Leisure & Hospitality International - Fall 2013 - 74

U.S. Space Center

tainable. Parents definitely want to motivate their children to
be all they can be. After the Space Camp experience, they have
an understanding of space exploration and they begin to envision themselves doing it in the future.”
Many of the influential people in space technology today
are graduates of the center’s Space Camp and Aviation Challenge. Space Camp was even the subject of a Hallmark Hall of
Fame movie, "A Smile as Big as the Moon," that told the true
story of the first group of special needs students who successfully completed Space Camp.
Today Space Camp programs are open to anyone nine to
100 years old, the center says. The oldest participant to date is
a mere 82.

A MUST-SEE
Even for those making return trips, the U.S. Space and Rocket
Center has plenty to offer. The museum achieved Smithsonian
Institution Affiliate status in 2002, allowing it to serve as a
major showcase for the Smithsonian.
Among the some 300 major artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian, one is the biggest object in the Smithsonian collection,
the Saturn V moon rocket. Huntsville also has the only complete full-scale shuttle stack on display in the country.
In addition, the center presents a steady rotation of exhibits
to draw in repeat visitors, consistently offering them something
new to see. The museum is currently featuring Black Holes:
Space Warps & Time Twists, which pulls visitors into the modern search for real black holes. This exhibit features a combination of hands-on physical models, computer-based
investigations, immersive experiences and a technology-assisted learning environment.
Next month, the exhibit Da Vinci: The Genius will come to
town, bringing to life Leonardo da Vinci as an inventor, artist,
scientist, anatomist, engineer, architect, sculptor and philosopher. Offering these exhibits is an important part of the center’s
business model.
“Most museums are dependent on contributions, but we are
a self-sustaining center,” Barnhart explains. “We have operating
revenues of $22 million. Half of that comes from educational
programs such as Space Camp and Robotics Camp. The other
half comes from people who buy tickets, movies, food and gifts.
It’s an educational attraction and we’ve really worked to develop this as a fascinating, historic and memorable destination
for those visiting Huntsville.”

74

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 Fall 2013


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Contents
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Leisure & Hospitality International - Fall 2013 - Cover3
Leisure & Hospitality International - Fall 2013 - Cover4
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