The old Sputniks and Apollos in the National Air and Space Museum vividly recall the dangerous Russian-American space race. Elsewhere children discover how Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis got off the ground, while 3D films on flight and space take everyone out of this world.
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Like Cairo itself, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum is crowded, chaotic and full of treasures. Arrive early for a leisurely look at the solid gold coffin and bejewelled funeral mask of the boy king Tutankhamen. Buy a catalogue or hire a guide to identify the mummified pharaohs.
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The huge science park, Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie at La Villette in the north of Paris, is an attention-grabbing adventure for the whole family. Serious science becomes everyday fun when you’re weightless, exploring the Argonaute submarine and walking with dinosaurs in a 3D film.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is grand, palatial and full of elegantly displayed masterpieces. Dip into its great collections, then visit the Met’s uptown branch. The Cloisters is a medieval oasis in the fast-paced city.
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The people who shaped this young nation inspire the National Museum of Australia. Its distinctly different mix ranges from sublime Aboriginal art to the frankly odd. One of the most popular exhibits is the heart of the beloved Australian racehorse Phar Lap.
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Take advantage of the British Museum’s late opening hours to see blockbusters like the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon at your own pace. Then wander through galleries stuffed with arms and armour, Hittite gold jewellery and African masks and marvel at man’s ingenuity and artistry.
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Enter the towering Meridian Gate of Beijing’s Forbidden City and ahead of you lies the enormous palace which housed the great Chinese imperial court. Take a day to walk through 600 years of Chinese history, art and architecture watched by thousands of gilded and red decorative dragons.
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The restored, vibrantly colored frescoes by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel alone make the Vatican Museums a must-see for millions of visitors. Give yourself time to see the vast riches collected by generations of popes.
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The largest collection of ancient Mexican treasures in the world makes the National Anthropological Museum a one-stop visual feast. Take in thousands of years of temples, tombs and stone carvings that the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs produced until the Europeans destroyed their world.
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Hindu stone gods, delicate Chinese porcelain and grainy photographs of colonial life vie for your attention in the Asian Civilisations Museum. After a visit you’ll feel more at home in multiethnic Singapore.
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