Would you like to add science fiction themes to your vacations? Here are some ideas.
Travel Back in Time
One of the more popular science fiction themes is time travel. Currently, actual time travel is impossible, but there are many ways you can add the next best thing to your next vacation. For example, you could go to a Renaissance Faire, visit a dinosaur museum or take in a historical reenactment.
Pretty much every state hosts a Renaissance festival and you can easily find them by typing in the term “Renaissance festival” into your favorite search engine. If you enjoy a good jousting tournament and are fond of Elizabethan England, a Ren Faire is for you.
If your tastes in time travel go back a bit further, there are plenty of museums and amusement parks that feature the terrible lizards of the Cretaceous period. When I was growing up, I loved to visit the California Academy of Sciences Kimball Natural History Museum in Golden Gate Park and take in the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the main foyer.
If you look, you can find all sorts of “living museums” where volunteers and/or actors stay in character from a specific period of time. Pine after the colonial period? Visit Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, where you can walk through re-enactments of 18th-century U.S.
If you are a fan of space opera, then space exploration might be one of the possible science fiction themes that will appeal to you. Actual space travel opportunities are still very limited, but, as will time travel, there are ways to add it to your vacation.
Visit your local planetarium… or the planetarium in the city you’re going to visit… and you’ll have the opportunity to explore space. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago is very nice, as well as located on Lake Michigan and near the Field Natural History Museum, which was featured in the horror film, The Relic. I took this one in during a 7-hour layover in Chicago.
When in Los Angeles, you can drive out to Griffith Park to see the Samuel Oschin Planetarium at Griffith Observatory. It’s a little out of the way, but you can get spectacular views of the night sky from its location. The Hayden Planetarium in New York City is home to the famous “Hayden Sphere” and is where Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of NOVA ScienceNOW, is based.
20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea
Do the adventures of Captain Nemo thrill you? Then you might want to have an “underwater exploration” theme layered onto your vacation.
Visit the right aquarium and you’ll get a taste of what it might have been like for Captain Nemo of Jules Verne’s adventure novel 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea. Believe it or not, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas provides a very nice underwater experience as part of its shark exhibit. You walk through a glass tunnel and can watch the sharks swimming overhead.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was featured in Star Trek IV, is one of the best aquariums I’ve been to. The 10-meter giant kelp forest exhibit gives you a real underwater experience, too. I also enjoyed my visit to the Shed Aquarium in Chicago (also during that 7-hour layover). They have an excellent selection of animal encounters where you can get up close and personal with turtles, snakes and even tarantulas (no, thank you for me).
Alien invasion is one of the most popular science fiction themes in literature, film, and television. From H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds to Captive State (2019) Falling Skies (2014-2015, TNT), tales of strange (and not so strange) aliens coming to take over the Earth have been spun over and over again. If you’d like to add this theme to your vacation, you have options.
If you’re going to be in New Mexico, you really should check out the UFO Museum & Research Center in Roswell. The best time to go is in July when the annual festival takes place.
If you’re heading out to Portland, Ore., you’ll want to check out The Portland Alien Museum. While you’re there, you could make a less than 150-mile trek to Seattle, where you’ll find the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.
Post Updated on February 18, 2020