From learning about jet propulsion to salmon spawning, science experiences are some of the most enriching for travelers of all ages. Here are TripSavvy's favorite science museums and attractions for 2018.
Science Museums & Attractions
California Academy of Sciences: San Francisco, Calif. — featured in San Francisco's Top Attractions
Hopefully, you’ll get to meet Claude when you visit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. He is a rare albino alligator that practically glows in the dim of his below-ground swamp habitat. Nearby, spanning four floors is a glass dome that houses the largest rainforest exhibit in the entire world, aflutter with tropical butterflies, birds and reptiles. Head up to the 2.5 acre living roof for views of the surrounding Golden Gate Park below, before you venture into outer space via the Morrison Planetarium.
All this and more make for a very memorable day. Be sure to bring your kid (or your inner-child) to maximize the experiential fun. –Amber Turpin
- Museum of Osteology: Oklahoma City, Okla. — featured in Underrated Attractions in OKC
- Pima Air & Space Museum: Tuscon, Ariz. — featured in Things to Do in Tucson
- Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals: Hillsboro, Ore. — featured in Fun Things to Do in Hillsboro and Beaverton, Oregon
- The Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles, Calif. — featured in Intellectual Los Angeles
- N.C. Museum of Life and Science: Durham, N.C. — featured in Things to Do in the Triangle
- Science Museum Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Okla. — featured in The Top Things to Do in OKC
Museum of Science: Boston, Mass. — featured in The Top Things to Do in Boston
The Museum of Science is one of the most popular museums in Boston and a great family destination, with more than 500 educational and interactive exhibits. Here you’ll learn about all sorts of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – topics. Through the end of the year, check out Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience, the Museum's newest temporary exhibit that will make you feel like you’ve landed on the moon. And starting in November, you won’t want to miss the Rihanna Experience at the Charles Hayden Planetarium dome.
You can even get tickets to see TV personality and Emmy Award winning star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” record his podcast, “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness,” live on February 27, 2019. –Katy Cirrone
- California Science Center: Los Angeles, Calif. — featured in Free Things to Do in LA
- Houston Museum of Natural Science: Houston, Texas — featured in Free Things to Do in Houston
- National Weather Center: Oklahoma City, Okla.— featured in Underrated Attractions in OKC
- Mastodon State Historic Site: St. Louis, Mo. — featured in Cheap Things to Do in St. Louis
- Lake Erie Nature and Science Center: Cleveland, Ohio — featured in Free Things to Do in Cleveland
- Discovery Science Center: Santa Ana, Calif. — featured in Things to Do With Kids in Orange County
Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Pasadena, Calif. — featured in Intellectual Los Angeles
Do you dream of journeying to the farthest reaches of the galaxy? NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California is as close as you can get to the stars while still standing on earth. JPL offers free two-hour tours that include a multimedia presentation about the lab plus a visit to the space flight operations center and the spacecraft assembly facility. Advanced reservations become available six months in advance and disappear quickly. JPL also hosts free lectures, high school science competitions and special events like live Mars landing viewing parties that can get you on campus if the tours are booked up.