2Kennedy Space Center
Blast off with an exploration of NASA’s launch headquarters, which traverses an amazing area including towering launch pads, huge rockets, history-making technology and vast stretches of NASAs Florida wildlife preserve. The highlight of the Kennedy Space Center tour for many is the A/B Camera Stop, where guests can access the closest possible Space Shuttle launch pad viewing site to snap photos.
3Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
Housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the museum features a working coal mine, a German submarine (U-505) captured during World War II, a 3,500-square-foot model railroad, the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless-steel passenger train (Pioneer Zephyr) and a NASA spacecraft used on the Apollo 8 mission. It could easily take up an entire day, so go early and see it all. Photo credit: Scott Brownell, Museum of Science and Industry
4CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research)
The world’s largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border, offers a series of guided tours, special exhibitions and the massive Globe of Science and Innovation, featuring an exhibition taking you on a journey into the world of particles and back to the Big Bang.
A monument built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, the Atomium consists of nine steel spheres connected so the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center enclose escalators connecting the spheres, which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces; the top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels (pictured).
6International Spy Museum
Located in Washington, D.C., this museum is dedicated to everything secret, featuring 600 objects and exhibits on the history of espionage and spies in real-world practice and in popular culture. The museum has extensive exhibits on espionage methods and materials dating from the Greek and Roman empires, the British Empire, the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, the World Wars, and the Cold War years.
Better known as Tatooine, the fictional landscape and home of Luke Skywalker, some kid who was always whining to his aunt and uncle about picking up power converters, this is a must-visit site for Star Wars fans. Pictured is the Hotel Sidi Driss, which offers traditional troglodyte accommodations and was the home of Skywalker, Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen. Until you-know-what happened …Photo credit: Andy Carvin, 2005
8Expo 2010 Shanghai China
Shanghai, a city that looks like it traveled back in time from the world of “Blade Runner,” is hosting an enormous world expo until the end of October, and if youre into high tech, well, everything, this is the top stop in China to make. In addition to the stunning architecture of the city, the Expo offers exhibits from more than 190 countries and more than 50 international organizations. It is estimated that 70 million to 100 million visitors will visit the Expo, the most in history. Photo credit: Suzuki, 2010
9The Computer History Museum
Established in 1996 in Mountain View, Calif., the museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the stories and artifacts of the information age, and exploring the computing revolution and its impact on our lives. The museum’s major, new 25,000-square-foot exhibit, a timeline that covers 2,000 years of computing history, is scheduled to open in late 2010.
10Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
A federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located outside Los Angeles, JPL is home to the development of epic space missions such as Voyager and Voyager 2, and the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The lab offers free tours on an advance reservation basis, which include a multimedia presentation on JPL and visits to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, among other places.
11Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin (German Museum of Technology)
Located in central Berlin and dedicated to transportation, manufacturing and technology, the museum boasts an impressive array of radios, phones, planes, sea-faring vessels and two whole locomotive sheds on its sprawling campus. The museum also contains a trippy science center called Spectrum, the intellectuals equivalent of Berlins famous club scene.