Is your child interested in rockets and outer space but you don't have time to make a big trip to the National Air and Space Museum? Then the visitor center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, is the perfect place for you. Intended for people of all ages, the visitor center provides a stimulating and educational 'planetary science' experience but in a smaller and more convenient location than the larger museums in DC.
The center has a variety of exhibits discussing Earth science, astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science, engineering, communication, and technology development. Although most exhibits require reading, some exhibits have educational videos running with cartoon characters explaining space travel and air pressure. The most child-friendly part of the center is their Gemini space capsule model. My 2 year old son particularly enjoys climbing into the model, wearing a toy astronaut helmet and pretending to fly to the moon. The center also has a toy chest with space puzzles, toy rockets, and astronaut puppets for the children to enjoy.
Additionally, the center has an outdoor "Rocket Garden" where children can enjoy running around and touching the large rocket models and playing on the grassy lawn. There are also outdoor picnic tables available.
But I would have to say the coolest part of the center is their "Science on a Sphere." This attention-grabbing visualization system uses computers and video projectors to project informative movies on the outside of a suspended, 6-foot diameter, white sphere. Like the center, the shows are free. And they are constantly looped throughout the day.
When my family visits the center, we find that we are entertained for 2 hours- and admission is free so we have no problems going back often. The museum is best geared toward children 2+ and would be enjoyable by anyone who likes learning more about NASA.
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