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Learn about science out of the classroom

You can visit a science museum when you're vacationing, or you can visit the Pacific Science Center right here at home, and take a stroll through their tropical butterfly garden. ( Photo/File)

It may be back to school time, but that doesn’t mean education is limited to the classroom. The key is to skip the passive museums and go for hands-on learning.

At the California Science Center, the big draw right now is the space shuttle Endeavor, where it’s now on permanent display.

But it’s not just about viewing the shuttle. There are other hands-on exhibits that are totally hands-on, like learning about ecosystems or the physics of earthquakes.

In Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center has its piece of history with a Cold War-era submarine out front.

But the interactive stuff is in the largest permanent robotics exhibition in the world.

And while it’s not exactly hands-on, the miniature train exhibit is totally worth seeing – it’s 90 years old and a complete replica of the city back at the turn of the century.

In St. Louis, the science center is enormous, so don’t try to cram everything into one day.

We’re talking everything from a dinosaur dig site to digital animation. And if you plan ahead, don’t miss out on the robot building contests … where the robots are made entirely out of Lego kits.

Of course if you want to enjoy some hands on science in your backyard, you can visit the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

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