*I originally wrote this to be part of my Real-life Homeschool Blog Hop a few weeks ago, but never organized myself enough to insert the pictures until now. Oops. I’m still missing a few, but I hope to insert them as we find them.
During the month of March we knew we were headed ‘home’ to Georgia we decided that along the route of a road trip we’d stop in and spend a day at the U.S. Space Center & Museum in Huntsville. It’s about a halfway point and made for a decent drive on both days with a fun hotel say in between. Our goal was the U.S. Space Center & Museum (http://rocketcenter.com), but we also made an afternoon out of the Sci-Quest (http://sci-quest.org) Children’s Museum as well. Both the Enginerd and I have childhood memories of playful days in children’s science museums and thus we were eager and excited to see what all the facilities of Sci-Quest had to offer. Overall, I felt like I was not very impressed, however I think I’m viewing it from a parent’s eye-view and not the creative learning imaginations of a child. *Wash your hands!!* Almond was all set in the Boba Baby Soft-Structured Carrier and the girls (and the Enginerd) darted around the room from activity to activity. It was like a large warehouse full of scientific experiments and machines. From understanding sound, magnetics, green-screen technology, gross-ology, circuits, and more – it was a day of sparking the scientific mind!
[insert photos from Enginerd]
Also from our own childhood, we both remember visits to what we called the Huntsville Space Center and knew with our studies of Astronomy this year that it would be an event to remember. So off we went to the U.S. Space Center & Museum. While we were visiting there were two visiting exhibits including 101 American Inventions and 101 Huntsville Inventions that were quite nice to see. (There was also a Lego table to build ideas…) We discussed what inventions were and the importance of inventors and ideas. We also saw elements of space crafts and astronauts. We discussed and saw satellite telescopes and the cosmic calendar as a walk through. There were military aspects on display from the Redstone Arsenal and space suit flight simulators on Mars.
We stopped for a snack of shooting stars and moon rocks (our translation of star shaped tater-tots and corn dog bites) and then headed out in the hiatus of the rain to see the retired rockets outdoors. We waded through the mud and discussed how much fuel rockets required to get on their way and entered into a huge double engine military helicopter. The girls and I (and the boy of course) watched as their daddy braved the sling shot and the Enginerd shot up and down for a bit nearly losing his glasses. After a bit outside, but plenty of time to inquire and amaze, the rain started back.
To avoid being drenched we entered the Davidson Center for Space Exploration building and with stars and rockets in our eyes we walked (or hiked) the length of the Saturn V rocket all the while reading about the history and our American participation of the race to space and what has happened since.
My memories inside the space center are from various visits in my youth (1994-1997). Once with my elementary school’s Young Astronauts Program and at least one other with my middle school as well. I also think in my mind I have a few mixed memories with the Kennedy Space Center (1999) and possibly with NASA in Washington DC (1995-1998) as well. (Those dates are estimates for when I might have been there.) I recall walking among lots of space craft or partial crafts that had lots of lights and buttons, but what appeared to have this at the US Space Center was behind a chain that said with tour guides only. I definitely don’t remember a guide in my youth nor does the Enginerd, but alas. I also have flashes of memories of the Space Camp cafeteria, and while that was not the cafe where we ate, we did walk past it and that was neat to see again.
One of the coolest new things for me was the decontamination airstream. It has such an incredible history! For one, it was the mobile living quarters for the first astronauts as they returned (I believe), and it also served during a disease outbreak for medical professionals, but then it was lost for several years until randomly located in a Fish & Wildlife center (I think). How amazing the story of that vehicle must be… But yes, the Saturn V was awesome and huge. The outdoor rockets were incredible to stand nearby and the dreary sky and clouds were blinding to the eyes. Sharing a part of my youth with my husband and hearing of his own was magical as was creating these new memories with our own children.
Nearby we also found an incredible outdoor plaza shopping mall. It was beautiful and elegant. We walked, we enjoyed handmade hand mixed ice cream delights and fancy Chinese food. We played in the rain, jumped (accidentally and on purpose) in puddles, squealed at fountains splashing and spraying and more.
[insert fountain photo]
It was a family memory experience, but it was school on the road as well and we learned, questioned, and explored as well as sparked the idea for more. Care to know what scouting badges we earned? Stay tuned and find out soon!
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Discover the World
- Travel (Penguin) – for both girls
- Travel Destination (Penguin) – for both girls
- Museum: U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Penguin) – for AppleBlossom only
- Museum: Sci-Quest (Penguin) – for AppleBlossom only
Discover Science & Technology
- Aerospace (Penguin) – for AppleBlossom only
- Rockets (Penguin) – for AppleBlossom only
- Inventions (Penguin) – for AppleBlossom only