Have you ever gotten wicked excited over something you thought would just be okay, and then it made your day? Well, that was my experience with Space Center Houston. The space center was somewhere I wanted to go while in the area but it wasn’t at the top of my list. Lets be honest, meeting JJ Watt was (didn’t happen, sadly). Because the space center is 30-45 minutes outside of Houston depending on where you’re staying, it wasn’t our biggest priority. After doing some research once we were settled in, we decided it was well worth it to spend the money, rent a car and just go! In hindsight, this might have been one of the best decisions of the whole trip, and we did a lot of awesome stuff in both San Antonio and Dallas.
So, what do you need to know about the Space Center? Keep reading to see my full guide for how to spend your day at the Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
The Space Center Houston, as I mentioned, is a little ways away from Houston. It’s about a 30-45 minute drive depending on where in Houston you’re coming from. We had no car while we were there so we opted to rent a vehicle for the day. You could easily take a cab but it’d probably cost you a pretty penny. Even Uber was estimating about $45 round trip. It was easier to spend the $100 for the car for the day and then be free to explore everywhere else in the city we couldn’t easily get to on public transportation.
Tickets and Hours:
Adult tickets: $29.95 / Kids 4-11 $24.95 / Seniors $27.95
Alternatively, if you’ll be in Houston for longer than a day and plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, I highly recommend grabbing a CityPASS. Those are $59 for adults / $49 for kids 3-11
The hours vary depending on what time of year it is and whether or not it’s a weekday or a weekend. I highly suggest checking the website before you go. I’d aim to arrive as soon as they open for the day, it really helped save us some time in lines.
I still can’t get over how a space shuttle flew on top of an airplane. That’s insane. Now that the space shuttle is retired you can go in both! There are a lot of awesome interactive pieces in the airplane but my favorite part was how it’s all focused on education. There are so many things that show all the different types of careers there are and really encourages kids to explore those so that they can one day work at NASA.
This is the first thing you should do when you get to the Space Center to avoid long lines. You can book a specific time online but I found it easier to just arrive as the Space Center opens and hop in line. This is around a 90 minute tour of the NASA campus, filled with lots of stops and fun facts. You’ll get to see where real astronauts train, a whole replica of the International Space Station, and the original Mission control in all its glory. At the end of the tour you’ll see one of the Saturn V rockets and it is ginormous. At 363 feet tall and 6.2 million pounds when fully fueled it’s the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket we’ve ever flown.
//Living in Space
This attraction is everything you’d think it would be. It’s a demonstration all about how the astronauts live in space. It’s about 30 minutes but the presenters are there for questions afterwards. I don’t know about you guys but all I think about is how cool no gravity is, not any of the challenges of actually living that way. You’ll learn how they cook food, sleep and yes, even how they use the restroom in space!
Another amazing attraction for all ages, the space suits throughout the years. This features all different types of suits and other paraphernalia throughout the years of space exploration. You’ll learn a bit about the research that goes into the suits and how they’re designed with their specific wearer in mind.
//Level 9 Tour
The VIP tour. If you’re really into space or just want a bit more in depth of a tour, this is for you. For $129 you and 11 others will get a 4-5 hour private tour of the NASA facilities. The admission also covers the main admission into the Space Center as well as an included lunch.
There is a food court available but i’d suggest waiting and eating out in town if you can. It’s typical cafeteria food, nothing bad but you can certainly get a better meal out at a restaurant. But, you cannot leave without checking out all of the astronaut food in the gift shop. Freeze Dried Ice cream is a must.
Additionally, you can have lunch with a real astronaut! These are once a week so be sure to plan your trip around this fun event. Tickets for kids 4-11 are $39.95 and adult tickets are $69.95, this includes general admission. You do need to reserve a specific date and time but getting to spend a whole hour with a real astronaut is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
There you have it! A complete guide to the Space Center Houston. There are so many more attractions within the facility but the ones I mentioned are the must sees. I spent a good 4-5 hours there and you could easily spend longer if you went and saw all of the presentations and demonstrations.
If you’re still not sold on coming to Houston, read this: 12 Reasons you Need To Visit Houston! If you have any questions at all leave them in the comments!
Question of the day: Have you been to Houston? What did you do there, tell me in the comments!