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Pulsar77
2013-Dec-08, 11:16 AM
I'm planning a trip to the US in about a year and I love a good science centre. Hoping to visit as many good centres as possible during my trip. My Itinerary is not set yet and am planning to be there for a month or two and traveling around quite a bit.

Would love to get some recommendations for where to visit and where not to visit.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Dec-08, 06:45 PM
If you got to Washington DC there are several museums that are part of the Smithsonian Institution, and they are worth a visit -- the Natural History Museum, and the two locations of the Air and Space Museum (both worth visiting, even though one location is a bit out of the way), for example.

Nick

Buttercup
2013-Dec-08, 07:14 PM
Johnson Space Center in Houston.

And if you come to New Mexico, this - in Alamogordo:

http://www.nmspacemuseum.org/

Noclevername
2013-Dec-08, 09:44 PM
Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon, Connecticut.

Swift
2013-Dec-08, 10:02 PM
By "science centers" do you mean museums about science, or do you mean places do actual science research (though yes, some museums also do research)?

KaiYeves
2013-Dec-09, 12:02 AM
If you got to Washington DC there are several museums that are part of the Smithsonian Institution, and they are worth a visit -- the Natural History Museum, and the two locations of the Air and Space Museum (both worth visiting, even though one location is a bit out of the way), for example.

Nick
Agreed-- and the Smithsonian Museums are all free to visitors, as well!

In New York, the American Museum of Natural History is an absolute must-see, and while there isn't much else strictly scientific there, the Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air, Space museum is very nice.

Here in Boston, the Museum of Science is pricey but worthwhile, and the MIT Museum is small, but excellent. I haven't been to the Harvard Natural History Museum, but I've heard good things.

ngc3314
2013-Dec-09, 03:04 PM
For the astronomically minded, McDonald Observatory offers viewing nights at their 2.1m and 2.7m telescopes (probably the largest such regularly available for public viewing). Chicago's Adler Planetarium has extensive displays of equipment and demonstrations (plus a glass wall to watch the Zooniverse programming team at work in their native habitat), and the Museum of Science and Industry had good stuff when last I saw it (fairly long ago). In Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory (located near the famous Hollywood sign) offers a similarly rich set of exhibits. Most major observatories have some sort of exhibits and opportunities to view the facilities (including radio instruments, especially in Green Bank, West Virginia, and the VLA in New Mexico). Lick Observatory has Friday viewing nights during the summer with the historic 0.9m refractor and the 1m Nickel reflector in the same building.

(These sites are widely spread - depending on where you're coming from and whether it's your first trip to the US, a caution about travel times may be in order).

DonM435
2013-Dec-09, 04:29 PM
Growing up in Chicago, I went to the Museum of Science and Industry often, and still never managed to see every exhibit. I thinki it was a pioneering example of interactive exhibits, wherein you couldpush buttons all day and see things happen. The vast assemblage of out-of-state and foreign license plates we'd see in the parking lot attested to its international reputation. Haven't been there in years, but I imagine it's still impressive.

Adler Planetarium has the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History in its neighborhood (not to mention legendary Soldier Field. Heck, there even used to be a small airport out there.) I always enjoyed this other museum, because it was quieter and had dinosaur fossils and mummies. Some folks might be put off. Last time I looked there were hundreds of taxidermy'd wild beasts, and the plaques invariably informed you that these had been procured by a Theodore Roosevelt expedition, many being shot by Teddy himself. The man must have wiped out numerous species during his career as America's foremost conservationist!

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-09, 08:09 PM
Here in the U.S. we don't have centres. But we do have plenty of centers. ;)

I second Swifts question.
Are you looking for more of a museum of science, or more of a hands on type of thing which is more of a learning museum?

Definitely the Smithsonian for museum experience.
For the others, there are plenty of nice ones all over the country so you might be able to fit one into your itinerary instead of fitting your itinerary to a specific one.

primummobile
2013-Dec-09, 08:13 PM
The Kennedy Space Center is pretty impressive.

danscope
2013-Dec-09, 10:52 PM
Definietly Boston Museum of Science. I did some work there, including the Mugar Theatre , amazing surround picture.
Much to see.

Dan

KaiYeves
2013-Dec-10, 01:10 AM
Definietly Boston Museum of Science. I did some work there, including the Mugar Theatre , amazing surround picture.
Much to see.

Dan

Also, the Polage is really something.

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-11, 11:19 AM
Thanks Everyone. I'm compiling a long list. Generally i'm interested in the education/museum type, (hands on or historical), though definitely keen for research centers that allow the public in. I'm pretty keen on radio astronomy so might stop by some of your observatories if I'm in the area.

I've been working in the industry for quite a while and have heard great things about the US science centers. Can't wait!

R.A.F.
2013-Dec-11, 03:21 PM
I see no one has covered the west coast, so...


To the far North, there is the Museum of Flight (http://www.museumofflight.org/) in Seattle, and to the far South, there is the San Diego Air and Space Museum (http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/).

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-12, 10:50 AM
I see no one has covered the west coast, so...


To the far North, there is the Museum of Flight (http://www.museumofflight.org/) in Seattle, and to the far South, there is the San Diego Air and Space Museum (http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/).

Both look fantastic. I do love aviation museums.

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-12, 10:56 AM
Definietly Boston Museum of Science. I did some work there, including the Mugar Theatre , amazing surround picture.
Much to see.

Dan

Looks fantastic!

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-12, 10:57 AM
The Kennedy Space Center is pretty impressive.

It's definitely on my list.

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-12, 11:00 AM
For the astronomically minded, McDonald Observatory offers viewing nights at their 2.1m and 2.7m telescopes (probably the largest such regularly available for public viewing). Chicago's Adler Planetarium has extensive displays of equipment and demonstrations (plus a glass wall to watch the Zooniverse programming team at work in their native habitat), and the Museum of Science and Industry had good stuff when last I saw it (fairly long ago). In Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory (located near the famous Hollywood sign) offers a similarly rich set of exhibits. Most major observatories have some sort of exhibits and opportunities to view the facilities (including radio instruments, especially in Green Bank, West Virginia, and the VLA in New Mexico). Lick Observatory has Friday viewing nights during the summer with the historic 0.9m refractor and the 1m Nickel reflector in the same building.

(These sites are widely spread - depending on where you're coming from and whether it's your first trip to the US, a caution about travel times may be in order).

I'm going to try to get to both Green Bank and the VLA if possible. They've been on my wish list for some years.

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-12, 11:03 AM
Agreed-- and the Smithsonian Museums are all free to visitors, as well!

In New York, the American Museum of Natural History is an absolute must-see, and while there isn't much else strictly scientific there, the Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air, Space museum is very nice.

Here in Boston, the Museum of Science is pricey but worthwhile, and the MIT Museum is small, but excellent. I haven't been to the Harvard Natural History Museum, but I've heard good things.

Noted. I like 'must see advice'. The web site looks very impressive and some big exhibitions on at the moment. Thanks for the heads up.

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-12, 11:05 AM
Johnson Space Center in Houston.

And if you come to New Mexico, this - in Alamogordo:

http://www.nmspacemuseum.org/

Very cool. I'm hoping to make both.

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-12, 02:36 PM
Both look fantastic. I do love aviation museums.
In that case, I would also suggest the National Air Force Museum (http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/).
I'm not sure how it compares to the two R.A.F. suggested, but it does cross the line of both Air and Space. (they have a good virtual tour (http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/full/tour-std.html)
too)

ngc3314
2013-Dec-13, 01:16 AM
Just remembered - I did a public talk about a year ago on space and astronomical tourism in the USA, for which the graphics (http://astronomy.ua.edu/keel/talks/AstroTourism.pdf) (27 Myte PDF, lots of images) might include helpful suggestions.

Solfe
2013-Dec-13, 02:53 AM
Just remembered - I did a public talk about a year ago on space and astronomical tourism in the USA, for which the graphics (http://astronomy.ua.edu/keel/talks/AstroTourism.pdf) (27 Myte PDF, lots of images) might include helpful suggestions.

Nice PDF!

Pulsar77
2013-Dec-13, 10:17 AM
Just remembered - I did a public talk about a year ago on space and astronomical tourism in the USA, for which the graphics (http://astronomy.ua.edu/keel/talks/AstroTourism.pdf) (27 Myte PDF, lots of images) might include helpful suggestions.

Fantastic resource. Thank you for sharing. I don't know I'll make all 48 but I'll try to make a fair few. Cheers.