The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is fun, space loving museum with a life size replica rocket display. During your visit you can learn more about the history of space travel in the United States as well as enjoy some rides, hands on activities, see a real life moon rock, and so much more.
For my daughter’s birthday we decided to take her to U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She absolutely loves learning about space. She is always curious about the planets and everything in our universe so it seemed fitting to take her somewhere that will continue to spark her interest and imagination.
During our visit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center we learned so much history about NASA, astronomers, engineers, scientists, and even Huntsville. We also learned the ins and outs and the best things to do at the park.
In this guide I am going to go over all the details of U.S Space and Rocket Center and how you can make the most of your trip. I will also be covering features such as places to go nearby, where to eat, and a few other things to do in the area if you’re staying for a longer period of time.
Why You Should Visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center
If you are into space and everything in our universe then this is the place for you. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center will take you on an epic tour through the history of the science and engineering behind the launches into space and the rockets. You will also learn about the different missions, be able to see real life rockets and even ride on rides that will give you a brief experience of space on Earth.
History of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is the main and official visitor center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. It holds one of the largest collection and displays of rockets and space artifacts anywhere in the entire world.
Huntsville, Alabama was transformed back in the 1950’s from the “Watercress Capital of the World” into a what is known today as the largest technological research park in the United States by the famous and and well known rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team.
You can learn more about the history of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center here.
Location and Directions to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center
The U. S. Space and Rocket Center is located in Huntsville, Alabama and can be found by the huge rocket ship out front that can be seen from I-565.
Visiting the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama
Visiting the U.S. Space and Rocket Center can be such a fun experience for the entire family, especially if you love space as much as we do. Our kids loved seeing all of the rockets and space memorabilia around the museums and outside. The gift shop was also very fun to check out. The overall experience was educational yet fun. My kids learned a lot about the history of NASA and the important people that have traveled into space and made space travel possible. They also learned what the inside of a space craft looks like as well as food, essentials, and other aspects of living in space.
How Much is the Entrance Fee at the Space and Rocket Center?
When planning your trip you can purchase your tickets ahead of time on their admissions page here. The tickets start at $30 per adult and $20 for children (4 and under are FREE). There are also other things you can add on to your tickets so make sure to check their website for more details on those.
*Please note that prices are always subject to change without notice so make sure to check back on their website for exact prices.
Best Time of Year to Visit the Space and Rocket Center
Summer tends to be the busiest months to visit but it doesn’t get overwhelmingly packed. If you can only make it in the summer, you won’t have to worry about it being too crowded. However, if you choose to go when there is less of a crowd, I would advise going during the months when school is in session. At the most, you will bump into a field trip group but not a lot of visitors outside of that.
Also, during the summer you will see all the kids from summer camps during your visit. Though we didn’t have an issue with them, at one point it did get a little crowded in one area where multiple groups were walking by at once. It was during a change of summer camp classes or event I believe.
Main Attractions at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center
There are many attractions at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for you to check out but if you just want to make the most of your visit then you can’t miss these main attractions. These include:
You can find a replica of the International Space Station (ISS). This was so cool to walk through and experience. We got a glimpse of what life in space as an astronaut is like. From the storage compartments, beds, to even the food, and hallways of the space station.
On another side you can find a replica of NASA’s Payload Operations Integration Center that is used by engineers and scientists to communicate and help the astronauts on the ISS.
Must See Rockets
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center has one of the biggest displays of space rockets in the world. I remember always driving through I565 and seeing the big rockets on my way to school every morning. To me it was the coolest thing in the world.
Saturn V Rocket
The Saturn V Rocket can be found in the Saturn V Hall of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration which also consists of loads of historical information about the scientists and engineers that helps build and plan for our travel into space. You can find an exact replica of the Saturn V outside. This is the rocket that always captured my attention every morning going to school.
Space Shuttle Pathfinder
The Space Shuttle Pathfinder is pretty amazing to look at as well. When we went it had recently been taken down for maintenance but should be put back up soon afterwards. This is another replica of the original but its a true wonder to look at. Its truly incredible how huge these rockets truly are.
The Rocket Display
Outside there is also a rocket display where you can find different types of rockets and even helicopters and other military grade vehicles. The kids definitely had fun here running around and seeing the inside of some of these and their different sizes.
The Intuitive Planetarium
The Intuitive Planetarium is a great way to explore your galaxy and stars beyond it. This digital dome theater is an 8k digital planetarium that will make you feel like you are out of this world. I absolutely love experiencing the movies here. You can click below to view a list of the movies they are currently offering along with prices.
Best Rides in the Space and Rocket Center
Besides all of the historical and educational aspects of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, you can also find some very fun rides to ride. Obviously it’s nothing like an amusement park where you will find overloads of rides but there are a few that you can do to make your trip more exciting.
The rides are space themed of course and will give you a small fun-filled feeling of life as an astronaut. Whether it’s the Moon Shot where it feels like you’ve been shot into space, you are sure to find something fun for everyone.
Please note that in order to ride any of the rides or take one of the tours, you will need to add it on to your ticket through admissions.
Here are some of the best rides to check out:
- G-Force Accelerator
- Moon Shot (aka Space Shot)
- Apollo 11 Virtual Reality
Best Educational Summer Camps for Space Loving Kids
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center also has educational summer camps for kids. I was always a bit bummed that my mom and dad and never sent me when I was little. Haha These are actual camps for kids that are held usually over the summer. You can learn more about each through their individual links below.
- Space Camp: A summer camp geared specifically to learning about space and life as an astronaut. There are various types of camps from beginners to advanced levels in the program.
- Aviation Challenge: The Aviation Challenge is jammed packed with leadership skills, critical thinking and fun aviation-themed adventures and challenges.
- Space Camp Robotics: This camp is geared to pushing your child’s critical thinking skills as a future engineer. They will learn about robotics and the importance and science behind the robotics industry and space travel.
- U.S. Cyber Camp: Your child will learn the importance of cyber security and the never ending changes of the online world.
Where to Stay Near the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville
If you are planning on exploring more of Huntsville, Alabama and need a place to stay, then these are some great hotels to stay at that are close to U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
- Drury Inn and Suites: 0.4 miles away
- Huntsville Marriot at the Space and Rocket Center: 0.4 miles away
- Hyatt Place: 1.1 miles away
- Hampton Inn and Suites in Huntsville Research Park Area: 1.3 miles away
- Element in Huntsville: 1.1 miles away
- The Westin in Huntsville: 1.1 miles away
- Rocket City’s Original Space Dome: ????????
If you are traveling in an RV or camper then you can stay right at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. They have an RV Park for travelers where you can stay at. You can learn more about it here.
What To Do Near the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville
Huntsville is filled with many fun things to do. Here is a list of other museums and attractions located in Huntsville and surrounding areas.
- Huntsville Botanical Gardens
- Monte Sano State Park (read the full travel guide here)
- Burritt on the Mountain Museum
- Early Works Children’s Museum
- Huntsville Museum of Art
Summary of U.S. Space and Rocket Center Family Travel Guide
Hope that this travel guide can benefit you during your travel planning to Huntsville, Alabama so you can make the most of your visit to the Space and Rocket Center. If you want to explore more of Huntsville then you should check out our travel guide to Alabama here. May you and your space loving family enjoy the fun at this very intuitive museum.