Science and Geology: The Bucket List

The forces that made those scenic mountains also caused gold to run in veins, and thermal baths to bubble, and volcanoes to erupt. The animals you see on safari have a long history of ecology and evolution. Science museums and activities explain the world. Whether it’s an active gold panning tour or a quiet afternoon in a museum or an aquarium where you walk under the sea, science-themed activities make what you see make sense.

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Exploring Naracoorte Caves, South Australia’s World Heritage Site

Having booked an afternoon tour of the Naracoorte Caves, we drove the 200-plus kilometres from Hall’s Gap, in the Grampian Mountains, as fast as safety and the law allowed. Brendan, our son did the driving. Therese and I just clung to the seats. We Read More

The vast basin that is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Soaking in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Steam swirls into fog in this otherworldly basin of chalky blue and black as I attempt to slowly lower myself into the water. It has not been a good week for me. My knee went out a few days before boarding a plane to Iceland, and I've been hobbling Read More

High Force

Seeking the Teesdale Assemblage, County Durham, England

The Durham Dales often take one a tiny step beyond the magic. While their more illustrious southern neighbours, the Yorkshire Dales have their own unarguable beauties, I always feel that Weardale and Teesdale offer just that little bit extra. And Read More

A view of Iceland's lava fields

Journeying to the Center of the Earth at Thrinukagigur Volcano, Iceland

“Because it’s Sunday,” says Saga (pronounced Saya), swinging her long blonde plait as the minibus accelerates away from Reykjavik’s Hafnastraeti car park, “I have a treat for you. Candy!” She holds up a box of chunky-looking chocolate-covered Read More

Devil's Lake from the top

Studying the Ice Age at Devils Lake, Wisconsin

The difference could not be more stark than if I had flown to the moon. Less than a half an hour ago, I'd been dodging shrieking, laughing kids headed for waterpark fun in one of the many family-oriented resort-and-amusement parks of the Wisconsin Read More

'Roman Legionaries', Housesteads Fort

Following the Roman Legions Along Hadrian’s Wall

As I left the car park at the side of Cawfields Quarry, I was glad of the breeze, for the day promised to be hot. I followed the footpath along the pond’s edge, past the tall quarry face and gently uphill to the walls of Milecastle 42. The section of Read More

No Safety Rails on the Reservation

Sky-walking over the Grand Canyon

Not many bridges are in the shape of a horseshoe, which brings to mind the fact that most bridge engineers have not dealt with the problems of building one. And, most bridges aren’t see-through; they are usually constructed of metal, or, at the Read More

Viewing Atlantis (NASA/Kennedy Space Center)

On a Mission with Space Shuttle Atlantis

Every morning, I wake up looking at a Space Shuttle, a career space worker by my side. The model reminds John of his 33 years with the program. Where we dine with his parents, photographs of launches and astronauts grace the walls. When the sheriff's Read More

Sterling Hill Ore under ultraviolet lamps

Finding Fluorescence at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, New Jersey

A constant drip of water accompanies us as we follow our tour guide into the depths of an old zinc mine in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. It is pouring outside, so the occasional drips on us as we walk down the mine tunnels aren't a big deal. It's a little Read More

Seneca Rocks WV

Squeezing Through Stones in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia

Sitting on the deck of the Front Porch Restaurant, chowing down on a slice of pizza, I had a grandstand view of the rock climbers scrambling up above me. Distinctly tilted and sparkling in the summer sun, the 900 foot tall wall of quartzite has Read More

The Lone Swimmer

Swimming in Sacred Water: Semuc Champey of Guatemala

As I look down from the heights of El Mirador, the pools of Semuc Champey appear as expanses of turquoise set between limestone ridges. It occurs to me that El Mirador -- it means a viewpoint -- is a name far too common in Central America or, at the Read More

Beautiful tufa towers of Mono Lake. Photo by Yvette Cardozo.

Wandering The Tufa Towers Of Mono Lake

Years ago, I stopped at California’s Mono Lake on a bike trip. I was hot, tired and ready for the day to end. I briefly looked at the lake’s famous tufa mounds, felt the greasy, salt-laden water and left. I’ve always wanted to go back. And Read More

Children experience the force of nature with Pheena the fin whale (Credit: MCArnott)

Visiting the Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science with Children in California

Watching a turtle chomping on a strawberry is a far cry from inventing the idea of a cyclotron smashing particles. But they are both aspects of science, and as such, have a place at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California, located in the Read More

Looking up Glen Nevis

Following a Geological Trail in Scotland’s Glen Nevis

I’ve chosen the wrong companion for my geological time travel adventure: Like most girls of her age, the only type of rocks my daughter is interested in are the ones you find sparkling on the fingers of the Real Housewives of Orange County. "Get Read More

Cesar Manrique subterranean house Taro de Tahiche

Feeling the Heat of Lanzarote’s Volcanoes in Spain’s Canary Islands

With the toe of my boot, I scrape away a thin layer of coarse gravel and lean down to pick up a handful of the exposed pebbles. I let go immediately as they burn my fingers – the ground I walk on is too hot to handle. I shouldn’t be surprised, having Read More

Aurora Borealis, photo courtesy of Jill Browne

Chasing the Aurora Borealis in Bettles, Alaska

Deep in a sound sleep, I am awakened by footsteps running through the corridors outside and the urgent sound of doors slamming open. “Get up everyone! Everyone, outside!” Groggily, I look at my watch: 3 a.m. I roll over, not quite in the land of Read More

soufriere volcano

Exploring St. Lucia’s “Drive-in Volcano”

Let's get one thing straight: Sayin' don't make it so. The Caribbean Islands country of St. Lucia is a mountainous landscape of volcanic origin, and near the southern end of the island, tourists can visit what is billed as "the world's only drive-in Read More

The dream is to find one of these.

Sapphire Hunting in North Carolina at Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine

I’m covered in mud. It’s oozing up my boots, smeared on my shirt, and covering the seat of my pants. I’ve been swinging a mattock and digging holes in the side of this mountain all morning—and yes, I call this a vacation. If you’re a mineral Read More