Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.
There is a decommissioned government underground bunker from the 1950's/60's in Carp, Ontario which is just west of Ottawa. It is now a museum and there are daily tours in the summer. It was designed to support hundreds of government ministers and bureaucrats. Highlights: the blast door, prime minister's bedroom, multiple levels, equipment room, tv broadcast facility.
You forgot Bletchley Park in the UK! This is the epitome of computer geekiness - the place where the enigma code was broken the father of modern computing, Alan Turing!
The Museum for Jurassic Technology; Museum of Natural History, especially the Science and Aeronautics Center. Also any Fry's Electronics store.
I highly recommend this destination, it won't wear you out like Cape Kennedy or Houston; and there is an IMAX theater to boot! Many of the museum artifacts were used in space movies, because the staff is so good at technical details, and they give advice to movie producers. They have everything from the first German rockets to full sized launch missles outside on museum grounds. Both Russian and American!! Also some of the most interesting vehicles such as the SR-71(opened up so you can see everything) to the moon lander. I believe it was a copy of one that was not launched and used as a trouble shooter and trainer, if I'm not mistaken. You just have to see it to believe it!! Almost all of it in air-conditioned comfort! http://www.cosmo.org/
What about the Apple Campus at 1 infinite Loop in Cupertino, California for all the fanboys and for that matter why not the entire Silicon Valley.
This can't be a complete list. I don't see a single telescope makers' conference: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/94266659.html
Europe - Greece. National Archaeological Museum of Athens. You can see the ?Antikythera mechanism?, the oldest mechanical computer in the world (100-150 BC) designed to calculate astronomical positions. http://www.antikythera-mechanism.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism
Every time work takes me to Atlanta, I have to stop in Gwinnett and pay a visit to Fry's. There's nothing like a geek toy store...
I'd love to go to PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo. Quite a geeky gathering worth mentioning. http://www.paxsite.com/paxprime/index.php
Sorry, I've gotta clarify on some Disney-nerdery. To vacation at the pictured Disneyland attraction you would need to invent a time machine first. It is Monsanto's House of the Future, which was demolished a long time ago. http://www.yesterland.com/futurehouse.html It's spiritual successor is what the TR member was referring to, which is the Innoventions Dream Home. http://dreamhome.disney.go.com/media/ap/dreamhome/index.html Both are definitely good geeky vacation destinations worth mentioning, thanks!
As a fan of the TV series, I was delighted to find myself with the opportunity to visit Roswell, NM. The town itself is nothing as depicted in the series, with a six-lane highway as its "Main Street". The UFO Museum is also less glitzy, but still entertaining, with a vast library of UFO research materials. Had a great time in the town, too!
If the threat level ever drops down below orange, I recommend a visit to the Raccoon Mountain Pump Storage facility, maintained by TVA. The elevator ride down to the generators/pumps is impressive. http://www.tva.gov/sites/raccoonmt.htm
One of the the most significant collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world. Includes the Apollo 13 command module Odyssey. Great cold war exhibits, sputnik, and an excellent focus on the history of rocketry.
The 'Museum of Holography' in Soho was very very cooll when I visited it in the early 1990's. After the museum closed in 1992, it's collection was acquired by the MIT Museum. The holograms are impressive, I can't speak to the rest of the MIT collection but expect it to be quite notworthy (and a little geeky).
The Baltimore Museum of Industry http://www.thebmi.org/ and the NSA Cryptologic Museum (previous post) http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/museum/tour/index.shtml
The NSA Cryptologic Museum! http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/museum/tour/index.shtml
I'd suggest the Museum of Flight in Seattle as a prime geek vacation destination and the Boeing Visitor's Center in Everett as a secondary geek site.
I don't know whether it is good or bad, but I've been to nearly half these things, including the Akihabara shopping area in Tokyo. While I was stationed there in the Navy during the early 80's, I made nearly weekly trips there on the train ... also got to go to Tokyo Disneyland shortly after it opened. My favorite of all the places is, of course, the Smithsonian. Whenever I am in DC I try to add a weekend stay for the museums...Aerospace & American History are my favorites.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center which is hosting the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination; an exciting exhibition featuring more than 80 costumes, models and props from all six Star Wars films that invites visitors to defy gravity, manipulate robots, and engineer droids.
wright patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Very cool airplane, jet and helicopter museum, with a few odd-ball items to boot.
Cool old house, built by one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Completely restored a few years ago. Houses the largest collection of photography and motion picture film, hardware and unusual things GE was into. One of the most amazing things you learn is how he had the whole cut in half and moved about 7 feet because he did not like the acoustics of one room. www.eastmanhouse.org
There's an Apollo capsule, a gondola from an airship, and a mockup of a WWII-era city. My favorite plane there is a Lockheed Constellation, one of the sexiest machines ever built. Ask a local, you might even be treated to the Blue Angels doing a weekly practice session! Oh,, and admission is whatever you would like to contribute. :-D
I've lived in AR for many years, don't think we have a Sahuarita or a Titan Missile museum. Could you mean AZ? ;-)
Arecibo radiotelescope (Puerto Rico) http://www.naic.edu/
On your way to see the retired AirForce1 and a stealth bomber as well as space capsules and lots of fun old planes... you can glimpse the "bone yard" - one of the largest plane storage facilities in the world.
All these vacations would be great if I had enough money to fly over the pond to the US. Did tech forget their european counterparts. We have geeky places of interest. Just a bit tougher to find though. Not sure why. Here is my suggestion - The Lovell Radio Telescope http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/aboutus/lovell/ Enjoy......
Also, if you are there around July 1, there is the nearby National Capital Airshow in Ottawa and there are many museums in Ottawa, including Science and Technology (trains), Natural History, Aviation, War Museum, Mint/Currency, Art plus a cultural museum across the river in Hull, Quebec.
I personally Love , and recommend checking out any old U.S. Military Base They are Way Beyond Cool. I was Born on a U. S. Air Force in Canada, and raised on many others here in the States. The I served in the Marine Corps, & served on these Bases. Now I love to go back and visit them 40years later, So far I have been able to camp right on the bases and most for FREE.
I second this destination. The vintage aircraft exhibits alone make the trip south of Omaha well worth it.
I cannot believe that PAX is not on the list! I've been to PAX prime in Seattle (2008) and the inaugural PAX East in Boston this year. I think a convention all about video games, board games, and role-playing scores pretty high on the geek scale.
Then the mention of the Blue Angels slapped me. If you are vacationing in the Southeast US, the National Naval Aviation Museum is definitely worth the side trip.
Check the Cryptologic Museum at Corry Field just up the road from the air station, and check out Fort Pickens, and some of the other Civil War-WWII structures built in the area. Great stuff!
You are absolutely correct that the museum is not in Arkansas (AR). It is in Arizona (AZ). However, Arkansas was home to a bunch of the Titan-II's. When I grew up, we always had the opinion that we would be a significant target if the "big one" ever broke out on our soil because of all of these underground missiles. There were actually 2 significant accidents with them and I recall them both vividly. Once was just a leak of some sort and the other was an explosion after a maintenance worker accidentally dropped a wrench down the missile silo. Hey -- maybe we should have a museum?
Try the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire - this was the staging point for allied forces. We spent the entire day wandering through 7 full size hangars of aircraft, artillery and dioramas of ground forces. Lots of interactive displays as well. Great for geeks and families alike.
Thing is, we can go back just a tad farther than the US. Never mind "old" computers, we had the first iron bridges and steamships, we had Newton, Darwin, Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Faraday, Alan Turing, Watson & Crick and Rosalind Franklin . . . the list of British discoverers and inventors who made the industrial revolution and computing possible starts in the 17th century. So there are attractions in the UK are about where it all began. Our famed sense of history has solid ground, even if others can show off more current stuff. How about these for starters: Imperial War Museum, Duxford: http://duxford.iwm.org.uk/ National Space Centre, Leicester: http://www.spacecentre.co.uk/Page.aspx/1/Home/ Bletchley Park: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/ The Royal Observatory, Greenwich: http://www.nmm.ac.uk/places/royal-observatory/
...it's a pretty neat place. I also enjoyed all the steamship exhibits in the Science Museum in London....the working steam engine (a really BIG steam engine) just as you enter is pretty darn cool, also
I live very near to this place but I thought it was secret secret and not open to public :) LOL Thanks for this, I will go one day.