8 Summer Destinations That Will Stimulate You Intellectually [Tan Not Included]
It has been assumed that geeks spend their summers not on the beach or at the pool, but rather at the library, studying all of the myriad of subject matter they didn’t get to touch upon during the school year. They come to the first day of school with no tans or sordid tales, but boy do they have a head start on show-and-tell and the science fair (not to mention the next Microsoft or Facebook).
Some people crave intellectual stimulation more than others, and would rather be learning constantly than to be bored for even a minute. The following destinations are a geek’s dream getaway: brain-cell boosting and boredom-busting bastions of knowledge.
1. Harvard Crimson Key Tour
Every brainiac dreams of going to Harvard, walking the same steps as JFK, Mark Zukerberg, Obama, Sumner Redstone, and even Natalie Portman. Even if it’s not in the cards (or in the budget) at this time, taking a Crimson Key Tour is a great sneak peek into the inner workings of the institution that’s churned out so many billionaire brains.
Crimson Key Society members, acting as student ambassadors, lead historical walking tours for Free. They start in Harvard Yard, talking about key historic areas of the college, for approximately an hour.
These tours depart from the Harvard Events and Information Center, 1350 Massachusetts Ave.
2. Deutsches Museum
Science lovers from around the world flock to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, for its almost endless displays of objects (100,000 and counting) from the fields of technology and science. Topics range from Stone Age to the future, and include atomic physics, mining, biology and so much more.
Highlights include the first motorized plane by the Wright brothers, Conrad Zuse’s Z3 (first computer controlled by programming), Karl Benz’s first car and the U1 submarine.
There are thousands of interactive displays, as well, so children will enjoy being able to actually manipulate tools to see how things function.
3. The Winchester Mystery House
This San Jose, Calif., mansion took 38 years to build and currently has 160 rooms.
Owned by rifle heiress Sarah Winchester until her death, mystery surrounds the Victorian house with its stairs to nowhere, miles of meandering hallways, secret passages between walls, and even a Séance Room.
This house is a must-see for wanna-be architects or those fascinated in both geometry and the paranormal.
4. Anne Frank’s House
This is not optional for true historians of WWII and Europe in the middle of the 20th century. Directly in the middle of Amsterdam, Anne Frank’s House is a generally non-descript townhouse facing the water…except for the throngs of visitors streaming down the walkway.
Anne Frank’s diary is required reading for much of the Westernized world’s students, and to visit the hiding place from where she was taken and where she wrote her incredible diary is both a tragic and inspiring experience.
5. Victoria and Albert Museum
This London museum is the world’s greatest showcase of art and design, featuring architecture, books, ceramics, china, design, dance, fashion, furniture, glass, Middle Eastern art, jewellery, textiles and performance art…and that’s the tip of the iceberg.
Art represented includes Art Deco, Baroque, Contemporary, Gothic, Medieval, Modernism, Neo-Classicism, and more.
For those who need a break from the sheer magnitude and volume of arts represented at the V&A, have a bite at the cafe, visit the National Art Library, or visit the connected Museum of Childhood.
6. Library of Congress
Ever feel like your local public or university library is just not big enough, with not enough selection? Here’s your answer: the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. You’ll never look at a shelf of books the same way again.
The Library of Congress is over 210 years old and is a large part of America’s historical significance. It is open to the public, and besides books has a great deal of fascinating exhibitions…all for free.
There are also guided tours of the Jefferson Building, gallery talks, concerts, lectures, films and more. Souvenirs and library gifts can be found at the Library Shop, too.
7. The Marfa Lights
Before dismissing this as quite a way to go to just look at the pitch-black sky, check out Marfa online, a town quickly becoming the new Austin. Once known only as the town where James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor filmed “The Giant” way back when, Marfa is attracting artists from all over the world, visual and musical. Its nightlife is taking off, and we’re not just talking about the bars.
You see, the Marfa Lights have been around for decades, and they’re a major draw to this burgeoning tourist town. The Marfa lights, or the Marfa ghost lights, have been seen near U.S. Route 67 east of Marfa, and witnesses swear they are paranormal phenomena (although naysayers say they’re reflections of campfires and headlights).
Whatever the source, the lights, when viewed, are eerie and jump up and down, move side to side, and defy all logic.
Consider yourself lucky if you see them, as only about 15 sightings are reported each year. They’ve even been featured on the TV show, “Unsolved Mysteries.”
8. The Science Museum
This London science extravaganza has way too much to see in one day. Give this at least two days to explore the plethora of subjects and sights. Exhibits include: Atmosphere Gallery, Agriculture, ERNIE, Medical History, Health, Math, Energy, Computing, Space, the history of Science, Telecommunications, Veterinary History, Psychology and much more.
There is also an impressive IMAX theatre, café and gift shop to bring back those souvenirs to make your friends envious of!
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