After an entire school year of studying, taking tests and sitting through lectures, the last thing your teen probably wants to do is visit educational sites during his or her vacation. Although it may remind your teen of school, educational sites can actually make learning more fun and interactive for students of all ages. Not to mention, it offers a nice change from confined classrooms that will emphasize the fact that learning can happen anywhere. Consider planning your next vacation to include a stop at one of the following destinations:
1. The Chickasaw Cultural Center
Schools these days don't spend a lot of time teaching about the history and culture of Native Americans, so a lot of what your teen knows might be based on fiction. Visiting the Chickasaw Nation in southern Oklahoma allows the whole family to become better acquainted with the realities of this fascinating culture. The Chickasaw Cultural center in Oklahoma is one great stop for discovering the unique qualities about this tribe, while other nearby museums and collections showcase the inspiring artwork and artifacts that Chickasaw ancestors left behind.
2. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Washington, D.C., is an excellent vacation spot for educational sites. However, there's much more to discover in this city than just government-related landmarks and experiences. The Smithsonian offers the largest collection of museums in the world, with a wide range of different themes that are sure to accommodate the interests of everyone on board. The National Air and Space Museum is an especially notable museum in this complex that features life-size replicas of famous aircraft along with actual souvenirs from space.
3. Adler Planetarium
Speaking of space, the Adler Planetarium is the ultimate destination for students fascinated by the universe we live in. Located in Chicago, the planetarium features several interesting and interactive exhibits depicting the experience of being in space along with hands-on, visually striking explanations of what scientists have discovered about space. A massive theater with a screen on the ceiling makes for highly engaging learning experiences and memorable viewings of images captured by the Hubble telescope.
4. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Philadelphia's Drexel University is home to America's oldest natural history museum and is a world leader in biodiversity and environmental research. The museum has been studying, collecting and showcasing the incredible diversity of our planet's natural world for more than 200 years and has a lot of outstanding exhibits to show for it. The world-renowned collections feature more than 18 million specimens, ranging from Lewis and Clark's plant collection to John James Audubon's birds, consisting of 435 hand-colored illustrations.
5. Museum of Modern Art
With schools losing funding for arts programs, your child may not have gotten much of an opportunity to explore the world of art. New York City's famous Museum of Modern Art can allow teens to discover exactly how modern artists are applying their talents and skills to the real world – and perhaps ignite a creative spark. The museum has rotating exhibits that are sure to appeal to a wide range of personalities.
Students often wonder how the lessons learned in classrooms apply in real-life. So taking them to museums and showing them how science, art, culture and other subjects have shaped the world can really help teens understand why their education is important. More importantly, visiting educational centers teaches students that learning can be fun, which is one of the most important lessons parents can teach.