Houston, Texas is know for it’s sports teams, horrendous humidity and of course it’s contributions to space exploration. The Space Center Houston is an international tourist destination and should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list! Take a peek and plan your trip with these travel tips!
Having lived in Texas my entire life, I really never thought of Texas and the assortment of cities within it’s borders, of much of a travel destination. Sure, due to tight travel budgets, most of our family vacations growing up were in Texas, but I never really appreciated it because, to me, it was the same thing year after year.
However, now that I’m older, I have loved rediscovering these popular landmarks and tourist destinations and finding new hidden gems along the way. One place I remember visiting multiple times as a kid was the Space Center Houston. As a child I was obsessed with space and so this was a favorite vacation spot to visit.
Recently we visited the Space Center Houston (located in south east Houston, Texas) for the first time in years, and I was really able to appreciate this special tourist destination and all it has to offer!
Since this is such a popular Houston attraction, for both locals and out of towners, I recommend getting there as early as possible. Not only does this give you ample time to explore this massive museum (plan to give yourself at least 5-6 hours, or more if you plan to see ALL the documentaries and speaking engagements), it gives you the opportunity to explore before the crowds and lines get too big.
This space museum offers a wide range of activities suitable for space nerds of all ages. From a rare opportunity to dine with astronauts, to speaking engagements and presentations, to cutting-edge documentaries aired in the five-story-tall Space Center Theater, to special hands on exhibits (some available for only a limited time, like the current MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition); to my personal favorite- the tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center; the Space Center Houston is truly a fascinating and amazing place!
While we enjoyed all the sights and sounds, my favorite activity is the tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center! This tour gives guests an up close behind the scenes look at the 1,600 acre, Johnson Space Center. The outdoor tram tour (which could be delayed due to weather) visits the on site working government facilities, as well as historic Mission Control, which is where NASA monitored nine Gemini and all the Apollo missions, including the Apollo 11 trip to the moon.
In addition to being able to visit the Mission Control viewing room, the tram tour includes a stop at Rocket Park, where an actual Saturn V rocket is housed along with several other rockets. This stop on the tour gives guests the opportunity to walk around and view these rockets up close and personal.
Tram tour guides also provide fascinating facts along the way; like pointing out the building where NASA scientists have worked with celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Emeril Lagasse to test recipes to turn them into space food!
While tickets to the Space Center Houston can be expensive ($19.95 for kids 4-11 and $24.95 for adults 12-64) you can find discounts by signing up for the museum’s newsletter, picking up coupons at Houston-area stores and restaurants, or by buying a CityPass (an amazing deal if you will be vacationing in Houston for several days and want to check out other popular Houston-area attractions). Parking is located on site for a small fee; and while there are on site restaurants and gift shops, you can bring coolers and have a picnic lunch in an outdoor picnic area located in front of the museum.
Whether you are traveling to Houston from around the globe, or a Houstonian looking for a fun “staycation” the Space Center Houston provides hours of fun and a plethora of educational opportunities the entire family will enjoy!
For more information about Space Center Houston and to plan your trip, see below:
1601 Nasa Pkwy
Phone Number: (281) 244-2100
Hours: Mon-Sun: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm