Space continues to capture the imagination of young and old. While reading books and watching documentaries can improve your understanding of the unexplored cosmos, you could expand your mind and knowledge by visiting some attractions dedicated to space. After all, there is much to learn, explore, and understand about the universe. After all, there is much to learn, research, and know about the universe.
To gain more knowledge than an astrophysicist, you should ensure your next vacation is out of this world. Here are the five best U.S. destinations to visit for space fanatics.
1. Houston, Texas
There are seemingly endless educational things to do in Houston, such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Downtown Aquarium, and Houston Zoo. Yet, you can trust the space fan inside of you will never forget a visit to NASA Space Center, which has more than 400 activities and attractions.
Few attractions in the United States will allow visitors to touch a genuine moon rock, watch real-life astronauts embark on outer space missions, or take a tour of NASA’s control center. Offering fun presentations, exhibitions, and attractions, you will fall even more in love with the universe after a trip to NASA’s official visitor center.
Cape Canaveral is well known for its beautiful beaches, Brevard Zoo, unique fishing experiences, and scenic port. However, the Kennedy Space Center is the crown jewel of the stunning cape in Brevard County. As a visitor, you will have an opportunity to view genuine space equipment up close and explore various interesting exhibits, including:
- The Astronaut Hall of Fame
- Space Shuttle Atlantic
- Rocket Garden’s space rockets
It is an ideal place to learn about space pioneers, NASA’s Space Shuttle program, and the race to the moon. Also, the Kennedy Space Center occasionally provides tickets to watch a real rocket launch into space.
3. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. isn’t only a popular choice for fans of politics and history, as it attracts space lovers from across the world. While The White House and Capitol are impressive structures, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum will likely trigger your imagination.
Once you arrive, you can explore the largest and most significant collection of space and aviation artifacts on this planet. It is a must-add to a space lover’s bucket list, as it houses many world-famous space shuttles and aircraft, such as:
- The Space Shuttle Discovery
- Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia
- 1903 Wright Flyer
After exploring the 60,000 artifacts on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, you should step inside the recently revamped Albert Einstein Planetarium. The historic 360-degree theater provides an immersive space experience. Also, you can watch fun movies about space and aviation at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater inside the museum.
4. San Diego County, California
Educational experiences are available at every turn in San Diego County. For example, you can learn about animals at San Diego Zoo, gain an insight into the city’s maritime history at the Embarcadero & The USS Midway Museum, or view native, rare, and foreign plants at San Diego Botanic Garden.
While all the above activities are fun and interesting, they might not cater to the space nerd inside you. If so, you would be wise to add the Palomar Observatory to your San Diego itinerary. The unique observatory has been operating for almost 100 years and features three active telescopes to view outer space.
The 200-inch Hale telescope was the largest until 1993 and supported many advancements in extrasolar planet studies, stellar population and evolution analysis, remote galaxies, and solar system studies.
5. Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Sun, sea, and sand likely enter your mind when thinking of Hawaii. The U.S. is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and natural wonders in the world, but you shouldn’t rule it out for out-of-this-world experiences.
Mauna Kea Observatory features large telescope observatories operated by the University of Hawaii, which are based 13,796 feet high on the Mauna Kea. The Visitor’s Information Center is a popular attraction for tourists and locals, as it is an ideal place to view the stars at night through its telescopes due to its lack of light pollution and high altitude.
As it is thousands of feet above sea level, those with serious health problems shouldn’t complete the journey. However, if you are in tip-top shape, you will be rewarded for your efforts with a stunning view of the stars away from artificial city lights.
The above destinations offer fun space attractions that will open your mind, broaden your knowledge, and increase your love and understanding of the universe. Add the above spots to your travel bucket list and tick them off whenever possible. Don’t look back on your vacations with regrets. You will not regret it.