I never wanted to be an astronaut. Never had any interest in hurtling through space on a rocket with fire shooting out its tail. Never wanted to look back on Earth as it grew smaller and smaller behind me. Nope. Being an astronaut was not for me.
But my mom? She’s always been fascinated by the thought of going into space. I’m not sure she ever wanted to be an astronaut, but I do think she would like to be a passenger on a trip to the moon. Or Mars. Or anywhere out in the Milky Way.
But her first stop should be to Huntsville, Alabama – home of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and that oft-mentioned, but seemingly elusive, mecca for the astronomically-minded: Space Camp.
Space Camp is easy to spot. There’s a Saturn V replica piercing the horizon as you approach. Get a little closer and you’ll see lots of rockets and space shuttles outside. Touring the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a delight for anyone that wants to be surrounded by what I consider to be an astronaut’s playground. You may be surprised to learn that there are more PhD’s per capita in Huntsville than anywhere else in the U.S.! (Though I’m not sure this fact has been confirmed.) But throw a rock in Huntsville and try NOT to hit a rocket scientist!
Which made me wonder: how many of these Rocket Scientists attended Space Camp?
Space Camp is open to children aged 9-18 and must feel out of this world to kids who want to “go where no man has gone before.” At Space Camp, they:
- Train like an astronaut on the Gravity Chair, simulator, and a multi-axis trainer.
- Construct and launch your own model rocket!
- Learn what it’s like to live onboard the International Space Station.
- Discover the newest rocket that will carry NASA astronauts to Mars.
- Use technology to design and construct a futuristic Martian colony!
- Launch on simulated missions to the International Space Station and beyond!
- Develop team-building and communication skills in an aquatic activity.
- Compete in camp-wide Challenge nights!
I like to think that some of the astronauts and rockets scientists of today graduated with honors from Space Camp. But if they didn’t go, it’s not too late. There are Space Camp programs for adults, too!
And who knows — they might see my mom there. 🙂
Do you have any desire to attend Space Camp?
Yes, and yes! (I did want to be an astronaut) LOL
I loved this blog!! To me it was like a kid in a candy store with wide eyes and wanting to try everything. Thanks for bringing me along on your adventure!!
You’re welcome. I like looking at space…from the ground. 🙂
Oooh I was just reading about Huntsville on the Coleman’s blog! Still waiting to take my hubby there since he’s a huge space junkie. Did your mom end up signing up for the camp?
Not yet. She’ll probably say it’s too much math. But if she had the chance to ride on a space shuttle, I know she would.
This looks so fun! I never wanted to be an astronaut either, but it would be cool to learn about how it all works. Would also love to feel that 0 gravity feeling!
Zero gravity would be very cool. I enjoyed watching the monitor track the International Space Station and seeing other views of things from space. You could easily spend a day at the Space Center whether you have interest in being an astronaut or not!
I think it would be a kick, Juliann, especially experiencing weightlessness. My son-in-law’s parents live in Huntsville. –Curt
I have to ask, Curt: are either of his parents a rocket scientist??
No, but his dad oversaw the program of using missiles to shoot down missiles in its early stages. –Curt
Love the term astronomically minded. I have always wanted to do Space Camp. I would have totally gone when I was in Huntsville but I signed up late. Next time I am in Huntsville we will go.
I think you’ll love it. I’ve heard nothing but raves about it.
Never thought of being an astronaut myself growing up but I do enjoy watching all the space fictions movies. Would love to check out this place too!
What a fascinating experience for your mom! I always wonder what it is like to be an astronaut and be in the space! I sure would be interested in the space camp to get a taste of that!!
I wonder, too, Cat. But not enough to ever think I’d want to.
Space Camp as a concept was always interesting to me but while most kids might have liked the idea of hurtling into space, I thought it would be more fun to work in Command Central. At least there I could still see what was happening while remaining firmly on the ground. 🙂
That would be interesting. I think that’s actually a big part of their Space Camp experience. I loved seeing the kids there. They were so excited and obviously having a blast.
Space camp looks so amazing!! My son would love this NOW but he’s only 2, still has some time to wait to do this!
Haha. A two-year-old would be awed just walking through there. Especially in the Living Planet exhibit at the end where they showed wall-size footage of the planets in space.
This looks so interesting! I wish we could have seen more pictures of the activities and facilities though.
Thanks for your feedback, Ysobel. I took a few more of the facilities, but then wasn’t sure how to explain what I’d photographed, so decided “less is more.” I could never explain it as well as Mo, or one of the other camp leaders/scientists/tour leaders/space junkies could.
That’s true. There are things best experienced in person. I’m putting Space Camp on my bucket list haha!
Hell no (getting on a plane is bad enough) but it must be great for those with a passion for space. I’m old enough to remember Sputnik and Telstar, never mind the first moon landings on the TV 🙂
As to concentration of talent they say that Grantchester (England), a few miles from Cambridge, has the highest concentration of Nobel prizewinners.
I wish I’d had the chance to attend space camp, would love to have this experience!