5 Great Destinations for Learning Something New
Everyone knows traveling can be a great way to kick back, relax and shake off stress, but it can also present an opportunity to expand your horizons and learn something new. Whether it’s historical context, cultural enrichment, natural wonder, or intergalactic exploration, there’s something for you in at least one of these five destinations.
To Infinity and Beyond: Florida’s Space Coast
When most people think of Florida, they envision sandy beaches and theme parks, but one of the Sunshine State’s most fascinating travel destinations can be found about 45 minutes east of Orlando.
Stretching from Titusville to Palm Bay, Florida’s Space Coast boasts an array of fun — and educational — things to see and do, but the real attraction is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. There, you can participate in space shuttle mission simulations, meet actual astronauts, spin around in a multi-axis trainer cage and get a taste of life in space.
To come back down to earth from the high of simulated space flight, check out the nearby Canaveral National Seashore — rich with sea turtles, manatees and all kinds of fun in the sun.
Steeped in History: Philadelphia’s Old City
For a journey through American history, Philadelphia holds the key to an engrossing glimpse into the country’s storied past. Old City Philadelphia is known as the nation’s most historic square mile. Around this area, you can walk right up to the famed Liberty Bell, pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and visit Independence Hall, site of the signing of both the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. The Benjamin Franklin Museum offers interactive displays celebrating the life of the Colonial era’s prolific statesman and inventor, while the Betsy Ross House tells the popular story of the how the first U.S. flag came to be sewn.
In spring, 2017, the Museum of the American Revolution is slated to open , exploring the nation’s roots through treasures like George Washington’s tent and interactive displays.
Los Angeles: Ready for Its Close-Up
Movie buffs and music lovers flock to Los Angeles for its entertainment industry landmarks — the Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, and Madame Tussauds, to name a few. But there’s something for every interest in La La Land thanks to an astounding array of museums and cultural curiosities.
Take in some art and a view of the city from the Getty Center, gaze through the telescopes of the Griffith Observatory, and marvel at the images in the Annenberg Space for Photography. Then, enjoy some quirky”only-in-LA” experiences like the man-made Watts Towers, movie night at Art Deco-style landmark The Wiltern, and every design enthusiasts’ dreamland: the Eames House in Pacific Palisades.
A Bite of the Big Apple: Lower Manhattan
America’s largest city, New York, is home to some of the world’s finest cultural touchpoints — that’s no secret. But in Lower Manhattan, many lesser-known gems are worth exploring: the South Street Seaport Museum, filled to the gills with nautical artifacts; the Museum of American Finance, set inside an old bank; the Museum of Jewish Heritage, offering thoughtful cultural programs; and the Manhattan outpost of the National Museum of the American Indian, an extension of the Smithsonian network.
To appease both sides of the brain and explore a little farther, you can peruse some of the more than 22,000 works of modern art at the popular-for-good-reason Whitney Museum of American Art, or enjoy the innovative exhibits at the lesser-trafficked MoMath (the National Museum of Mathematics) on 26th Street.
America, America: U.S. National Parks & Historic Sites
No matter the time of year and no matter your location, there’s likely a national park nearby just waiting to be explored. Whether an iconic landform like the Grand Canyon or a local site, the National Park Service offers a staggering array of 59 designated national parks, plus hundreds more historic sites, recreation areas and scenic trails.
Consider sliding down the otherworldly quartz dunes of White Sands National Monument, traversing the bright orange slot canyons of Zion National Park, or indulging your inner botanist at North Cascades National Park.
Or, for some historical context, visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site to learn about the life of the 19th century social reformer or the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, honoring some of the country’s most notable heroes.
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