As a center for space technology, Huntsville, Alabama, has for decades attracted some of the best and brightest minds from around the country and the world. In 1970, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, then known as the Alabama Space and Rocket Center, was established in Huntsville. Today the city is fondly known as “The Rocket City,” a fitting title for one of America’s most prominent locations in the history of the U.S. space program.
As the Official Visitor Center for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center lets people of all ages experience the magic of space exploration and step into a world where our wildest dreams have become – and are becoming – reality. The Saturn V rocket has already taken us to the moon, and people are living aboard the International Space Station now. Since the Center was established more than 50 years ago, technology has come a long way, allowing us to experience other galaxies in ways we never could have imagined. Today’s children are sitting on the edge of incredible breakthroughs in space exploration, and there is no better way to cultivate curiosity in this field than through a hands-on experience outside of the classroom. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are hot topics in today’s world given the growing need for young and innovative minds to take the lead in years to come.
For STEM students visiting the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the experiences are more than just real world – they’re out of this world. Permanent and traveling exhibitions keep the Center constantly changing and thrilling for all ages. Whether you’re visiting with students who already have a keen interest in the STEM fields or you’re hoping to stimulate curiosity among students, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the perfect place to bring science to life. Nothing compares to the thrills of a simulator or the awe of seeing an actual rocket up close. It’s sure to provide memories for years to come – memories that may even shape the careers of scientists-to-be.
Step inside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and enter the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. Here students gaze up at an authentic Saturn V moon rocket, a National Historic Landmark and one of only three remaining on the planet. Inside the Center’s Rocket Park and Shuttle Park, there are 27 missiles on display, along with several launch vehicles. If these contraptions look other-worldly, it’s because they are.
Theaters within the Rocket Center focus on the sciences with movies such as Journey to Space and Robots 3D. These science and technology-focused theaters, one of which is an IMAX ® theater, bring the STEM fields to life and help students envision their classroom work in real time.
Field trips and camps bring STEM to life
The best way for students to experience the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is by choosing from one of the many group opportunities available. The ever-popular Ultimate Field Trip offers a full day of interactive simulators and exhibits and a hands-on STEM curriculum-based science lab. Take advantage of the exhibitions within the Center and experience the thrills of the museum simulators – the perfect combination of fun and entertainment. Students also have access to the “ISS: Science on Orbit” exhibit, which shows how astronauts are living and working aboard the International Space Station. Also enjoy an IMAX® or National Geographic Theater movie and live space presentation. The Ultimate Field Trip is complete with a hands-on STEM lab with an instructor who is ready to help students experience a school day unlike any other.
The Daily Space Adventure field trip is a more self-guided option for groups wishing to make their own way within the Rocket Center and in the Shuttle and Rocket Parks. Check out the more than 1,500 artifacts on display from America’s space program, including an authentic Saturn V moon rocket and Pathfinder, the world’s only full-scale space shuttle stack. The simulators and interactive exhibitions make the Center the perfect outing to experience STEM in the real world and is an easy way to get students excited about what they’re learning in the classroom. They’ll leave with a new curiosity and understanding of space exploration.
Within the Center are also a variety of featured exhibitions that allow for a hands-on experience. The Spark!Lab is a permanent interactive space where students become engineers as they work on design challenges and use critical-thinking skills to solve problem. In the lab, they can explore new ways to clean up the ocean floor or create a new space machine.
For a longer visit, check out Space Camp®, a two-, three- or six-day all-inclusive overnight program. With immersive, hands-on experiences, this program is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts. It doesn’t get much better than this for providing students with real-world applications to what they have learned in the classroom.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is so much more than just a museum. It’s a hands-on, real world display that brings into perspective the incredible talents that have made the U.S. a success in the field of space exploration. There truly is no better place to take STEM out of the books and into the hands of young minds. Don’t wait to plan your field trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Be sure to check out the special information for groups to help make your visit a soaring success.