Leisure & Hospitality International - Fall 2013 - 73

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

To the Moon
and Back
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center offers visitors
an experience like no other. BY JAMIE MORGAN
In a recent USA Today article, Alec

Space Flight Center in Huntsville when he

Foege, author of “The Tinkerers: The Am-

approached the Alabama legislature with

ateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make

the idea of creating a museum jointly with

America Great,” lists 10 great places to be

the U.S. Army Missile Command and NASA

inspired by innovation. On that list is

that would also serve as an official NASA

Huntsville, Ala., a city that Foege says

information center. The legislature ap-

made it possible for America to reach the

proved and the U.S. Space and Rocket

moon. Huntsville, also known as “Rocket

Center has evolved into a national destina-

City,” is where NASA developed its Saturn

tion and a Smithsonian Affiliate museum.

rockets, making it a fitting home for the
U.S. Space and Rocket Center, one of Al-

MASS APPEAL

abama’s most popular tourist attractions,

U.S. Space and Rocket Center has man-

and a site that Foege says is worth seeing.

aged to create an all-encompassing pro-

“Nowhere else on Earth can you see

gram that appeals to everyone from

America’s moon rocket, a full Space Shut-

science professionals to families with

tle stack and tomorrow’s astronauts

small children. A Marriott Hotel on the

training in one place,” says Dr. Deborah

property allows the center to house visi-

Barnhart, CEO and executive director of

tors in a traditional style.

the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Participants in its Space Camp pro-

“Huntsville was recently named the

grams – it could be a weeklong stay for

ninth-smartest city in the world and be-

middle school and high school students or

cause of our connection to space technol-

a three-day program for families or corpo-

ogy and federal programs, we have the

rations – participate in simulated space

second-largest number of Ph.Ds., second

launches and sleep in cylindrical space

only to Silicon Valley. We had about

station rooms.

600,000 visitors last year from all 50
states and 55 foreign countries.”
The 432-acre campus – which houses

Whether it’s for the learning experience
or a lesson in team cooperation, Barnhart
says the interest in “edutainment” is

SPACE CAMP® Aviation Challenge and one

growing quickly with consumers, and es-

of the most comprehensive U.S. manned

pecially among families.

space flight hardware museums in the

“Our visitors are looking for an above-

world – was founded in 1970 with Dr.

and-beyond experience,” Barnhart ex-

Wernher Von Braun leading the way. Von

plains “They want to be a part of

Braun was director of NASA's Marshall

something that’s leading-edge but still at-

Fall 2013 L e i s u r e a n d H o s p i t a l i t y I n t e r n a t i o n a l | w w w. l h i m a g a z i n e . c o m

73


http://www.lhimagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Leisure & Hospitality International - Fall 2013

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