Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Apple Store Field Trip

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Image: Beards fotos via Flickr
Image: Beards fotos via Flickr

Welcome back 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.

Some camps take field trips to amusement parks or museums. This family takes field trips to the Apple store.

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.

When I mentioned the idea of using the Apple store as a free field trip to friends, they stared at me in confusion. “You go even when you’re not buying anything?” Yes, even on the days when we weren’t buying anything. The staff was always happy to create a new Apple fan by engaging the kids in discussion on the latest iOS or apps. Did they cultivate a new customer? Of course. We are now the owners of many Apple products based on our positive experience with the store.

But those field trips also cultivated a new generation of geeks, who felt empowered by the products themselves and their interaction with the screen. Steve Jobs understood how powerful it can be to pick up something new and figure it out yourself. And that’s why we specifically chose trips to the Apple store as our field trip destination of choice. My twins love encountering something they’ve never seen before, whether it’s an iPad or a new app, and figuring out how it works. Every time they do, that love of all things geeky grows stronger.

This week also kicks off Apple Camp, the store’s yearly tradition of holding free two-day camps for kids eight to twelve years old. This year’s theme is Make Movie Magic. I got to witness that movie magic this week; around 10 kids excitedly composing (headache-inducing) music and plotting out original films featuring their toys or pets at home. Everyone left with a finished product, something entirely their own creation, with a huge smile plastered across their face.

I’m usually not a fan of hanging out in retail spaces, and I normally like to avoid the malls. But the Apple store has always been a welcoming space for kids; where the employees don’t gasp or hover when kids pick up a computer, and they’re always happy to squat down to a kid’s level and ask them if they have any questions. Yes, that’s how you build future customers, but it’s also how you build future geeks.

Don’t live near an Apple store? It’s worth building in a visit when you travel to a city that has one.

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