Visitors to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will experience Huntsville's role in the making of the moon rocket, the space race, the Apollo missions, learn about the Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station and NASA's future missions.
We could not miss a stop at the US Space and Rocket Center while visiting Huntsville! It is the Rocket City, after all! My two boys (5.5 yrs and 21 months) and I were given a personal guided tour of the museum. It was a quick tour, only about 45 minutes, but we were able to see the highlights. We enjoyed ourselves, but it was difficult for my older son to understand that we were on a tour and could not stop and touch everything! He is a space addict! I could see coming back and spending an entire day at this museum!
We entered through a HUGE gift shop. The gift shop is filled with all-things-space-related! This is an adventure in itself!
I noticed there was an IMAX theater here. While we didn’t see a movie, you might want to add this to your to-do list while visiting.
The first building, which is where they sold tickets, included a temporary art display by children of military personnel. My kids were not that interested, but as an Army BRAT, I was very touched. We also played with some hands-on exhibits here like blocks and collapsible building structures. Our guide indicated they were parts of another temporary exhibit about architecture.
We moved out of this building to the outside yard: Rocket Park. There were GIGANTIC rockets displayed here, a total of 27 in all. There is also a centrifuge and additional rides for adults and kids.
From there we moved to the second building, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. We noticed a few hands-on exhibits on the main level, but quickly made our way to the second floor to see the Saturn V rocket – one of only three in the world. I was blown away by the size of this rocket! My oldest, who understands the basics of a rocket, was not able to fully grasp that this was a real rocket. It was so large, especially for him, that it didn’t seem like it could be real!
There were a great deal of other exhibits in this hall. My boys huddled in a replica space capsule, felt the thrill of the shake and sound of the rocket boosters from a take off, saw a *real* moon rock and return capsule, and peered into a replica of the first US space station…even asking questions about the work out equipment on board!
We left the Davidson Center and went back into the first building, in a section usually blocked off. Here we got a glimpse of kids in Space Camp, and the activities they enjoy. There is camp for kids, adults, and family camps too! Definitely something we want to come back for once the boys are older.
Finally, we went to Shuttle Park to see the world’s only fully-stacked space system, complete with rocket boosters, shuttle, and external tanks! What a sight!
THOUGHTS ON AGES
My oldest is almost 6 yr old. I don’t think he would have enjoyed it as much if he weren’t already a space-lover. There were a number of things to hold his attention, but much more that he could not appreciate. I would say that without a genuine space interest, you might want to wait until your kids are a little older before bringing them. My gut tells me that middle school (and older) is the sweet spot for this museum.
This is a top-quality space museum with so much to offer! The history (and the future) of space exploration can be found here. I was in awe at the number of one-of-a-kind exhibits. We want to return to the Space and Rocket Center to explore more thoroughly, but in our short overview, we all gave it two thumbs up and a big high-five!
I received a complimentary tour from the US Space and Rocket Center in order to give you the scoop. As always, this review is honest and completely my own.
Our girls were perhaps on the young side when we visited (4 and 7), but they still thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits. There is a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities, and since the weather is warm in Alabama, you can enjoy the outdoor exhibits most of the year. I especially loved seeing the large rocket on display, as well as the actual artifacts from previous space voyages. My girls were most interested in the monkeys who were the first mammals in space. (Hint: ask an attendant where to find the gravesite for the aforementioned monkeys. It's hard to find on your own, but it was a bit of an obsession with my kiddos.) While we were there, they were also hosting a "space buggy" competition, where science students from around the country built and raced their buggies--super fun to watch!
This is a large museum/center that focuses on Space Exploration. While my young children don't find the historical space exploration part the of center all that interesting they love the areas that have rockets to look at, touch and explore. They have recently added a small play area for kids that was a hit with my boys. There is a outdoor area that has some rides and play areas for older and younger kids. I say this is a definite stop for those with little explorers.
This museum is huge and has so much to see. There are two buildings, outdoor displays, rides, activities, a little cafe, and an imax theater. It takes at least three hours to go through if you don't stop for a movie. It is for older kids and adults, but there are some great activities for little kids as well. There are two play areas only for kids under 48 inches that my three-year-old loves. Even if you aren't a space enthusiast, it is fascinating.
My kids are still 3 year old and 2 year old so it's not their kind of a place to visit. If you have teenage kids, I bet they will love it. However, they still have pre-school play areas both inside and outside. They have indoor exhibits as much as they have outside "amusement park" rides. The admission is expensive for both adult and kids; however, it worth to see those rockets and their histories.