4. If you can, try to do both tours. Currently, the Red Tour takes you to the Astronaut Training Facility where you can see a mock-up of the International Space Station (above) and space vehicles for astronauts to train on (you can actually see this happening at times).
The Blue Tour takes you to Mission Control, the historic room that brought Apollo 13 back home, cheered as a man stepped on the moon for the first time, and watched in desperation when the Challenger exploded. This by far was my favorite part of the entire day. The guide does an excellent job of pointing out all the important and notable features in the room.
Additionally, both tours take you to the Saturn V facility. Inside, you can walk the entire length of one of three surviving vehicles built to launch American astronauts to the moon. It is massive and again, you stare at it in wonder, knowing it is a National Treasure.
If you did take both tours, you can just stay on the tram the second time, not get off to see the Saturn V facility, and head back to the Space Center. Both Tram tours are excellent, and depending on what you wanted to see and time you had, you can certainly skip one. But only one. A visit to Space Center Houston is not the same without a tram tour.
5. Starship Gallery Museum is a Must See. Your tour begins with a very touching movie that dips a toe in the history of the space program – it was perfect for all three of my kiddos. The actual museum houses amazing artifacts such as Gemini 5, the Apollo 17 Command Module, and a Skylab Training module that you can walk through and experience what living in space would be like. The highlight of the museum for most of the kids is the chance to touch a piece of the moon.
6. Not all the Shows Need to Be Seen. As I have a 3 year old, we were not able to see all of the shows. We were able to choose the ones that interested us and tried to make it work with the time schedule (see Tip 1 and 2). We did see a fantastic presentation on the Mars rover, Curiosity, that held my kids attention for the first 15 minutes or so. I was fascinated by it, of course. You have to remember who you are there for and try to do the activities that work for everyone.
7. Relax and take a break from the science at the Kids Space Place. My son had his eye on this 5 story play place ever since we walked in and patiently waited to get to play here. By the time we did, everyone needed time to run & play. What I loved the most was the bleachers set up right across the entrance to it for weary parents to rest.
At the time (after lunch), it seemed to be full of bigger kids and with adults not allowed, this can be a problem for the smaller ones. Luckily my daughter loves to play Big Sis and played the entire time with my little one.
The Kids Space Place also contains a lot of fun, hands-on activities, such a weight-lifting on different planets, driving a rover on Mars, and building a rocket. It was a great time for the kids to run and get some energy out.
8. Bring a stroller for the little ones, as there can be a lot of walking. I always like to bring it, as I can store all my stuff……
9. Bring snacks. The food court does have a lot to choose from, but it is pricy for just a piece of pizza. You are better off eating small snacks and then heading over to the Kemah Boardwalk for dinner.
10. Don’t rush it. Let the kids explore what interests them. There is so many hands-on things for the kids to do here, from shuttle simulators to seeing how astronauts live in space. I ended up following them at their pace. There was so much to see and do and touch, that they never ran through any of the exhibits. If the plan from Tip number 2 falls through and you don’t get to see everything, it’s ok. Let the kids guide the way here.
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