The World’s Top Destinations for Science Lovers

There aren’t many pursuits that expand our horizons to the extent that traveling does, but we’ll concede that science is one of them. From discovering the world is round and forever ridding the thought of sailing off the Earth’s edge, to mind-blowing trips to the moon, science and travel have always had an exciting relationship. These days, traveling for science is no less fun than the exploratory voyages of the past. To celebrate Earth Day and the March for Science on April 22, we’ve rounded up eight top destinations for science lovers. So, set aside beaches, vineyard visits, and water sports and embrace giant telescopes, dinosaurs, and space shuttles, instead.

1. Visit Colorado & Utah for the Dinosaur National Monument

Photo courtesy of Mark Byzewski via Flickr

The U.S. has plenty of places to see the clues left behind by dinosaurs, but the Dinosaur National Monument on the border between Colorado and Utah is our top choice, given that it’s home to one of the world’s most famous fossil finds. The preserved fossil remains of both the Stegosaurus and Diplodocus were found within layers of rock at the Morrison Formation, making it a shrine for both paleontologists and casual “Jurassic Park” fans. In addition to dinosaur trails, the park also offers great hiking trails and rafting opportunities.

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2. Visit London for the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Photo courtesy of Adrian Scottow via Flickr

Home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) -- the standard time against which almost all other time zones in the world are referenced -- the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London is a must-visit. Here, visitors can also stand on the Prime Meridian line. After snapping a selfie while standing with one leg in one hemisphere and another leg in the other, head to the Royal Observatory building and brush up on the universe inside London’s only planetarium. As a bonus, the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, and the famous Cutty Sark are all within a short walk of the Royal Observatory. 

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3. Visit Cape Canaveral for the Kennedy Space Center

Photo courtesy of bnhsu via Flickr

The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center is worth the admission fee alone. Fortunately, you get much more at “the gateway to space.” From watching real-life rocket launches (dependent on when you visit) to learning about pioneering NASA programs, this Cape Canaveral attraction has plenty to keep visitors occupied. Plus, it’s just a short trip from Orlando -- appropriate given that the Kennedy Space Center could be labeled a science lover’s theme park. 

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4. Visit Florence for the Museo Galileo

Photo courtesy of Massimiliano Calamelli via Flickr

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a trip to the museum named after the man who inspired scientists to look up and discover our place in the universe? Located in Florence, Museo Galileo is both a shrine to science’s past and a guide to its future. Many of Galileo’s original instruments, some of which date back to the 16th century, can be viewed in the collection. The first floor is dedicated to the Medici collection, dating from the 15th century through the 18th century, while the second floor houses instruments collected by the Lorraine dynasty during 18th and 19th centuries.

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5. Visit Geneva for the European Organization for Nuclear Research

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Located a short distance from Geneva, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. Visitors can enjoy exhibitions, tours, and the incredible, 89-foot-high Globe of Science and Innovation. Another highlight: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Learn about the Higgs boson (also called the “God particle”) in the place it was discovered and theorize with physicists on what it can tell us about the origins of the universe.

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6. Visit Los Angeles for the Griffith Observatory

Photo courtesy of Josh Hallett via Flickr

When you want a dose of Hollywood glamour alongside your science, look no further than Los Angeles. Griffith Observatory, which starred in movies like “Rebel Without a Cause” and “La La Land,” offers amazing views of the city before you even get to stargazing. Visitors can also take a turn on the free public telescopes at a star party (one Saturday a month), see a close-up of the universe inside the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and explore the history of human observation of the sky in the Wilder Hall of the Eye. 

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7. Visit Lincolnshire for Sir Isaac Newton’s Childhood Home

Photo courtesy of Kevin Boyd via Flickr

Combine a tour of England’s rural countryside with a visit to the family home of Sir Isaac Newton. Located in leafy Lincolnshire, Woolsthorpe Manor is now owned by the National Trust. It’s the only place you’ll find an orchard containing the Flower of Kent apple tree, which inspired Newton’s theory of gravity. Sit underneath the tree for long enough and an apple might fall on your head. Alternatively, explore the beautiful house where the genius was born in 1642. Every room here tells a different story of Newton and his work. 

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8. Visit Valencia for the City of Art and Sciences

Photo courtesy of Craig Cormack via Flickr

In addition to beautiful beaches, the Spanish city of Valencia has plenty of scientific entertainment. The City of Arts and Sciences is a complex where science fans won’t struggle for inspiration. It features an IMAX cinema, a landscaped viewing point, an interactive science center, and a large aquarium with more than 500 marine species. From dinosaurs and robots to astronomy and animals, the City of Arts and Sciences has it all. 

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