August 21, 2017

We Have Liftoff: 8 Museums for Space-Crazed Kids

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The final space shuttle may have launched earlier this month, but there’s still plenty of interactive exhibits and artifacts, including satellites, rockets and even a real-life space shuttle, on display at museums nationwide for your space-crazed kids to enjoy. Take a look at eight museums worth checking out to learn about how far our space program has come and where it’s going in the future.

  • Armstrong Air & Space Museum (Ohio): Named to honor the accomplishments of Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the moon, this museum chronicles Ohio’s contributions to the history of space flight. On display you’ll find the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Apollo 11 artifacts, space suits and a moon rock.
  • Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center: Located in Hutchinson, KS, visitors can see satellites, such as Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2, as well as the Titan rocket, which was used to launch astronauts into space during America’s second manned space program. Enjoy the IMAX theatre, as well as the Justice Planetarium, which is currently running Night Sky Live. Also take time out for the live rocket show with demonstrations of early experiments with liquid fueled rocket engines.
  • Kennedy Space Center (Florida): Space Shuttle Atlantis may have had its final launch here last week, but there’s still plenty in store for you at the Kennedy Space Center, including monthly rocket launches. Just one hour east of Orlando, take in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, check out a 3D IMAX space film and sit in on a Q&A session with a real-life astronaut. The Lunch with an Astronaut program is another great way to give your kids a one-of-a-kind experience and learn more about space travel.
  • New Mexico Museum of Space History: Located in Alamogordo, NM, you and your family can enjoy exhibitions that range from early rocket experiments to a mock-up of the International Space Station. See the Apollo program’s Little Joe II rocket and take in an IMAX movie and planetarium show called 9 Planets and Counting. The International Space Hall of Fame commemorates great achievements in the exploration of space.
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum (California): Enjoy a special exhibition called Space: A Journey to Our Future, which takes a look back at the history of aeronautics and examines the future of the space exploration. You and your kids will be able to build a futuristic space rocket, create a mission to Mars, touch moon meteorites and rocks from Mars, and experience dozens of interactive space exhibits.
  • Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum (Washington, DC): One of the most popular museums in Washington, DC, you and your kids will find the largest collection of historic spacecraft in the world. Check out the Apollo 11 command module Columbia and even a lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. Enjoy the Albert Einstein Planetarium, which presents two shows daily: Cosmic Collisions and The Stars Tonight. You’ll also find several exhibitions on lunar and planetary exploration.
  • Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center (Virginia): Located less than 45 minutes from the National Air & Space Museum, you’ll find hundreds of famous spacecrafts, rockets, satellites and space-related artifacts, including the Space Shuttle Enterprise in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar.  You can also enjoy flight simulators and an IMAX film on the journey of the Hubble Space Telescope missions.
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Alabama): Located in Huntsville (home of Space Camp), you and your family can experience one of the most comprehensive U.S. manned space flight museums. See a fully-restored Saturn V rocket, as well as a newly designed exhibit for the Apollo 16 capsule Casper and a moon rock brought back from Apollo 12. For older kids, there is a G-Force Accelerator, which simulates weightlessness. The Mission to Mars motion-based simulator is also worth checking out.

For more on space exploration, you and your kids can enjoy these fun learning pages on the NASA website. What’s your favorite space museum?

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