Newton, MA —When we asked Design News' readers last July where engineers like to spend high-tech vacations, the breadth of the responses couldn't be anticipated. While there was no runaway winner, some trends were apparent on where you folk like to play and learn at the same time.
At the top of the pile in a statistical dead heat were Walt Disney World/Epcot, Hoover Dam, and the Experimental Aircraft Association annual AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, WI. Close behind were the Kennedy Space Center and the German National Museum of Technology in Munich.
Reader Glenn Whiteside said that, like many other engineers, he likes deducing how things work, and at Disney, "You're figuring out how they 'imagineered' all the neat rides—how they are actuated and controlled—and what cool additions you could make!" And it's a good place to show kids how things work. At Hoover Dam, "You feel the floor shaking and see 36-inch turbine shafts spinning," noted Jack Riley. "Better yet, it was really cheap," he adds.
Finally at Oshkosh, Mark Call related, "Where else can you see much of the entire history of aviation; listen to Burt Rutan (former Design News Engineer of the Year), Chuck Yeager, and astronauts; and see the 'toys' that make our fantasies come alive."
Other spots mentioned by readers for technology getaways included: Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, drag racing, railroad excursions, the Soo Locks in Michigan, Bavarian breweries, light- houses, Coalbrookdale, England (where the Industrial Revolution started), Long Beach, CA Liberty ship cruises, and the Dog Collar Museum in England (where else?).
But the largest response, slightly greater than our top choices, was from those of you who prefer to decouple from work, taking low tech vacations or camping trips, albeit with some high-tech gear such as GPS systems.