Top 10 Science Museums in the US – as per Mensa

Earlier this year American Mensa surveyed it’s members to come up with a list of the best science museums around the US. The list is as follows:

1. National Air and Space Museum (Washington, D.C.)

2. Academy of Natural Science Museum of Drexel University (Philadelphia)

3. Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)

4. California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco)

5. Bradbury Science Museum (Los Alamos, N.M.)

6. Arkansas Museum of Discovery (Little Rock, Ark.)

7. California Science Center (Los Angeles)

8. Exploratorium (San Francisco)

9. Museum of Science (Boston)

10. Center of Science and Industry (Columbus, Ohio)

In the north east I have come to appreciate science content presented in:

1. Museum of Natural History (New York)

2. Liberty Science Museum (New Jersey)

3. Momath (New York)

In the south I also admire science content at the Children’s Museum in Birmingham – Alabama.

Happy Exploring!

My secret to traveling light

85470709What makes up most of our luggage during a trip? Clothes. With a toddler who just turned four I am changing him at least twice a day during my travels. When he was little I used to carry blankets, sheets, burp cloths etc. How do we reduce this luggage and make traveling more convenient?

A. Find hotels, B&B’s or rent homes that have washer and dryers available (small hotels in Europe do provide this facility)
B. Carry a clothes detergent
C. Carry clothes that are made from quick drying fabrics. Most active wear clothing are easy to clean, dry quickly even when hung indoors. They are wrinkle free, wicking, offer stretch and are preshrunk. A perfect solution for an action and family packed travel

I finally found a solution for a clothes detergent. Try Method’s travel size Laundry detergent – a 8 load solution. I even used this detergent in the bath tub – just soaked clothes in the detergent, rinsed them in the morning and hung them dry. They smelled great and felt clean.

Method Laundry Detergent

A tiny bottle that is easy to pack and easy to use. Pack it in a ziploc – it did leak in my bag on my way back from my trip. Check out more details about this product on the Method Site.

We were on our way to Lindau, Germany in the super fast RailJet. In the train we met a family on their 2 month trip with their 3 sons (age range 5-12 yrs old) and they were carrying one back pack each. I am no where close to packing so efficiently but they surely inspired me. Check out this blog that provides a lot more information on how to travel light: OneBag

How When Where? Smart travel decisions that can make every trip memorable

When my son was 3 years and younger, we used to make travel decisions based on “convenience”. I have shared with you factors like:
1. Distance from home
2. Convenience of getting there
3. Ease of getting around
4. Baby friendly services at a hotel or resort
5. Warm and comfortable weather
6. When? We could go anytime we could take time off from our work. We didn’t have to care for school, long weekends etc.

Rafting the Upper Colorado

As my son turned 4 we have come to realize that these factors don’t apply anymore. Our travel decisions are driven by our overall family interests. Factors like:
1. What is our tot curious about? Dinosaurs, specific topics like the Von Trapp Family etc.?
2. What activities does he enjoy? Beach, Skiing, Factories, Farms, Museums etc.?
3. Which resorts have day camps for him?
4. Is it possible to travel with another family with similar aged kids or with close family
5. Plan trips during school holidays, long weekends and breaks
6. Distance from home still applies but is not an over-riding factor anymore
7. Convenience of getting there – we still don’t want to have multiple layovers and hours of drive in the car. Maybe this factor will not matter in a few years

As a parent you have to be dynamic in your thoughts and actions based on your child’s developmental cycle and age. With limited time and set resources you want to get the most out of each trip. There are times when you want to visit a certain destination which might not be on your tot’s top list. In this case it helps to generate curiosity in your child. Talk about the destination, attractions, famous people from the place, unique culture and learn a bit of it’s language (if different). Once your tot has reached the 3-4 year age range you can help your tot explore the destination before getting there. This will help him/her build memories that will last forever.

Post travel invest time to create a scrap book, an eBook, a short slide-show of selected photos from the trip or an album to keep reminding your tots on things they explored and invaluable moments spent together as a family.

Family destination around New York – 1 Hour Drives

Alstede FarmsIt is the end of Devam’s first year at school. Time for summer break, a 3 month period to explore, experience and enjoy something different besides school. We plan to visit several destinations in and around New York. Besides researching new destinations there are some that we look forward to visiting again and again.

I am listing our few favorite destinations:

1) Bear Mountain State Park

2) Norwalk, CT
Stepping Stones Museum
Maritime Aquarium

3) New Jersey, NJ
Liberty Science Center
Alstede Farms

These destinations are about one hour drive from New York. They are great destinations for age groups of 2-7 years old and perfect destinations for an entire family.

Note: When visiting farms it is most advisable to call them in advance to confirm their pick-your-own schedule and the best hours to visit the farm. I usually like to get to farms early in the morning and leave by noon.

Happy Travels,