The race for space isn’t over. Fiftty years ago, it was to the Moon, now it’s to Mars. So if you or your kid dreams of traveling to space, start with a bit of NASA history with a trip. Read on for where to see a NASA space shuttle.
Where to See a NASA Space Shuttle
As the mothership of the NASA Visitor Centers, Kennedy Space Center is a must. About an hour from Orlando, Kennedy Space Center offers the Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis along with a comprehensive history of the NASA space program.
Learn about the early days of the NASA space program. Then see a Saturn V rocket from the Apollo program’s race to the moon. Another must, learn about the Hubble Space Telescope.
Spend a few hours seeing the highlights or several days exploring all the exhibits, Kennedy Space Center might even ignite a lifetime passion for space exploration in your kids.
All new at the Kennedy Space Center, the Astronaut Training Experience. Yep, spend five hours training for the mission to Mars. Reservations and additional admission required.
Located on SR 405 in the Kennedy Space Center, parking is additional. Open every day at 9 a.m. and closing most days at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. during the summer. One-day adult admission (12+) is $57 and kids from 3 to 11 get a one-day ticket for $47. Military and senior discounts available.
As an active launch facility for equatorial orbit launches, check out the NASA.gov site for the upcoming launch schedule.
Intrepid Sea Land Space Museum in New York City
Discover the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise floating on an aircraft carrier on New York City’s Hudson River. Since it lacked engines and a functional heat shield it never flew in space. And it was launched from a modified Boeing 747 for testing.
Also at the Intrepid Sea Land and Space Museum find a British Airways Concorde on the deck of the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Intrepid. Then duck into the USS Growler, a submarine used as the missile command center.
Located at Pier 86 (W.46th St. at 11thAvenue) on New York City’s west side and open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Adult admission (13+) is $33 and kids (5 to 12) admission is $24.
California Science Center in Los Angeles
First see the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavor, learn about its final trip to the museum. Since the Space Shuttle orbiters were built in California, part of the exhibit focuses on the parts and people integral to the program.
With half of the facility dedicated to space exploration, the California Science Center offers a lots of aircraft to see in and around the facility. And inthe main building, find the Apollo-Soyuz command module. It docked with the Russian Soyuz aircraft in 1975.
Then see the Gemini 11 capsule from 1966. The Gemini mission bridged the gap from the Mercury missions to the Moon-bound Apollo missions.
Located at 700 Exposition Park Dr.Los Angeles and open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free, except for special exhibits and a $2 reserved ticket to see the Space Shuttle.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly Virginia
Since the main Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is filled to the rafters, head to Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to see the Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery. Located near Washington Dulles International Airport, kick off a Washington D.C. museum week at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
Find two hangars with aviation and space artifacts. And be sure and see the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Then check out a IMAX movie before heading up to the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower for a 360-degree view of Washington Dulles International Airport.
Located at 14390 Air and Space Parkway in Chantilly, Virginia, and open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It’s free to visit though pay for parking.