California is a fascinating place to explore, but while most visitors will travel to the area with the intention of enjoying Hollywood or the wonderful natural attractions of wine country, there are others who want to explore the science attractions of the region.
'Geeky' tourism is a part of the industry that is growing in many areas, and there are increasing numbers of people who want to explore sites which reveal new secrets and show off great scientific achievements.
Here are a few of the attractions in California that are worth visiting for the science fan.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
The marine life found off the coast of California is among the best in the world, and while fishermen may know this, the message is now being brought to the masses with over two million people a year visiting this spectacular aquarium. Allowing visitors to see populations of a variety of marine species that are indigenous to the area, this aquarium shows off bluefin and yellowfin tuna, sea otters and great white sharks, among thousands of other species on display here.
Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits
Located in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, the tar pits here have been a source of natural asphalt seeping up through the ground for thousands of years, and one of the amazing things is that animals getting stuck here actually became wonderfully preserved. As well as being able to see the pits themselves, you can also see the excavated remains in the museum, including short-faced bears, dire wolves, and mammoths.
Griffith Park and Observatory
This observatory is located on the same hillside as the Hollywood Sign in LA, and can either be reached by a hike up the hill, or you can take a car up the narrow road to the observatory, but bear in mind there is only limited parking, and if it is full then you may have to head back down the hill. This is a great place to see the stars and planets and has a range of exhibits and shows that display images of what the observatory has captured in the night sky.
The Bradbury Building, LA
Although this brick building with its large airy atrium and the glass roof make for an attractive location, this building is mostly of interest to science fiction fans. It has appeared in the film 'Blade Runner' where it was the location for the final scene and the apartment of the main character, while it is also one of the offices where Marvel Comics has their artists working, and the central court really is a beautiful architectural attraction.
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
This natural history museum is one of the largest of its kind in the world, holding examples of over 26 million different animal and plant species, all spread over a large compound. There is a good collection of fish and marine species located in the aquarium collection, while there is a rainforest atmosphere that is prepared inside a dome to give people a good view of those species.
Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose
Located among the big companies of Silicon Valley, the purple and orange exterior of this museum may appear garish, but inside there is an amazing range of technological exhibitions and sections, including a great IMAX cinema. Among the areas of the Tech Museum of Innovation is a social robot area, where visitors can design and even try to construct simple robots, while The Studio is where tech companies come to show off their prototypes to the public.
California Science Center, LA
In the Exhibition Park district, the California Science Center is home to a range of different science exhibits, including the largest IMAX scene in the city and a range of exhibitions. Particularly of interest is the collection of aircraft, both modern and historic, and examples of space technology, including the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and some of the robotic creations that have been used in space missions.