- Florida’s Space Coast is home to various rocket launches and the Kennedy Space Center.
- You can dine with an astronaut at the Space Center Houston.
- Check out a zero-gravity flight in Las Vegas to find out what it’s really like to float around in space.
Although space travel isn’t attainable for most people, you can still explore many space-related destinations right here on planet Earth.
Whether you’re into star gazing or getting up close and personal with a NASA space shuttle, there are plenty of places to add to your space travel bucket list.
If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world vacation, here are some of the top destinations for space lovers.
Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida has lots of exhibits.
Foto: Kennedy Space Center.sourceSongquan Deng/Shutterstock
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers many different exhibits and memorabilia for anyone who’s fascinated with space. During your trip, you get an up-close look at the space shuttle Atlantis, learn about famous astronauts, and take a tour of NASA’s shuttle launch sites.
Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico gives you a chance to see what is out there.
Foto: Very Large Array.sourceTony Craddock/Shutterstock
If you want to try and communicate with other galaxies then a trip to the Very Large Array Telescope Facility in New Mexico is a must. While visiting, you can watch an educational movie, take a self-guided tour, and learn more about how the facility uses the large dish antenna to learn about astronomy and space.
You must shut off your phone before entering, as well as any other devices that connect to WiFi or Bluetooth. These signals can interfere with an astronomers capabilities to pick up various signals from space.
Space View Park in Titusville, Florida lets you watch launches up close.
Foto: Space View Park.sourceFacebook/ Space View Park
Florida’s Space Coast, as it is affectionately known, is home to rocket launches. Space View Park is located directly across from the NASA launch pad and can give you a spectacular view of an upcoming rocket launch. You’ll also hear live audio feed direct from NASA control room.
Just be aware that the weather can postpone or cancel a launch, even with just minutes to go.
Rockets are launched by SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and other private space agencies working with NASA, according to VisitFlorida.com.
Head to Space Center Houston in Houston, Texas to have lunch with an astronaut.
Foto: Space Center Houston.sourceWikimedia Commons/Pi3.124
If you’ve dreamed of dining with an astronaut, now is your chance. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Space Center Houston offers Lunch with an Astronaut. You’ll need to make a reservation in advance. This is your chance to get all of your space-related questions answered.
There’s plenty to do after lunch. Space Center Houston has more than 400 different far-out things to do and see, including a Starship gallery and mission briefing center.
Get an Astronaut-like experience at Zero Gravity Flight in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Foto: Zero Gravity Corporation.sourceWikimedia Commons/ Zero Gravity Corporation
After you’ve dined with an astronaut, hop on a quick flight to Las Vegas where you can put your space skills to the test.
The Zero-G experience includes a weightless flight that mimics what it’s like to be an astronaut in space. As a part of the experience, you will board a Boeing 727 and be outfitted in a flight suit. Once aboard, you will be able to move around in a totally weightless atmosphere, just like as if you were in space.
The adventure isn’t cheap. Flights start at $4,950 and include a pre and post-flight meal and professional photos. You must reserve your flight in advance. Flights are also offered in other cities such as Orlando and Seattle, depending on your chosen departure date.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama has children friendly options and explores the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
Foto: U.S. Space and Rocket Center.sourceU.S. Space and Rocket Center
Roughly 100 miles north of Birmingham, Alabama is the U.S. Rocket and Space Center. The museum, which is open seven days a week excluding major holidays, is home to an interactive space lab geared toward children. In the lab, kids can sharpen their engineering skills with a variety of hands-on activities.
The museum also includes a chance to explore the “Alien Worlds and Androids” exhibit, where you can learn more about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life.
Palomar Observatory in Palomar Mountain, California lets you look into the sky.
Foto: Palomar Observatory.sourceWikimedia Commons/ Coneslayer
The Palomar Observatory is maintained by the California Institute of Technology. The southern California observatory features a 200-inch Hale Telescope, the largest of its kind until 1993, so you can get a prime view of the galaxies above.
Give the observatory a ring before you head that way. Although it is generally open to the public on a daily basis, the facility closes from time to time due to maintenance and weather.
Samuel Oschin Planetarium in Los Angeles, California gives you a lot of things to do.
Foto: Samuel Oschin Planetarium.sourceShutterstock/Songquan Deng
The Samuel Oshin Planetarium is located within the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles.
The planetarium offers daily programs about space topics from water in the galaxy to comets. Take a look at the planetarium’s list of events for a closer look at upcoming presentations, speakers, and informative space documentaries.
The Griffith Park Observatory is also home to telescopes, exhibits, and more that will likely satisfy your love of space. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to get an all-encompassing view of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign.
National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. has rotating space exhibits.
Foto: National Air and Space Museum.sourceNational Museum of the US Air Force / Facebook
The National Air and Space Museum is operated by the Smithsonian Institute. The museum is free to the public and features the history of space travel. The space-related exhibits appear on a rotating basis, so check the lineup before you go.
On a typical day, you will be able to view satellite displays, learn more about the first trip to the moon, and explore the universe through the history of astronomical tools.
Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah simulates life on Mars.
Foto: Mars Desert Research Station.sourceMars Desert Research Station
For a truly otherworldly trip, check out the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah. The research station simulates what life is like on Mars. During your visit, you will learn about different ways to survive on the red planet.
The research center is only open for public visits in June, July, and August, so plan accordingly.
From September to May, the facility typically closes for a special field season. This is when a select group of students and scientists spend several months at a simulation isolation facility for research purposes. For a longer stay, you can apply to volunteer at the research station.
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