This post on Space Center Houston is courtesy of our contributor Sharon of Dream Travel Magazine…It’s a destination in the hearts and minds of most children and a must-see when visiting the Houston area. Space Center Houston is an educational center and space museum filled with attractions meant to educate and inspire the next generation of space travellers.
With so much to do and see, planning a day at Space Center Houston can become daunting. The big question: How to fit it all into one day? Space Center Houston is the only way to get into the actual NASA Johnson Space Center and by arriving early and planning ahead – you can make the most of all the tours and attractions.
Space Center Houston Highlights:
The NASA Tram Tour
This is by far the most popular attraction at Space Center Houston. The tour is the only way to see some behind-the-scenes activity at NASA Johnson Space Center. There are different tram tour destinations so be sure to check the signs when loading to see which NASA locations will be featured.
The tram will also take you to Rocket Park where you can see the Saturn V Rocket. Visits to working NASA facilities, like mission control, may be subject to availability so to avoid disappointments wait until the day of the tour to tell your kids exactly what they are going to see at Johnson Space Center.
One of the most facinating aspects of my own visit to Space Center Houston was seeing the magnitude of the Space Shuttle sitting atop the Boeing Carrier Plane. Then I learned the shuttle and boeing replica was actually open to the public and we could go inside for a tour.
Plan to spend at least an hour and half just touring Independence Plaza. There are scheduled walk through times and tours in both the shuttle and plane which a special timed ticket will give you, or you can just walk through at your own pace. There are lots of interactive displays and educational tools inside both the shuttle and the Boeing which your kids will want to play with.
Kids Space Place
This area of Space Center Houston is specifically catered to younger children with many hands-on activities and educational exhibits. Don’t worry, there are plenty of activities for the adults too that will keep you busy.
Part of the main museum building at Space Center Houston is the Starship Gallery exhibit. This is where most of the space artifacts are located including the popular moon rock which you can touch.
Walk through interesting exhibits including the massive Skylab Trainer Module. Inside displays show how astronauts trained for life in space. There are also several spacecrafts on display in this exhibit including: Gemini V, Faith 7 and Apollo 17.
Inside the main museum is also a tribute to a collection of astronaut spacesuits. It is fascinating to see the development of their uniforms and spacesuits over time. Be sure to keep an eye out for a box just outside the gallery which has some space uniforms both adults and kids can wear for a photo opportunity.
Tips for Planning Your Day at Space Center Houston:
- Take time to plan your day: Use the website to select the activities that will be the most exciting for your kids based on their age. You won’t be able to see all the attractions in one day so pick the ones that are most interesting for your kids.
- Avoid wait times by arriving when they open and planning a visit mid-week vs on the weekend. Purchase a timed ticket to avoid lines if visiting during peak hours.
- Do the Tram Tour first thing in the morning as it is the most popular attraction at the center.
- Bring snacks for the kids and pack a lunch in a cooler and leave it in the car. There are picnic tables outside where you can sit with the kids and eat vs eating in the food court.
Saving on Tickets for Space Center Houston
Be on the lookout for ways you can save on your Space Center Houston tickets. CAA or AAA member can get a $5 discount on tickets.
If you are going to be visiting many Houston attractions during your visit, consider purchasing a CityPass which will get you 48% off admission to Space Center Houston and four more Houston attractions which include: Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo OR Museum of Fine Arts and Houston Children’s Museum OR Kemah Boardwalk All-Day Ride Pass. The CityPass booklet of admission tickets if valid for 9 days from the first date of use.
Travel assistance provided by Visit Houston. All opinions expressed are those of the author.
Space Center Houston is also one of the attractions included in the CityPass Houston Ticket program. For one price you get access to 5 attractions within the city of Houston Texas for a period of 9 days.
Sharon Mendelaoui is a freelance travel writer, passionate photographer and creative designer. She is the founder and publisher of Dream Travel Magazine, an online travel site filled with dream trips, hotel and product reviews, travel tips and inspiration to travel. Follow Sharon’s latest adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!