The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is Great for Family Bonding

rocket center

Do you think you have what it takes to man the first human mission to Mars? According to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville Alabama, my son and I have exactly what it takes! We’ve made a habit of venturing to the museum every Saturday for the last four weeks. It’s a fantastic way to bond and learn about everything to do with astronomy. Whether you’re a big aviation nut or deep space enthusiast, the USSRC is filled with hands on adventure. Now, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering why in the heck I have fallen so in love with the Rocket Center Museum. That’s a fair question that requires a bit of explaining. 

You see, I’ve been obsessed with the stars since I can remember. During the summers, my father and I would escape into the wilderness, hike through rugged terrain, and end the evening on the highest peak we could find. My father was always working at the mill, so these small bits of time always meant a lot. We would spend the entire night star gazing. Tracing constellations and deciphering the astrological stories of the past. To me, I felt like Icarus, learning to fly through the power of a telescope and compass. I can remember those nights and the wet Alabama air perfectly. It was a few years after that that my father passed away. I don’t like to talk about that part too much, but his legacy of exploration and inquisitiveness lit a fire in me.  

I often like to joke that I hold the unofficial world record for most Alabama museums attended. Out of all of them, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center just might be my favorite. Its array of scientific experiences is mind blowing. Now that my son is a bit older, it’s the perfect opportunity to impart my father’s love of astronomy to the next generation. A bit of family tradition that lives on. Of course, convincing my son to go to the museum was a whole other bag of worms. It was tough enough to drag him away from his phone, but to convince him that going on an underwater walking expedition was going to be life changing, that was a challenge all its own. After a bit of bargaining, we set off for the day.  

Let me tell you, the Sea TREK Helmet Diving tour is an absolute blast. At the outset, you put on a specialized diving helmet that allows for you to breathe normally and stay dry under water. You then spend the next good while learning about diving techniques and astronomy training as you’re led on a walking expedition. That thirty minutes truly did change my son’s life. He came out of the tank jumping up and down, repeating every little fact he had been told. I could not get him to calm down for the life of me. That’s not where the day ended though. We ran all over the museum, taking part in the family aviation and astronaut training. We even tried out the DIVR Plus Virtual Reality Snorkeling experience where you get into the Underwater Astronaut Trainer while wearing a waterproof VR headset. Needless to say, it was a jam-packed day full of incredible bonding moments. I’ll never forget as my son’s face as he was flying through the astronaut training procedures. It was the biggest grin I’d ever seen, spreading from ear to ear. That must have been what my dad saw on those late nights all those years ago. 

Since that original trip, we have gone to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center every Saturday for a month. I had a buddy fly up from Wisconsin who’s does interior painting to join us on our last adventure. He was visiting from out of town and my son was so excited to teach him about the solar system. At this point, my son and I have done every experience a couple times over. I’ll tell you, we haven’t gotten anywhere near bored. There are always new things to learn on the Shuttle Experience, Flight Simulator, and Apollo 11 VR. The crew is always willing to answer our random questions, giving great insights into the future of space travel. At this point, I’m starting to feel pretty confident my son may just fly to Mars when the time comes.  

Before you take off, I want to impart a few pro tips when it comes to spending a day at the museum. There is a ton to do, but taking it slow will give you the best experience. Plan to do a couple of the available simulations or trainings, but give yourself ample time to walk around and explore. Make sure you do a bit of planning in advance though, as tickets can sell out days or even weeks in advance. Especially for the more popular exhibits. Tickets are available for purchase on the website. Finally, there is quite a bit of museum parking and street parking nearby. Though on weekends it can sometimes get pretty crowded, so don’t plan to arrive too close to any of the scheduled events. Anyways, that about does it, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time. 

Attractions to Check Out in Tuscaloosa in 2019

Attractions to Check Out in Tuscaloosa in 2019

 Tuscaloosa Amphitheater 

Located near the University of Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater is the largest outdoor amphitheater in West Alabama. Seating up to 8,400 people, the theater is a major venue for popular musical performances and shows. The amphitheater opened in 2011 with a performance by the Avett Brothers and Band of Horses. Since then it’s had performances from artists such as Kenny Chesney and Patti LaBelle. Be sure to check their website as they provide updates on upcoming events and shows. 

 The River Market 

The River Market is a year-round marketplace that hosts weekly farmer’s markets and a variety of other events. The market, which is nestled right along the banks of the Black Warrior River, is open every Saturday from 7am-12pm. Head down for beautiful atmosphere, fresh foods, baked goods, artisan goods, locally made crafts, and much more! 

 Children’s Hands-On Museum 

“Hands-on” isn’t just a clever part of their name—it’s precisely what they offer! The museum offers a multitude of interactive exhibits that focus on the sciences, art, and other fun topics for children ages 0-13 (being a kid at heart counts as well). Exhibitions include a play area designed to replicate a farmer’s market, a hospital that educates kids on healthcare, a part palace, and much more! They also host events year-round that promote curiosity and learning for kids, including fun biology classes and STEAM workshops. 

 The Bama Theatre 

The Bama Theatre is a historic building in the city of Tuscaloosa. Since 1938, it’s provided shows, cultural events, and community events. Today, the Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre Company and the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers reside at the Bama Theatre. The Theatre hosts plenty of splendid and interesting events including a Jewish Film Festival every spring, an art gallery, and concert performances. 

 Paul W. Bryant Museum 

The Paul Bryant Museum pays tribute to the legendary University of Alabama coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant, as well as numerous other notable athletes from the university. Bryant’s coaching career spanned 25 years, during which he won a record total of 323 games, and six national championships. Exhibits include a Hall of Honor, the history and tradition of the Crimson Tide football team, a crystal replica of Bryant’s famous houndstooth hat, and more.  

See something you think should be added to this list? Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me

DHUMC TUSCALOOSA 

DHUMC Tuscaloosa covers events, shows, restaurants, bars, community culture, business news, new attractions, education, and more. As long as it’s related to Tuscaloosa, we cover it! 

Beneficial Event in Evangeline’s Restaurant Tuscaloosa

Evangeline’s Restaurant

Food and Wine Pairing Dinner @ Evangeline’s Restaurant: A Beneficial Event

Wisconsin Evangeline’s WineHave you tried to participate in a beneficial event? Have you ever attempted to pair your dinner with wine? Do you know what wine is most suitable for the course being served to you? If you have no idea and you’re interested to have your ordinary dinner to a fine level, Evangeline’s Restaurant could take care of that for you.

Food and wine pairing, though it’s very interesting and a nice way to have dinner, it is only practiced by a seldom number of diners. Most of these restaurants are high-end and if they are not in that class, the restaurant is probably hidden or not very well known in the area. It’s pretty much unavoidable why some locals haven’t experienced this kind of dining because they think “it’s just a waste of time/money”, which shouldn’t be their focus because that is not what food and wine pairing is all about. Evangeline’s Restaurant wants to remove that impression from the locals and change it to a more positive view.