Almost Like Being in Space
As far back as I can remember, I have been facinated by everything about space. I have a whole shelf full of astronomy books, some of which I have had since primary school. And to this very day, my dream job is being an astronaut! So it was just natural when my hubby and I visited the USA that we would fit in as many space related places as we could. 🙂
Kennedy Space Centre
We spent a whole day at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in 2012, and we loved every minute of it! Trust me, one day is absolutely NOT enough – there is just so much to see and do!
The day we visited, it was really rainy and windy. I would normally have complained. Except that it was caused by the outskirts of Hurricane Sandy, and so it was our first experience of a hurricane. Sandy didn’t make landfall in Florida, so we were safe amidst what could just as well have been just a rain storm.
At the time, the Space Shuttle Atlantis had already arrived. But its final resting place was not yet constructed, and it was still inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). So when we had to choose which tour to take, the one going into the VAB was the natural choice. Wow, what an experience! Seeing Atlantis where it would have been prepared for its actual missions!
On the tour we also stopped at a vantage point where you can see launch pad 39A.
And the tour ended at the Apollo/Saturn V Centre. This centre is all about the moon landing and it is just spactacular! Seeing the control centre for the Apollo missions, and seeing an actual Saturn V rocket is just awesome!
The absolute highlight of our day was the Space Shuttle Launch Simulator! The moment when the payload bay doors opened, was just magnificent!
Looking at the website now, seeing all the new things they have introduced since and old things we missed, I am convinced that we have to go to Florida again to experience all that the Kennedy Space Centre offers!
Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum
One of my favourite attractions in New York City is the Intrepid Museum. Plan to spend a whole day there! Highlights include the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier, the Growler Submarine (the guided tours are really awesome!) and a British Airways Concorde. But all of that pales in comparison to the Space Shuttle Pavilion where the Space Shuttle Enterprise is housed! The photo of Enterprise below was taken when it was still in the original enclosure, before Hurricane Sandy damaged it. This was actually the first of the Space Shuttles that we saw.
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
During our visit to Washington DC, visiting some of the Smithsonian museums was high on our list of things to do. And right at the top of that list of museums was the Air and Space Museum located on the National Mall. And admission is free – can a museum get any better? 🙂 The answer is yes – this museum has a planetarium and an IMAX theater, both of which you have to pay for but are absolutely worth every cent!
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Even though the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is affiliated with the Air and Space Museum, I list it separately because it is located close to Washington Dulles International Airport, quite a distance away from the Museum itself. If you have to choose between the Museum and the Udvar-Hazy Center, choose this one! There are several huge hangers, and the most important one is the hanger where the Space Shuttle Discovery is housed!
California Science Centre
If you kept count, you would notice that I have listed three of the four remaining Space Shuttles already. So when we went to the USA again in 2013, we simply had to see the last one! Space Shuttle Endeavour is located at the California Science Centre in Los Angeles.