3 Geeky Road Trip Destinations

In the Winter, I hate everyone and everywhere.  Seriously.  Stay away or be sliced up like a tauntaun.  I find Springtime, however, totally rad.  Warm weather inspires me to get up and get out... though it sometimes means I ask my boss for days off at the last minute (love you, Mindy!).  Impromptu adventures just rock, particularly road trips!

When was the last time you drove somewhere truly geeky?

I wanted to go on a geeky road trip of my own, so I purchased a brand-new book on US Star Wars filming locations.  ...It hasn't arrived yet.  I'll tell you if it's good.  In the meantime, I bring you my own trio of destinations for geeky getaways in March.

1. America's Playable Arcade Museum * McLean, IL - Classic arcades are rare these days.  McLean is an unlikely town for a gaming hub, but there you'll find dozens of classic machines being repaired and restored.  Most of what you'll find at the Playable Arcade Museum is accessible in Chicago.  However, the quality of the machines is exceptional (seen in this video), and the place has lots of rural charm.  It won't make a full trip on its own, but it's an easy jump off I-55 on your way to St. Louis for the City Museum, or as a detour en route to Peoria or Bloomington-Normal.  Don't forget your quarters!  (107 Hamilton St., McLean, IL.  $.25+)

courtesy of vintagearcadegames.com

2. The House on the Rock * Spring Green, WI - My parents took me to this bizarre spot when I was a kid.  I hated it. I mean, what kind of cruel people build the World's Largest Carousel and then don't let me ride it?  HMPH.  Architects.  As an adult, I see that House on the Rock has more to offer.  Neil Gaiman called it "a monument to kitsch and wonder and madness and uncertainty."  It's the setting for a pivotal chapter in his American Gods.  In the novel, the gods gather, ride the carousel, and are transported into the mind of Odin/"The All-Father."  A visit will deliver clear images from the book including the Mikado Room, automated instruments, and various coin-op theatrics.  Sound weird?  It is.  (5754 State Road, Spring Green, WI. $12.50+)

courtesy of houseontherock.com

3. The Game of Thrones Exhibition * Toronto, ON (Canada) -  Canada isn't that far away.  It's certainly close enough to justify a trip to the iron throne.  HBO Canada has collaborated with the Toronto International Film Festival for Game of Thrones: The Exhibition. It's an exhibit based on a TV show based on a book... and tickets are free.  I KNOW, RIGHT?  Other gems in the TIFF Lightbox include a dragon egg, stag-laden crown, never-before-seen Melisandre costume, and more.  The exhibition takes 45 minutes to get through, while the drive from Chicago is almost 9 hours.  The effort doesn't seem to matter to fans.  Full days are already booked up.  The display runs from today through March 18th; don't miss out on the fire and blood. (350 King St. W, Toronto, ON. FREE.  Call to reserve: 1-888-599-8433)

courtesy of torontoist.com

Well, then.  That yearly trip to grandma's cottage just isn't going to be enough anymore.

For more geeky destinations, check out this sweet map:  Nerdy Day Trips

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  • Love that you included the Game of Thrones exhibit - CHI is only a 45 min flight away! :)

  • In reply to Ree:

    Oh, perfect! I hadn't even though of taking a plane! ...Though I'd bet the trudging through security and waiting at the gate would make it a much longer endeavor. :)

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