NASA is located a fair distance SE from downtown between Clear Lake, Dickinson and Pasadena. You can visit of course and learn about the space program, touch the moon rock and see the control center room - a lot smaller than how it appears on TV. It is an interesting site, but be aware that it is geared predominantly to young children.
This is an extremely overpriced tourist attraction - not necessarily because of the price tag but rather the lack on anything interesting to see. The attraction is no better than years ago, when it was still free, but only now they charge you $17.95 + $5.00 for parking. The mission control and the astronaut training areas are interesting - but the main display area is the pitts.
Although bored, your wallet will certainly seem a lot lighter at your departure, around every corner an opportunity to get taken arises - prices are more expensive than the concessions at Atlanta Hartsfield airport and that's saying an awful lot.
NASA - well if you're coming to Houston you'll know that this is one of the places you must visit while your here.
It took me 4 months to finally get here and I'm pleased I've now been around the NASA Space Center and taken the Historical Trolley Tour around the original command center which was used to command the first manned mission to the moon.
It's about $16 to visit the center, however if you pay about $19 you get a years membership - useful if you live here and you have friend who may want to visit when they visit you! I think there are also cheaper options for families and if you arrive later in the day.
One thing about the NASA Space Center - my friends at work have mixed feelings on the quality of the center. Some think it's a bit dated, others find the place a bit boring - however I think it's got a lot of interesting exhibits and there's definately hands on actitivies for children.
My only concern for the NASA Space Center is that it really does rely on event which happened 30-40 years ago - I think there is a lot which could be done to make it more up to date and interesting for young and old alike - keeping the history and bringing in more of what's happening now.
Five-story plaza with a full-size fake space shuttle. There's a tram tour that takes you to throughout buildings in the Space Center. You can get a seat in the viewing room of the original Mission Control room and check out full-size mock-ups of the original Apollo rockets.
There's a diner called Zero-G.
Admission: US$ 16.95 Adults; US$12.95 Children 4-11; US$15.95 Seniors over 64; free for Children under 4.
Parking: US$ 4.00
Even though I'm not huge into space stuff, I found this quite interesting. You never really grasp how incredibly huge some of the rockets, space crafts are until you see them in person. And we saw the control room....and got to tour through a building where they were in the process of making something. Interesting!!
On display is a Mercury Redstone spacecraft-booster combination which propelled the first two American astronauts (Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom) into space in 1961.
The largest rocket there is the Saturn V rocket which was used in the Apollo Program and also was used to propel the Skylab space station into earth orbit in 1973.
Photo is of 'Apollo Saturn V'
Rocket Park is right at the entrance to the Centre and clearly visible from Nasa Road. You used to be able to drive up and walk around yourself free of charge between 7.00a.m. and 6.00p.m. but after 9/11, I don't think you can do that now.
The photo i sof 'Little-Joe'.
Rocket Park was closed to the public following the 9/11 attack. Later in 2002, it was reopened with strict guidelines.
Your tram will bring you to the park but your guide will enforce the rules of remaining on the footpaths only and no venturing onto the grass areas for photos.
Photo is of Apollo Saturn V.
The centre manages the development, testing, production and delivery of all U.S. human spacecraft, and all human spacecraft-related functions. This includes the life support systems; power systems; crew equipment; electrical power generation and distribution; guidance, navigation and control, cooling systems, structures, flight software, robotics, and spacesuits and spacewalking equipment.
A glassed walkway takes you across all the various pieces of equipment which is explained to you in about 3 stages.
Probably the most spectacular part of my visit to Houston, this is totally FREE!! If you are in the area and don't have too much time or don't want to pay 20$ for a visit of the Space Center, this is defintely a must see!!
You first have to pass through a small security check and you may then park your car close to the park.
You can then walk along this Saturn V rocket, this is the kind of rocket that has sent the Apollo missions to the Moon. Try to imagine the fury of the fire out of its huge reactors...
This was the main goal of my visit to Houston. This is the official visitor center of the NASA's Johnson Space Center, the NASA's center from where the different Apollo missions were controlled.
I have spent there an afternoon, but this was slightly too short, count at least a day if you want to see everything.
The different exhibits are mainly an illustrated story of the spatial conquest. Mostly turned to the past (Apollo,...), there is also some parts about the present (ISS) and the future programs (settlement on the Moon, March exploration,...).
This picture, for example, shows the project of an emergency shuttle for an orbital station.
The visit is quite interesting, children will love it, there are plenty of experiences and animations dedicated to them. I was however slightly deceived, I was expecting something more technical or scientific but I guess all visitors are not engineer...
This is not really in the center of Houston but some 50 miles south of it.
Don't miss the tram tour, this is one of the most interesting activities.
I have been able to see the actual astronaut training facilities and the historical Command Center from where the Apollo missions were controlled.
This is amazing to realise they have been able to send people to the moon with such primitive technologies (your actual PC is way more powerfull than the "supercomputer" that was controlling everything at that time)
Apparently the different tours don't always have the same destinations, it could eventually be interesting to do several of them (but count one hour for each)