky, we wondered if we’d ever get to the NASA visitor’s center. But our last trip to Chincoteague, Virginia found us driving over the causeway with the window wipers going full blast as we finally cashed in to see what happens just a few miles from our favorite vacation spot. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: The Science of Baseball

Image: theseanster93 via Flickr

Can sports be… geeky? Baseball can when you look at it through a geek lens, exploring the science of baseball, observing the construction of baseball equipment, and — of course — Billy Beane-ing the game with a little sabermetrics. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Museum of Mathematics

Image: justgrimes via Flickr

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York, you can visit the museum itself and play with numbers. Hands-on exhibits teach concepts such as fractions, dimensionality, and geometry, making math interesting for everyone from kindergarteners to adults alike. If you don’t live in New York, you still have a chance to try out many of the math games as they crisscross the country in a traveling exhibit called Math Midway. We were fortunate that it came to our local science center prior to the opening of the museum, and the kids loved walking the maze (never making a left turn!), playing with the harmonograph, and trying to figure out the organ function grinder. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Martin Guitars Factory

Image: Melissa Ford

The Martin Guitars factory is like paradise for musical geeks. Our family took a tour of the 180-year-old guitar business, seeing the process of how their guitars start as blocks of wood and turn into instruments played by the likes of Eric Clapton. There are 300 steps, some completed by people and others completed by robots, that go into making a guitar, and you’ll marvel just as much at the skilled labor as you will at the numerous machines that dot the tour path. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Apple Store Field Trip

Image: Beards fotos via Flickr

Ever since my twins were two years old, they have loved to visit the Apple store and touch all the equipment. There is little possible damage a child can do considering the machines are programmed to reset and erase any changes at the end of the day. The more fragile iPods and iPads are tethered so there is no possibility of dropping them on the floor. There are even children’s computers loaded with their favorite games on low tables at the back of the store. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Science Centers

sciencecenter

Last week, we renewed our science center membership. It’s one of our favorite day trips: to conduct experiments in Newton’s Alley and watch a planetarium show or two (our current favorite is We Are Aliens) and dig for dinosaur bones. It’s one of those day trips that has an element of familiarity built into it: we know our way around the museum and have scouted out good restaurants in the area. But it’s also a day trip that changes every single visit. This last time, the curators were running an Egg-bot. The time before that, we got to examine a turtle. The traveling exhibits change, special events dot the calendar, and we sometimes bring friends along to boot. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Storybook Vacations

Image: Chrisbulle via Flickr

Actively going to where a story is set opens a fantastic starting point for discussing a book: Why here? Location can become an integral part of a story, as important as the characters themselves. Harry Potter simply wouldn’t be Harry Potter without Hogwarts. (And yes, you can go to Scotland and ride the Hogwarts Express right now!) Eloise couldn’t be Eloise anywhere other than New York. And yes, you can even sort of visit Middle Earth if your goal is to get inside Tolkien’s head and see how environment can influence the plot line (even if… uh… Mr. Tolkien wrote those books in Oxford, England and not New Zealand). Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Geocaching

Geocache by vastateparksstaff via Flickr

Okay, so maybe treasure is too strong a word since the buried items range from a guest book with a pencil stub to plastic toys courtesy of McDonald’s. The thrill isn’t in the collecting but in the find. We were late joiners to the geocaching craze, but in case you haven’t started yet or haven’t gone out searching in a while, it’s a great idea to use in order to build day trips into your summer plans. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Virtual Road Trips

Johanl via Flickr

On rainy, dreary days like today, we do a lot of armchair traveling rather than taking day trips. This entails grabbing the iPad, sitting down on the sofa together, and opening Google Maps for a little virtual trip. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Exploring Conventions

Image: Jason Persse via Flickr by creative commons

There are gatherings for every imaginable fandom — from Minecraft to anime to Doctor Who. You can hit a comic convention and see a plethora of characters, or zero in on a particular television show, such as Star Trek. We’ve rounded up a few that will take place in various parts of the US this summer, but start Googling to find out if people are gathering to discuss and celebrate your favorite things. Or better yet, throw together your own informal convention at home by trying to get a critical mass together to discuss a particular show, movie, superhero, or video game. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Snacking Factory Tours

Image: TheDeliciousLife via Flickr by creative commons

Welcome to Have Geeklets, Will Travel, a summer travel series that will help you think up cool travel plans that will appeal to both kids and adults. From geocaching expeditions in your backyard to factory tours in far-flung states, we’ll be providing ideas all summer long to get you out of your house and on the road for great adventures. Continue reading