It’s ACL Festival in Austin (a big, here mega-known music festival). Since Celina’s school is directly in the access area of the event area, the kids already have Friday noon closing time not to get lost in the traffic chaos. So we used the weekend, which was extended by a few hours, for a trip to Houston. To collect study points for the child, a visit to the Natural History Museum and the NASA Space Center are on the agenda, with a short trip to the ocean.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
We usually can’t be enticed with museum visits, but why not use the rainy weekend – yep, there can be bad weather here – for a natural history experience for once. There are Study Points, it’s dry and warm, and you can learn something too.
The Museum of Natural Science has several exhibit areas, such as African Wildlife, Cabinet of Curiosities, a great gemstone exhibit, a room on the wildlife and environment of our beautiful Texas, and very recently opened, a Prehistoric area. Now you expect a classic museum with display cases and dusty artifacts. Nope, not here! The exhibits are surprisingly modern, and you can check out many things. Especially the prehistoric exhibition, starting with trilobites and the prehistoric animals up to the dinosaurs, and then up to the emergence of man, are modern and super staged with lighting technology. Unfortunately, the exhibition about Egypt opens a few days later, so we have a reason to come back again.
Side trip to Galveston
Since we haven’t seen the southern ocean yet this year, we chug toward the Gulf Coast on Saturday afternoon. Finally the rain clouds are moving away and it’s not perfect beach weather, but the ocean is always good for the soul and a beach walk into the sunset is kind of romantic. And a Sunday breakfast at 29° C on the beach under palm trees is always worth a trip to the coast.
NASA Space Center
For those of us who grew up in the age of Sigmund Jaehn and the space programs of the former USSR and the USA, the center of space missions is a must-see! And who doesn’t know the line from the Apollo 13 movie, “Houston, we have a problem!”
We’ve been here before, on a brief first visit in summer 2019, but a) it was crowded then, b) there’s been a lot of remodeling since then due to closures during the pandemic, and c) we also wanted to see the Space Labs. Our little girl was less enthusiastic at first. Still, the new Space Stations – interactive stations where you can test your skills docking a space capsule with the ISS, simulators for piloting a vehicle for the Mars mission, or an interactive simulation of the moon landing – managed to excite her as well. We also boarded the Boeing with the Space Shuttle once again, took a look at the Saturn rocket, and took part in a guided tour of Space Labs, the astronauts’ work and research center.