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Most everyone has pondered the great unknowns of outer space — from the kid who stares up at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling each night, to the grandparent who still remembers watching astronaut Neil Armstrong make history on the moon, to the adult who is happiest binging on Stephen Hawking books. And as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, there has never been a better time on Earth to explore space.
With amazing developments in space tourism and a rocket program that allows space buffs to sit comfortably and watch man’s attempts to go farther than ever before — and much more — it is clear we are living in the new space age.
Whether you’re planning vacations for casually interested clients or ones deeply fascinated with space, these iconic locations offer a great place to start.
Northern ArizonaMost travelers who visit northern Arizona will enjoy the desert climate and stunning landscapes without ever realizing their impact on space travel. Diehard fans, meanwhile, may already know that every man who has walked on the moon prepared for the trip in this area.
A visit to Flagstaff and its surrounding region offers clients a chance to explore the “lunar legacy” through photography, guided hikes and more. Guests can walk in astronauts’ footsteps and see the moon rover that was used during simulations on Earth at the U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center. You can also take a road trip out near Winslow to get a peek at Meteor Crater Natural Landmark. Children will get a kick out of seeing the site of the largest impact crater in the country.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor ComplexThe latest offerings from Kennedy Space Center, located in Space Coast, Fla., look back at the first American Space Age, as well as examine what is to come. It was only a few miles from the space center that the historic Apollo 11 blasted off, and today, clients can still watch rockets fly.
If families have a few days to spare, advisors should suggest Camp Kennedy Space Center, an experience for ages 7 to 16. There, among other activities, kids and teens will have an opportunity to try the new Astronaut Training Experience, where they can participate in a microgravity spacewalk simulator and simulated spaceflight.
Space Center HoustonHouston is pulling out all the stops this year for Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary. But for space fans, the reasons to visit the city go far beyond 2019, as Space Center Houston offers permanent and rotating exhibits that families will love. There are also opportunities to see real spacecraft, including the Apollo 17 Command Module; touch a piece of real moon rock; and more. Clients will want to peek at the recently restored, historic Mission Operations Control Room at NASA Johnson Space Center, which reopened to the public this month. In addition, kids can participate in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camps that run throughout the year (including special needs options).
There are plenty more reasons to visit Space City, too. The fourth-largest city in the U.S. boasts impressive entertainment, culinary and outdoor activity options, as well.