Unique Educational Vacation Ideas
The Greenbrier Resort
Tour a Top Secret Underground Bunker
The Greenbrier restort sits on top of a gigantic former nuclear shelter. After the shelter was exposed by the Washington Post in 1992, the facility was converted into a public museum and vacation attraction.
Both the resort and the bunker are luxurious-- the spot was designed to accomodate high ranking government officials in the event of a nuclear bomb being dropped over Washington D.C. Twenty three U.S. Presidents have stayed at the Greenbrier, and the resort is spread out over 6,500 well groomed acres. The most expensive dinner options are served on 24-karat-gold vermeil. Prices vary from around $250 to several thousand dollars per night, depending on what options you select.
The ritzy exterior or the resort and the fact that it's tucked away in an out-of-the-way location in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia allowed the facility to exist in secret for over thirty years. It was able to accomodate 1,100 people and was fully equipped with 25 ton blast doors, decontamination chambers, a water purification plant with three 25,000 gallon water storage tanks, a television production area as well as a clinic, pharmacy, intensive care unit and a cafeteria. Tours are offered daily and both the general public and guests of the resort can sign up.
The Greenbrier currently has a four star Yelp rating. Several reviewers of the resort said that they "became bored there after a while." There also seems to have been a little bit of resentment about the extremely fancy decor, but overall everyone seemed very pleased with the service. Those who weren't put off by it were incredibly impressed by the general opulence of the resort and surrounding area.
Learn How to Sail
If you want to test your mettle on the ocean and learn something new in the process, check out the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands. The Bitter End Club has a variety of options for prospective vacationers, but if you want to learn some skills a you'll need to check out their comprehensive adventure package options.
Be aware that this vacation option is pricey. The adventure package options require vacationers to select the "Admiral's Package," which means that you'll be required to stay at least seven days in order to do the adventure package excursions. Depending on when you go and where you stay, the Admiral's Package costs anywhere from $3,850 to $19,600.
In addition to sailing classes, vacationers at Bitter End can also learn how to scuba dive and windsurf. If you just want to enjoy the scenery, choose the powerboat adventure option and explore the islands for yourself or take advantage of the famous fishing spots around the resort.
After 195 reviews, Bitter End has an outstanding 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor. The resort is sprawled out over a wide area, so be prepared for a little bit of walking. Also, some vacationers didn't like the retro 1970s decor. Some reported that a few of the budget hotel suites had A/C problems. You get what you pay for-- but if you're there to learn, those things shouldn't be much of a problem.
Originally a world famous gambling resort, in 1998 South African hotel magnate and Atlantis founder Sol Kerzner decided to try rebuild Paradise Island and turn it into a resort location themed after the legendary sunken island, Atlantis. The Atlantis resort became one of the most luxurious vacation spots in the world. The best rooms cost up to $25,000 per night but don't worry-- special deals listed on Atlantis's website make this option affordable for families and middle class travelers as well.
At Atlantis, you'll enjoy access to the world's largest open air marine zoo. The exhibits are designed to resemble tunnels and thoroughfares that could have existed on the legendary lost continent. There's no better way to learn about lionfish, piranhas, jellyfish, and eels than to get a direct view of them yourself. You'll also be able to reach out and touch some of the fish. At the interactive touch tank aquarium, visitors are encouraged to touch the conch, starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and crabs. During the Behind the Myth tour, you'll also be invited to touch a shark. You'll also understand what it's like to care for sick fish during a trip to the fish hospital. If you or your family members have any interested possibly becoming a marine biologist, Atlantis is a must see.
Atlantis is maintaining a four star rating on Trip Advisor, which is impressive given the fact that over 800 people have posted reviews. The main complaint seems to be about the high price and disappointing service. If you get a good deal and go to learn about the fish, however, odds are that you'll enjoy your stay.
Hawaii is famous as the birthplace of the sport of surfing, but it's also known for its year-round temperatures that rarely exceed 90 degrees or dip below 65 degrees.
Oahu Nature Tours has something to offer to everyone. There are 13 different options for touring Oahu, including a tour of the only Royal Palace in the United States, a walk inside a rainforest, a look at actual flowing lava and a shark cage adventure. If you want to get sample a little of everything, choose the Natural Highlights of Oahu Adventure.
At the time of this writing, Oahu Nature Tours has a very high rating on both Trip Advisor and Yelp. It's hard to find any negative commentary about Oahu Nature Tours on review sites. The only trip option that seems to have generated negative reviews is the Manoa Waterfall Adventure, and only because some of the older reviewers were disappointed by the quick pace of the tour and had complaints about the slickness of the trail.