These ideas are outside of the Pacific Northwest with the idea being that you are going outside of the area to go somewhere. These locations are all across the US and cost different amounts to get there, visit, and stay in the area. But what we will do is provide some options in different areas of the country for consideration. The goal is not to provide a comprehensive list of space museums; but provide some great opportunities to highlight space museums across the USA.
Please note that the weather in some areas might make certain times of the year might delay or force a reschedule of the trip. An example would be if going to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a hurricane might shut everything down.
The Pacific Northwest trips to great space museums would include the Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon and the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
Kennedy Space Center
Located in Cape Canaveral Florida, the Kennedy Space Center features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, 2 IMAX theaters, and a range of bus tours of the spaceport. There are a plethora of interactive simulations for kids and adults to use to see how they would like launch into space and there are tours performed by a veteran NASA astronaut. Open year round, there are more than 1.7 million yearly visitors to this wonderful space attraction. With a plethora of restored spacecraft including an Apollo spacecraft and a Space Shuttle, there are a plethora of activities for those who love space and for the entire family!
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum(s)
Located in Washington DC and Virginia, the Smithsonian Air And Space Museums are wonderful aerospace museums! With an SR-.. and space shuttle, the
Cosmosphere (Formerly Kansas Cosmosphere)
Located in Hutchinson Kansas, the Cosmosphere houses over 13,000 space related artifacts, which is the largest combined collection of US and Russian space artifacts in the world. The number of space artifacts makes the Cosmosphere the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow, as of this writing, and a collection of US space artifacts second only to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. What started as a planetarium at the Kansas state fair in 1962 has grown massively.
The Cosmosphere has four venues: The Hall of Space Museum, The Justice Planetarium, The Carey Digital Dome Theater, and Dr. Goddard’s Lab. In addition to the abundance of amazing artifacts, there are many internationally acclaimed educational programs The Cosmosphere also hosts summer camps for all ages, and co-curricular applied STEM education programs for field trips, groups, and scouts that meet Next Generation Science Standards and common core, focused on college and career readiness. The Cosmosphere is the only Smithsonian affiliate museum in Kansas.
The website is cosmo.org, with notable historic artifacts including but are not limited to the last piece of the Berlin Wall to be removed, an SR-71, the Apollo 13 command module Odyssey that actually flew, an authentic Titan II used in the Gemini program, multiple Apollo program objects including the White Room and items from different flights, and a Sputnik 1 flight ready backup.
NASA Johnson Space Center
Located in Houston, Texas, the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is NASA’s center for human spaceflight, where human spaceflight training, research, and flight control are conducted. The site consists of a complex of 100 buildings constructed on 1,620 acres. The official space center is still in use, but there is the Space Center Houston that acts as the official museum of the Johnson Space Center. The museum is 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) and displays over 400 space artifacts, including the Mercury 9, Gemini 5, and Apollo 17 space capsules. According the website, “400 space artifacts, permanent and traveling exhibits, exhibits and experiences and theaters related to the exciting future and remarkable past of America’s human space-flight program.”
California Science Center
Located in Exposition Park in the city of Los Angeles, California, the California Science Center is a state agency that is the “West Coast’s largest hands-on science center.” There are a plethora of activities and exhibits including a 2 story, 45,000-square-foot exhibit features display zones, aviation and space artifacts, hands on displays and an IMAX theater. Amazing space artifacts to view on the site include Space Shuttle Endeavour, Gemini 11 capsule flown in 1966, and the Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule which carried Ham, a chimpanzee, the first great ape in space in 1961.
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