When planning a family vacation, you probably cover all of the usual bases: local food, art, history and culture. But science, technology, engineering and math – the four disciplines collectively known as “STEM” – are ripe for exploration on your next trip, too. STEM-themed vacations can excite your kids about topics like coding, medicine and outer space while exposing them to new interests or future career paths. Discover rocket ship solutions in Houston and Henry Ford’s original Model T outside Detroit. While in Boston, get ready to dive into the world of robotics at MIT, or see the monumental effort that goes into giving Boeing aircraft their wings in Seattle. From microcomputers to larger-than-life brains, these four cities offer plenty to spark the imagination of students young and old.
- Drive about 13 miles north from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
As you fly into Washington state, take note of your plane’s model number. If it begins with a 7, it was probably made by Boeing, one of the world’s largest aircraft producers. See where Boeing’s birds get their wings at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, just a 25-mile drive north of Seattle. During the 90-minute tour, discover the fascinating field of flight as you watch 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners get assembled inside the largest building (by volume) in the world. For a hands-on experience, create and print 3-D models in a collaborative, open workspace during Maker Mondays. Want more? Sign up for one of Boeing’s Family Weekend Workshops for a deeper dive into the science and evolution of flight.
Next up? The Pacific Science Center in downtown Seattle, where you can catch the latest IMAX show as well as planetarium and live science shows. Families can plan ahead and use the center’s scripted demonstrations to make their way through scientific discoveries, like how volcanoes are formed. Once back in the car, hand out the center’s PacSci-Doku puzzle to complete en route to your next stop. The sudoku-style game poses a question about the center’s current IMAX show and is solved by using letters in place of numbers.