Friday, October 8, 2010

Field Trip Friday - Houston Space Center

We're back!  After a long day (we left a little after 5:30am for a four hour trip, then got home close to 10pm) at Houston Space Center's Homeschool Day, we're officially taking the rest of this week off.  
Despite being exhausted, it was definitely worth the trip! 

The girls had a blast.  Before we get to the pictures, let me just say how mama rated the day.  First of all, I must confess that I'm not much into the sciency space-type stuff.  It's not my cup of tea and physics makes my head spin.  That said, I have really enjoyed the past few weeks, because Ella is so into it.  I enjoyed the space center too for just that reason.  But that's the good news.  I have to also admit that the place was a bit much for me.  For one, the place is definitely lacking "white space."  Go figure NASA (the organization that sends people to live for weeks and months in quarters smaller than the smallest RV) wouldn't understand that the place could use some open spaces.  I mean, is it too much to ask for a quiet spot to breathe?  Also, it was crowded.  I don't know how crowded the place gets normally, but I don't want to see it with more people than that.  Then again, I'm like Ella with noise and crowds and overstimulation.  Ella, on the other hand, reacted strangely to it all.  Instead of crying or clinging to us like she normally might with that much stimulation, she would aimlessly take off running in different directions.  It was very difficult to keep track of both children.  I couldn't imaging doing that alone.  Kudos to those moms who braved the day alone and still managed to come out of that place with all the kids they went in with. 

Still, it was well worth it.  Here are a few highlights from our day. . .

Ella's favorite activity that she kept coming back to.   You could stand on different scales and look into different funhouse-type mirrors to see how much you would weight on different planets.

These remote controlled lunar rovers were on the ground floor, and the control room for them was upstairs above the playground area.  There were additional control stations behind Ella where you could watch the people in the upstairs control room.  Neat stuff.

The "Wall of Physics," a.k.a. the big velcro wall

Starship Gallery - After watching a short film tracing the history of manned space flight, we were allowed to explore a huge collection of artifacts and fascinating stuff.

Checking out a lunar rover trainer.

Touching a moon rock!!!  
(Ella was looking forward to this all day.)

Looking up at part of the Skylab Trainer.  We actually got to walk around inside part of it.

NASA tram tour - This is the ninety minute tour that took us to the Johnson Space Center for a tour of the NASA buildings, the historic control room, a training area, and the Saturn V Complex.  It was very impressive.  Just a warning if you go, you will be climbing 87 steps up to the control room, so make plans for your toddler/preschooler so you aren't dragging 26lbs. of kicking screaming craziness up all those steps.  For the record, that was my workout for the month.

This is how Ella looked at the beginning of the tour.  Yes, that's a scared face.  I think she just didn't know what to expect, and was afraid it was going to be some kind of roller-coaster ride.

The new lunar/Mars rovers.  Very cool.

My crew at the base of the Saturn V.

This is Ella at the end of the tour.  Happy Girl.

This is a tree from the Astronauts'  Memorial Grove.  The tram stopped so we could see where they planted an oak tree for ever astronaut who has passed away.  I'm not an overly sentimental person nor am I very impressed by astronauts in general, but I have to say this was pretty powerful.

Back Home -Both girls have been playing constantly with Ella's new space figures set.  She can now easily identify a Goddard rocket, Mercury capsule, Gemini spacecraft, and a shuttle.  I'm definitely impressed.


  1. Oh my goodness, what a massive day. It sounds like it was worth it though.

  2. That's a cool little space set! I remember when I took my boys (about the same ages) to Plimoth Plantations's homeschool day. It wasn't nearly as far as Houston is for you, but thanks to them having it on a Friday we got stuck in terrible Boston-area traffic and it took forever to get home. I don't know if the extra programs geared towards homeschoolers are worth the crowds, sometimes.

    But now I want to visit Houston just to go to the space center. Vaughan and Chris would love it.

  3. Massive indeed, Kylie. :) And yes, definitely worth it!

    Oh yes, Amy, they would love it!!!


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