If you are interested in America’s space program, you can’t miss a visit to Space Center Houston! Located only 30 minutes’ drive away from Bay RV Park, the space center has plenty on offer for visitors. It’s also the visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center, the home of Mission Control for NASA space launches. And it’s where astronauts receive their training before heading into orbit!
The center is owned and operated by Manned Space Flight Educational Foundation and offers science education programs and a fantastic space museum. The Foundation is committed to providing a fun and educational experience so everyone can learn more about the history of space travel.
About Space Center Houston
Since opening in 1992, Space Center Houston has welcomed over 22 million visitors. Each year around 1.25 million people visit the sprawling educational complex, and it is Houston’s most popular tourist destination, regularly attracting tourists from all over the world.
Before the site officially opened, many of NASA’s famous artifacts and models were displayed in the Johnson Space Center employee auditorium. As a result, they formed the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation to provide a world-class facility for the public to visit. Their focus was to provide a place where people could visit and learn about space travel, including exploring well-known artifacts and models on display.
The goal was to design a unique educational center that appeals to a wide range of visitors, regardless of how much you know about space travel. Today’s center offers a range of exhibits, live shows, and hands-on activities, making it a fun and educational experience for all ages.
History of NASA Johnson Space Center
The Johnson Space Center has been a world leader in space flight for NASA for over 40 years, witnessing some of the most iconic and well-known space missions in the U.S.
The first flight ever controlled at the space center was Gemini IV, followed by the world-famous Apollo program, the first successful landing of men on the Moon in 1969. Visiting the center provides a unique experience to be part of history. Imagine the Mission Control team hearing, “Houston, the Eagle has landed.” Followed by “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon’s surface.
Since then, the Johnson Space Center has been the epicenter of America’s space flight program. Today, it’s the training base for U.S. astronauts. Every single NASA astronaut and other international space explorers from partner countries who have flown to the International Space Station has trained at Johnson Space Center. It’s also the site for countless scientific experiments, development, and research into human space flight activities.
Things to see and do
Space Center Houston offers a massive range of exhibits, experiences, and educational programs. Here are some of our top recommendations for you to explore during your visit:
NASA Tram Tour
One of the center’s most popular attractions, the tram tour is included in the admission price to Space Centre Houston. You’ll just need to download your boarding pass using the Space Center app or visit the guest services desk.
The tour gives you the chance to visit the NASA Johnson Space Center to get up and close to the action of human space exploration. The Johnson Space Centre is the site of America’s Mission Control Centre, where flight controllers help support our astronauts in space.
You’ll be able to visit a range of different locations on the tram tour, including:
•Astronaut Training Facility tour: an elevated pathway allows you to see where NASA astronauts train, along with viewing NASA scientists working on the next generation of space exploration.
•George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park: visit this park to witness only three of the remaining actual Saturn V rockets displayed. Also, don’t miss the new Apollo 13 bronze statue on display.
•Mission Control: you can’t miss a visit to the famous Mission Control, where the NASA team led the first lunar landing mission.
The last tour departs at 3 pm, and hours are seasonal because of the weather. Check out the details before your visit.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Exhibit
This exhibit allows you to get up close to reusable rockets, widely recognized as the future of space travel. NASA’s Space Shuttle Program has made the concept of reusable spacecraft into reality, making space travel far more accessible. It’s this program that helped to create the International Space Station.
The creation of reusable rockets as part of SpaceX has proven that reusable rockets can launch, land, and even reuse a rocket stage. This exhibit is well worth a visit to learn how this innovative program makes space travel more accessible. Entry to the exhibition is included in your general admission price.
If you’re interested in seeing what astronauts wear in space, then a visit to this exhibit is a must stop on your visit! Home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of astronaut apparel and spacesuits, you can see the various suits used in training astronauts, to those worn in some of NASA’s most well-known space excursions.
Space Center U®
If you or your kids have ever thought about becoming an astronaut, then Space Center U® can offer you a real taste of what it’s like to explore space. The program runs over multiple days and is available year-round to either individuals or group bookings. It’s a challenging program that aims to develop problem-solving, communication, and engineering solutions to problems you are likely to face in space. Unfortunately, availability is limited, so sign up early if you’re interested in participating in this truly unique opportunity.
Depending on the time of year you visit, the center typically offers a range of special events, ranging from meeting astronauts to becoming a scientist in one of the center’s educational experiences. You can also experience the galaxy lights, a light show held every Christmas holiday. Look at their website to see what’s happening when visiting.
Location, opening times, and entry fees
Open from 10 am to 5 pm daily most days. The center has some seasonal hours, so it’s a good idea to check out their website before you visit.
Tickets are available to be purchased online before your visit and are free for children under three. Prices are:
Children (ages 4-11) – $24.95
Adult (ages 12 & older) – $29.95
Senior (ages 65 & older) – $27.95
With so much to see and do at Space Center Houston, we’re sure you’ll find plenty worth exploring!