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Great Geeky Getaways

By  Lynn O'Rourke Hayes   

science

Kids and their parents know it’s cool to be smart.

Here are five places that will supercharge your family’s brainpower.

Exploratorium. San Francisco, CA. 

More than 600 exhibits housed on 3.3 acres will encourage every member of the family to see the world differently. The 40-year-old, 21st century learning lab encourages creativity and “tinkering” as a means of expanding our perceptions. Young children and toddlers are engaged by shadow, light, bubbles and color as a means of exploration and discovery. Kids can create a marble machine, study plankton populations, or check out an “upside down world” at a new location on Pier 15.

Contact: (415) 528-4444;  www.exploratorium.edu

The Living Planet Aquarium. Draper, UT.  

This home to underwater adventure was created by a marine biology major turned biochemist, who was inspired to share the mysteries of the seas with children in his land-locked home state of Utah, The popular Living Planet Aquarium will reboot in a new and expanded location in December. When the doors reopen, kids can learn all about sharks, rays, seahorses, piranha and Gentoo penguins in an interactive environment.

Contact: 801-355-FISH (3474); www.TheLivingPlanet.com 

Explora Children’s Museum.  Albuquerque, NM.

How do you make a green chile pepper appear black? Find out during a visit to this family-friendly museum that mixes art and science to spur creativity and discovery within the worlds of physics, math, biology and beyond.  Kids can also use their own bodies to study the concepts of ratio and proportion in the Math Moves exhibit. 

Contact: (505) 224-8300; www.explora.us

The Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, FLA

Plan a family visit to the 66,450-square-foot permanent home of the most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dali’s works in the world. Enjoy the priceless collection of masterpieces, paintings, photographs, watercolors and books. Younger children will enjoy the “Dillydally with Dali” program offered daily, which includes puzzles, games, story hour and creative expression.  Be there on the first Saturday of the month, for Breakfast With Dali, a morning that includes a junior-focused tour, followed by a buffet breakfast. Beginning in January, 2014, the museum will host an expansive exhibit of the work of Andy Warhol.  Children under five are admitted free.  

Contact: 1-800-442-DALI (3254); www.TheDali.org; www.VisitStPeteClearwater.com

Baltimore Aquarium Family Travel

National Aquarium.  Baltimore, MD. 

Did you know that an octopus has a highly developed brain and is a master of camouflage?  Collect the details before you check out Black Tip Reef, a coral filled exhibit replicating Indo-Pacific underwater landscapes. The kids will love their visit with bottlenose dolphins where they’ll also observe training, feeding and playtime with trainers. Before days’ end discover the importance of jellyfish, observe sharks in an open tank and see more than 500 exotic species in an Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit.

Contact: 410-576-3800; Aqua.org.

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