An Expensive Playground Loosely Based on a Space Theme
Being new to the area, I figured a trip to Space Center Houston was in order. I was disappointed at what I found and glad that I hadn't paid the full $18.95 (the info posted here is out of date - it's no longer $17.95) because I bought my tickets at HEB at a discount - $12.95.
My first disappointment was the $5 parking fee. Once inside I scoped out the food court and the prices there were exorbitant . Even the soda machines were a rip off - $3 for a soda from the machine! Also, as another poster mentioned, there are additional fees for specific rides. I expect prices to be high at tourist attractions, but I really felt like I was being taken advantage of here.
There is what amounts to a fancy playground in the center of the building. There are signs everywhere that tell you for an extra $2 you can become a member and kids can come play anytime. If it weren't for the $5 parking fee that would be a good deal because the kids were all having a good time. But remember, it was just a play area - they weren't learning anything about space. Around the perimeter there are some more educational interactive exhibits, but kids got bored with those pretty quickly.
There are a few films to see while there and they were worthwhile, but nothing to write home about. The tram tour is good because you get to go into the actual Space Center. The tram makes three stops, one that takes you to the control center for the Apollo missions which was in operation until 1996, one to the space shuttle mock up area where you look down from a gallery above and that was very interesting, and finally they drop you at the rocket park which has three rockets - one housed inside that's pretty impressive. However, once you've seen it once there's no need to go back and it's not good for little kids - I'd say kids would have to be at least 9 before they appreciated the tour at all.
I may take visitors with young children to Space Center Houston, but it won't be high on my list.