Being a Baby Boomer and growing up during the space age, one of my bucket list items was to visit the NASA Space Center in Houston, TX. Joan and I were staying at the Livingston, TX Escapees Park and I couldn’t wait to make the trip and my expectations were rewarded. I’ll save a recap of the history of the center and all the details. You can view that at your leisure from the link above. We spent around 5 hours at the Center and the experience was greater than expected.
When you arrive at the center, you’re welcomed with the shuttle replica of the Independence, mounted on top of the historic and original Boeing 747, NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. There was no doubt you have arrived. Unfortunately, we were one day early from the opening of the aircraft, but we still had so much to see.
The center is chocked full of exhibits and videos including a wide array of space suites from the early days of the program to current, incredible videos and more. One of the highlights is a video presentation of past and current space efforts on the largest screens I’ve ever experienced. The visual experience was spectacular. Of course there’s a gift shop with tons of item to memorialize the visit.
But, the big show is the tour. Boarding one of the trollies, we were first taken to the historic Mission Control Center used during the Apollo age. Visitors are lead to the VIP room and given a short presentation of the Center and its past. You sit looking through the glass windows and soon realize this is where Presidents and the astronaut’s families sat during many of the missions. The equipment in the center was from the period, not fancy by today’s standards, but provided a friendly reminder of a past not that far away. This was also used in a number of scenes from the movie Apollo 13. A couple of days later, Joan and I watched the movie comparing mental notes from the tour. This was such an incredible treat to view this amazing contribution to America’s race to space.
The tour continued to the Mock-up and Training lab. This location contains one of each of the current or future devices used in space. The center is the size of several football fields and contains an impressive amount of US, European and Soviet craft. You walk along the top of the lab with ample time to view and take pictures.
We completed the tour visiting Space Park. The visual experience was amazing. You walk into a large building containing a complete Saturn rocket lying sideways with a space capsule and escape tower at the top end. I don’t have the exact size of this engineering marvel, but it’s safe to say this thing was several football fields in length. You can watch the History Channel and see the launches from the past, but there’s no way to understand the sheer size of a rocket until you walk around the park and I was amazed this thing could fly.
If you’re interested in the space program, young and old alike will have a great experience.
As always, I love RV life,