One of the coolest things we did while staying in Galveston was visit the Johnson Space Center. It was totally worth the hour drive and $30 admission price. It is a must see in our opinion.
We got there an hour after the 10 a.m. opening time and stayed almost until it closed for the day. When we first got there, we were just in time for a roughly 15 minute video about the history of space travel. You could skip the video if you wanted, but I thought it was worth watching to give us a base for what we about to see that day. (Shout out to the people who came in halfway through and proceeded the talk amongst themselves the whole time. 😐 )
After the movie, we went to an area dedicated to the apollo program. It included some of the actual spacecraft that flew as part of the program as well as many other artifacts and memorabilia from the astronauts. We particularly enjoyed a couple videos in the exhibit narrated by Apollo Astronaut Gene Cernan, who was the last man to walk on the Moon. We were saddened to find out he recently passed away since our visit to the museum.
That afternoon, we took a tram ride, which is included in the cost of admission. In contrast to the 75 degree weather we had the day before, it was only a high of 45 that day, not ideal for taking an open air tram ride.
We were glad that we went ahead and did it though, because the tram took us onto NASA’s campus and into the Mission Control building, which was one of the highlights of the day. The room we saw used to run mission control for the Space Shuttle shuttle program. It is currently a training room until the new Mars missions start. On a couple of the monitors we did get to see a live video feed of mission control for the International Space Station.
The second stop on the tram was the Saturn V Rocket. It was amazing to see the scale of the it. The rocket is housed inside and laying on its side, but if it were upright, it would be over 36 stories tall! We took our time walking around the Saturn V and stopped for a couple of photo opportunities with some of the rockets displayed outside of that building.
When we returned from the tram tour, we took advantage of the food court inside the Space Center. It was about what you would expect from a museum food court. We ate our chicken tenders and fries and tried to get warm after being out on that cold ride around the Space Center campus.
Another cool part attraction in the museum is the replica of the shuttle Independence mounted on top of the original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft, a Boeing 747. The scale of both is enormous, but it is especially a sight to see with the shuttle mounted atop the plane. It is the first thing you see from the parking lot, but once inside you can tour the inside of both the orbiter replica and the airplane.
We spent a little time in the gift shop picking out some souvenirs then toured the International Space Station exhibit. This exhibit was nice, but didn’t contain nearly as much information or artifacts as some of the older programs since it is still active. Before leaving, we went into the onsite movie theatre and watched a film about NASA’s plans for the mission to Mars. After that, we had seen nearly all of the museum, so we headed out in search of dinner.
We decided to extend our time in the Houston. On the recommendation of a friend, we tried out Goode Company BBQ. It was a little bit of a trek from the Space Center, but it gave us an opportunity to tour a little bit of the city. We thought the food was ok, but the restaurant had a cool atmosphere. It was a long day, and we were pretty tired by the time we had finished dinner.
As we stated earlier, if you are ever in the Houston area, the Johnson Space Center is a must-do activity that can be enjoyed by all.