Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, offers visitors some out-of-this-world experiences. Watch astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, and tour NASA’s control center. Anyone with an interest in aeronautics and space will appreciate Space Center Houston’s interactive exhibits, presentations, and attractions that dive into the past, present, and future of our universe.
Space Center Houston is one of Houston’s top attractions. During a self-guided tour, ride a tram on a Space Center orientation, see fascinating exhibitions of full-size rockets and moon rock samples, and marvel at a life-size space shuttle replica and the real Apollo 17. The Lunch with an Astronaut program lets families dine with a real-life astronaut and hear a firsthand account of what space is like. Kids can take a break from science and play at the Kids Space Place while parents relax.
Things to Know Before You Go
- While everyone will appreciate the offerings at Space Center Houston, the attraction is especially worthwhile for families.
- Plan to arrive at the center right when it opens—you can easily spend the entire day here.
- Take the tram tour first: Not only does it help you get oriented, but lines can get long and the non-air-conditioned trams get very warm by the afternoon.
- Consider a guided tour of the space center with a sightseeing tour of Houston.
How to Get There
Space Center Houston is about a 30-minute drive or a 90-minute bus ride from downtown Houston. There is ample paid parking at the center.
When to Get There
The Space Center Houston is open year-round, except for Christmas Day and some other major holidays. Hours are generally 10am to 5pm, though these subject to change; check the website’s calendar.
Can’t-Miss Experiences at the Space Center Houston
While there are myriad points of interest within the Space Center Houston, there are a few must-do experiences. The NASA tram tour takes visitors to the iconic Apollo Mission Control Center, where all space shuttle missions and activity onboard international space station assembly flights are directed. The tour also visits the Saturn V Complex at Rocket Park to see an expendable rocket used by NASA’s Apollo and Skylab programs. The Starship Gallery, another must-see, is home to the world’s largest collection of moon rocks, plus space hardware like the Mercury-Atlas 8 Faith 7 capsule, the Gemini V spacecraft, a Lunar Roving Vehicle Trainer, the Apollo 17 command module, the Skylab Trainer, the Apollo-Soyuz Trainer, and an original Goddard rocket model.