You absolutely can’t say you’ve had the full Texas experience until you’ve visited one of our most original and popular attractions – Space Center Houston. Owned and operated by the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, Space Center Houston is the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), home to Mission Control and astronaut training. The 250,000 square foot complex welcomes more than a million visitors each year.
Space Center Houston opened in 1992, and as a leading science and space exploration learning center, it is Houston’s first Smithsonian Affiliate. With an array of interactive and historical exhibits spanning the past, present, and future of space exploration and the human spaceflight program, this is a stop that is sure to be fun, meaningful, and educational for all ages.
Space Center Houston – The Exhibits
The nonprofit Space Center is home to a remarkable assortment of permanent exhibits, attractions, theaters, and events, as well as diverse traveling exhibits worth a return trip for those who have visited before. The hundreds of space artifacts onsite include flown spacecraft and memorabilia in the Starship Gallery from Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, and the world’s largest collection of moon rocks.
The Astronaut Gallery features an extensive collection of spacesuits and apparel used by actual NASA astronauts. Mission Mars offers visitors the chance to adventure throughout virtual and simulated scenarios surrounding the great red planet. The International Space Station Gallery pays homage to the largest structure built in space with artifacts, exhibits, and videos covering the ISS and what it’s like to live in space. At Independence Plaza, guests can explore the space shuttle replica Independence mounted on a shuttle carrier aircraft – a true, one-of-a-kind experience.
Tours And Extended Experiences
Included with a general admission ticket, the 90-minute NASA tram tour journeys to NASA Johnson Space Center for a behind-the-scenes look at the history of space exploration. JSC was established as the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1961, opening in 1963 with the Gemini IV mission being the first flight controlled here. During the tour, guests are ushered to the Rocket Park (home to one of only three remaining Saturn V rockets), Mission Control, and the astronaut training area at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility in Building 9.
For an additional charge, there are extended, exclusive tour add-ons available. These include the Space Expert Tour, the VIP Level 9 Tour, and Astronaut Experiences like Lunch with an Astronaut. Space Center Houston is also a favorite spot for exclusive educational experiences such as overnight events and explorer camps.
Planning Your Visit
Space Center Houston is open every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Hours vary by season. Admission for adults (ages 12 and up) is $29.95; children 4-11 $24.95; and seniors $27.95. Children 3 and under are free. The center is also a participating CityPASS attraction. At this time, the facility is operating under new health and safety procedures as per CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, including limited capacity and required face coverings. All guests must have a timed admission ticket.
The Space Center is located at 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058. For more information, call (281) 244-2100, or visit their official website at http://www.spacecenter.org.