24 March 2011

An Astronaut for the Day

This week we had the opportunity to take the kiddos to the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. We were in the area because Vince was speaking at a church in Tennessee last Sunday, so we thought we take in a field trip while we were close by.

We've been before~on Mr. B's 2nd birthday~but the kiddos really don't remember that visit. And for a while now The Princess has been asking to go again. And since her birthday was this week it seemed like the perfect outing to celebrate her birthday.

And it was a great outing~perfect weather and all! We were also excited to find they had built a new, more hands-on part to the center that was great for younger kiddos to explore. In the entrance to the new addition there was a re-creation of what appeared to be Leonardo DaVinci's flying machine. We loved that because we've been studying DaVinci for a couple of months and the kids are fascinated by him.

The new exhibit hall was filled with huge, amazing pieces of rockets and shuttles. It's unbelievable how large they are and how much power it takes to get one of them into space.

Throughout the area there were some demonstrations going on and the kiddos had fun participating. Below is a shot of them doing a *taste test* with jelly beans. It was sort of an experiment on the taste buds. Mr. B wasn't impressed with his cinnamon jelly bean:)

There were quite a few activities incorporated into the displays that were fun for us all. Below shows us learning a little *lesson* in thrust.

Since we've been studying our solar system in science this year many of the space craft shown and/or talked about in the displays were familiar to us. It was great for the kids to make more of a connection with what they've learned in their science book.

The size of these things just blows me away~oh, and they had a fun simulator of what if might *feel* like to be under one of these as it blasts off (without the heat, of course).

Below the kiddos are playing with a wooden model of a moon rover~it shows how the real one folded up inside the shuttle for the trip through space. We also got to ride inside a simulator that was what it might be like to rove around on Mars. This was fun because we really enjoyed studying Mars and making Mars rovers.

It was also fun to test our some *moon gloves*. You have to really be focused and trained to do anything in those clunky things!

The kiddos got quite the kick out of the *astronaut diapers*~they just couldn't believe it:)

There were shuttles to climb inside...

...and cool NASA Airstreams to look inside. (Have I ever told you about my wish to someday own an Airstream?)

Outside there was much more to check out: a *moon surface*, a rocket launching ride, the kids' play area, more rockets and missiles than you can count...

There was even a re-creation of the International Space Station. Vince decided they must have gotten their design ideas from the Star Wars movies...and that was all it took for the kiddos to get in a little light sabre action.

We were blessed with beautiful Spring weather and enjoyed the walk around the grounds before hitting the road home for a good 9 more hours. Yes, it was a very long day.

Of course, no visit to the US Space & Rocket Center would be complete without some *ice cream of the future*!
Have you ever been to Huntsville? It's definitely worth the visit!


Hallee the Homemaker said...

How fun! They are the PERFECT age for that. The guy who used to assist our youth pastor at our church recently moved to Huntsville to work with them. I can't wait until my boys are old enough to take them.


Kathy said...

wow, that place looks really awesome! I think they have a similar place in NH, we will have to try to check it out cause I know my kids would love it. thanks for sharing!!!