If you are visiting Huntsville, Alabama and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is not on your list, stop what you are doing and add it! The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the largest space museum in the world and is also home to NASA Marshall Center. Now you may be wondering, is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center fun for kids? And to that, I answer with a resounding ABSOLUTELY! The girls had so much fun that I almost had to drag them from the building after 5 hours at the space & rocket center. Even then, they asked if we could come back tomorrow!
** Big thanks to U.S. Space & Rocket Center for hosting us for this visit. No monetary compensation was provided, and all opinions are mine **
Where is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center?
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is located right off the I-565 highway (you can’t miss the towering rocket) at 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL. If you are staying at the Drury Inn & Suites at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the rockets from your room window.
What are the hours at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center?
As we all know, the world shifted quite a bit in 2020, but the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is back open and welcoming guests. At the time of publication, they are open Tuesday – Sunday, with varying hours. Prior to your visit, I recommend visiting their website for any potential changes and purchasing your tickets ahead of time.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center Admission
General Admission (Ages 13+): $25
Children (5-12): $17
Children 4 & under: FREE
*There are several discounts for Seniors, Military (including Veterans), AAA members, and NASA employees and contractors.
Admission gives you access to all indoor exhibits, the Rocket Park, Davidson Center, and certain simulators. There are also many add-ons to enhance your experiences, such as Planetarium shows, Virtual Reality Experience, Flight Simulator, and even SeaTrek!
What ages should visit the U.S. Space & Rocket Center?
We may be in the minority about this one, but I believe that kiddos are never too young to start experiencing the magic of museums. Some parents may feel that the Space & Rocket Center will be boring for their younger kiddos, but I’m afraid I have to disagree! Bug had an absolute BLAST flipping all of the switches of the interactive exhibits, and she was genuinely interested in learning about the large outdoor rockets. Families with kiddos under 4, remember they aren’t charged admission, so you have nothing to lose and lots of fun to gain!
With that being said, the age sweet spot for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will be school-aged kiddos from about 5 to 15, particularly the kiddos enamored with space, math, and engineering.
Space Suits for our visit?
In short: YES!
The spacesuits definitely helped build the anticipation for our visit, but they also enhanced their visit. The staff referred to the girls as astronauts throughout their visit and their little face just beamed when they heard it. We purchased ours from Amazon, but if you don’t have time to order yours ahead of time, you can grab them in the gift shop as well!
How Much Time Should We Set Aside for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center?
This will vary based on your kiddo’s level of interest in museums and space, but the museum is very interactive, so I would set aside no less than 4 hours. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has two indoor buildings and 2 outdoor areas. There are no less than 1,500 space artifacts throughout the museum and a lot of different interactive components.
Kid Favorites at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Roo & Bug had so much fun at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, but here are a few must-see things they recommend for other kiddos!
The Davidson Center for Space Exploration
I will name a parenting fail on this one, we accidentally saved the Davidson Center for last, and the girls were very upset with me when we had to rush through the exhibits to make it to our next destination. So learn from my fail and set aside a large chunk of time for this area of the museum. This newest addition to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is home to the Saturn V rocket prototype.
The Saturn V rocket is an incredible sight to see; it almost spans the entire building! The Davidson Center has so many interactive exhibits, and it even has a play area for tiny humans which was Bug’s favorite part of the entire museum. Bug enjoyed asking the docents questions about the space program, which was extra cool because they all worked for NASA on the programs.
Rocket & Shuttle Park
The outdoor areas are super impressive, with real and replica of missiles, rockets, and space exploration vehicles. We felt like ants standing underneath the NASA rockets. The girls also had a blast reenacting a space landing in Rocket Park.
One of the favorite aspects of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center was that each room has interactive components that encourage kiddos to touch. They loved being able to flip all the International Space Station replica switches and see what it feels like to be on a space station.
Rides & Simulators
Due to restrictions, a lot of the rides were currently closed, including the climbing wall. Once restrictions are lifted, we plan to come back and experience these as well!
I couldn’t write a blog post without talking about Space Camp! Huntsville U.S. Space & Rocket Center hosts Space Camp throughout the year for kiddos 9-18, and they even get to spend the night in a replica of the International Space Station. Throughout the program, they experience space simulators, have hands-on engineering projects, and so much more. Roo is a bit too young for Space Camp, but she definitely wants to join when she is old enough!
For families who want to get in on the space fun, Space Camp offers Family Space Camp, which is a 3-day, 2-night camp for the entire family!
Planning a trip to Huntsville? Head over to our Huntsville with kids blog to learn more!