If you and your family are space enthusiasts, Space Foundation Discovery Center is one of the destinations to be while you are in Colorado Springs. It may be the region’s only space, science, and technology attraction. But, the exhibitions they have for a not-too-big space will blow your curiosity away. Not to mention their weekend or week-long programs that children and adult will like to explore.
Location: 4225 Arrowswest Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Visited: July 2016
We found the Space Foundation Discovery Center by coincidence. That day we were on the way to Garden of the Gods when my husband spotted the sign. We weren’t sure whether it was a museum, a training center, or just an office of a space foundation. So, we stopped there after the park.
And, aren’t we lucky? Space Foundation Discovery Center is a museum! Not only that. We could also use our membership card from Ft. Worth Science and Children’s Museum to get in there for free. Sweet!
The Space Foundation Discovery Center is an interactive, museum-quality destination that advances space-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S-STEM). It is opened in late 2012 but by the end of July 2016, they already achieved a landmark goal of welcoming more than 100,000 visitors!
Space Foundation Discovery Center: A Place for Curious Explorers of All Ages
Here are 4 things that you can explore while at the museum:
- El Pomar Space Gallery
Here in the gallery, you can explore a wide variety of space artifacts and interactive exhibits. When we walked into the gallery, the first thing we saw on the right side was Mars Viking Lander mockup, a gift from Lockheed Martin. Right across it was a Launch to the Moon exhibit that took us on a journey to examine the early lunar exploration and discoveries by the Soviet and American experiences. We also learned about how astronauts and cosmonauts live in space, what they eat, what they wear, and what they do.
The gallery also featured a collection of scale model rockets that demonstrate the variety found in vehicles used to launch objects into orbit — and beyond, as well as some other interesting artifacts that made the space enthusiasts wanted to stay hours in this place. And of course, there’s a place for you to build your own rocket and launch it.
- Northrop Grumman Science Center
Then we watched a presentation at the Northrop Grumman Science Center, featuring Science On a Sphere (SOS). SOS was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It’s the world’s first dynamic spherical projection system. It uses special software, satellite imagery, and four projectors to render images onto the global surface that provides dramatic, full-motion views of the Earth, Sun, moons, and planets in space. Surely, it’s an awesome presentation!
- Lockheed Martin Space Education Center
I must admit I was jealous when we walked into this area. This is the place where students and teachers enjoy state-of-the-art STEM equipment and hardware during field trips and professional development. When we walked into this room, I felt like in the U.S.S. Enterprise. The ones missing were Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.
There are 2 rooms offer activities and demonstrations in this area: AGI Space Missions Simulation Laboratory and Mars Robotics Laboratory. At AGI Space Missions Simulation Laboratory the students get the opportunity to use the same state-of-the-art modeling and visualization software used by space industry professionals. While at the Mars Robotics Laboratory participants get a chance to program robotic rovers to complete mission objectives on a simulated Martian terrain.
On Saturday, we went back to Space Foundation Discovery Center for our son to join a class at the Mars Robotics Laboratory. They offered a chance for children to program robotic rovers using LEGO NXT equipment and MINDSTORM software to simulate lifelike Mars rover missions. The class ran for an hour and it cost only $5! After that, he moved to the other room for a Minecraft class. We thought it would be a lesson for them to learn the techniques or tactics, but it wasn’t. It’s only a play together with other kids. My husband and I were kind of disappointed, but all the kids there were enjoying it much.
- Featured Exhibits
While we were there, the featured exhibit was presented locally by Pikes Peak Children’s Museum. It called Super Kids Save the World. This exhibit was based on the British children’s book, George Saves the World by Lunchtime written by Jo Readman and illustrated by Ley Honor Roberts. It’s about an ordinary family, who in the course of their day save the world simply by making responsible choices. We didn’t have enough time to explore this exhibit because it was close to 4 p.m. when we walked into the area; the closing time of the museum.
All in all, we were pleased with our special found today, thanks to my husband’s eagle eyes. Wish there is something like Space Foundation Discovery Center near we live in Ft. Worth, TX where the mission of the museum is very clear from the very first time we stepped in: to educate people about the importance of space.
Space Foundation Discovery Center: Admission
2 and under Free
ages 2-4 $2.00
ages 5-17 $5.00
Seniors 65+ $7.50
college students with ID $7.50
Military 50% off adult admission with valid military ID, including Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, or Retiree.
Space Foundation Discovery Center: Hours of Operation
Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.