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If you’re looking for a little hands-on education vacation, then visit Norway’s popular cities to explore their museums.

In Stavanger, visit the Jernaldergarden, a striking farmstead with period-dressed men and women who demonstrate day-to-day life during Stavanger’s Migration Period, which ran from around A.D. 350 to 550. Children can try their hand at making fire from steel and flint or at spinning wool on a spindle. The park also offers outdoor activities such as hiking and horseback riding.

For a little exercise, make the two-hour (one way) hike to Pulpit Rock, a natural rock formation that is a 82-square-foot plateau standing 1,892 feet above the sea. If the hike appears daunting, take a boat ride out to sea for terrific views from below.

Next, travel to the Mollebukta bay area to see the Swords in Rock monument — three 32-foot bronze swords stand as a tribute to the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872, after which King Harald I Hårfagre united the three districts of Norway into one kingdom. The swords are planted in solid rock to represent peace.

To warm up, head to the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, where you can learn how oil and gas were formed millions of years ago and how it is now collected. Interactive exhibits give visitors a glimpse of life on an oil platform in the North Sea.

Exploration of Trondheim should begin about 10 miles outside the city at the Ringve Estate, home to the Ringve National Museum. The museum, located in the manor house, has collections of music and musical instruments from around the world. Surrounding the museum is the Ringve Botanical Gardens, complete with historical herb gardens and an English landscape-styled park.

Journey back into the city and stop at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and browse the collections of furniture, silver, textiles and more.

Back in the city, visit the Trondelag Folk Museum, comprised of mini-museums with both open-air and indoor exhibits. The open-air museum shows how the people of Trondheim have lived over the centuries. Children and adults alike may enjoy trying to make a phone call using the hands-on exhibits at the Norwegian Telecom Museum, one of the mini-museums.

The Maritime Museum includes exhibits of models, figureheads, maritime instruments and more. Of special interest are objects recovered from the Pearl, a frigate that sank in 1781.

— Compiled from travel Web sites


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