Left Brain Vacation Ideas
2005—Your own space odyssey: The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchison puts students in the driver’s seat with overnight and multi-day camps. A Mars Academy teaches participants to build robots and helps them learn how they would survive on the Red Planet; an Astronaut Training Program has spaceflight simulators. You’re never too old to learn, so the center offers adult and Elderhostel programs, too. Or, just visit for a day and enjoy exhibits, experiments and shows in the IMAX theater and planetarium (800/397-0330; www.cosmo.org).
Give me science, straight and simple How does an earthquake happen? What makes my heart beat? How can I make a volcano right in my own kitchen? Curious minds want to know, and that’s what makes the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul the perfect fit. Visitors find hundreds of exhibits and hands-on activities, and even can create their own weather systems. Special classes explore the world through scientific experimentation (651/221-9444; www.smm.org).
Animal science, in motion Textbooks can’t hold lessons like this. The study of the manatee comes to oversize life with a sleepover next to their tank at one of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Nocturnal Adventures. These creatures, whose closest relatives include elephants and aardvarks, survive on more than 60 types of green plants. Learn how the lungs, heart and bones of the 1,500-pound giants work, and find out secrets of other animals on nighttime zoo prowls. Other overnights study wolves and wildlife adaptations (800/944-4776, ext. 7767; www.cincinnatizoo.org).