It was a hot Tuesday afternoon in August. The in-laws had just picked up our youngest for her special day with grandma & grandpa. My sister happened to have the day off from work. We had a full tank of gas & ambitious attitudes; the stars were aligning for a fun filled, totally spur-of-the-moment ROAD TRIP!!
I am a bit of an adventure junky; I enjoy the thrill of the unknown, the enticement of the journey, and my sister is exactly the same way! So there was really no telling where we might end up. It is a good thing we don’t possess monetary wealth because we would have probably be boarding plane. Haha! Though, technically speaking the sky wasn’t our limit, space was our final destination!
Our voyage destination, Wapakoneta! We grabbed food from Tropical Smoothie Café and ate on the road (the result was the stain my son is so desperately trying to hide in the pic below, haha!) and began our voyage down orange barrel expressway, better known as I-75.
As we entered the Armstrong Air & Space Museum we were greeted by a long hallway filled with images & info of all the Ohio astronauts, 25 in all. That is a lot of Astronauts from Ohio! One has to wonder, what is it about this state that makes so many people want to leave the planet? LOL!
The hall of fame, so to speak, really perked up the kiddos attention, they were officially hooked and eager to tour the museum! First things first, after that smoothie we were all in dire need of a potty break!!
This phrase is written on the bathroom wall when you walk into the woman’s room. Bahahaha!
We has some fun washing our hands too! We hadn’t even made it beyond the restrooms and we were already having a great time. Haha!
After emptying our bladders and having a good laugh we paid admission (kids 5 & under are FREE, kids 6-12 are $4, and adults are $8….which I thought was really reasonable especially for a family) and our space exploration education began!
The kiddos learned about Sputnik, satellites & gravity, the first man in space…..
I must admit, I feel a bit bad for Alan Shepard, he was the first man in space however he is not a household name. Nor is Alexei Leonov, who accomplished the first spacewalk.
Then it got real! We learned ALL about the preparation for space and the scary fact that an emergency Earth landing might be a possibility. It was at this point that the prospect of being an Astronaut didn’t sound very enticing to our son….our daughter was still all for it! (I think she might be an adventure junky…no idea where she gets it from?)
The attractions and exhibits weren’t just for the older kiddos, they remembered the tots too! They strategically placed tactile area for the little ones in locations where the big kids might linger a little longer. Like at the Gemini Docking Simulator….
Kiddos got a kick out of learning about space food & seeing REAL moon rock!!
We watched a brief movie on the moon landing & walk. Towards the end the movie terminology took an abrupt detour and caught some of us off guard. The narrator was speaking in scientific, technical terms throughout the documentary. Then they explained that once the Astronauts were back on Earth they had to be contained in a pod for some 16-19 days for fear of contagious “moon germs”. Everyone let out a giggle, Haha! Not a day has gone by since that the kids don’t reference moon germs at some point.
After the movie I walked down the ramp a bit and heard a familiar voice from my childhood & then it all came back to me and my heart sunk a bit. There was a monitor with President Regan speaking about the tragedy that had just occurred to the Challenger.
Suddenly I was six years old again and I could hear my mother sobbing as we watched the television screen. At the time I could not entirely comprehend the magnitude of the catastrophe. Now, as an adult, mother, and after being in total awe and wonder after touring the museum and having a better understanding of all the training and strenuous preparation that Astronauts undergo it is heartbreaking to think they did not get to reap the benefits of their hard work & they risked it ALL for simply the opportunity.
Final stop, gift shop!
No trip to the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum would be complete without Astronaut ice cream!!!
The facilities are so clean! The fun continues outside!
They offer a great picnic area outside with overhead shelter from rain/direct sun.
You could easy make a day of space exploration and aerodynamic fun….pack a lunch, visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, enjoy lunch, and then head back on the highway to the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton!
We on the other hand had a bit of a tight schedule; we had to get home ASAP. So we hit Skyline (we don’t have any in Toledo so it really added something special to the road trip) for Coney’s to go! Yep, I said to go, lol! Can you say more stains? Haha!
It was a stupendous day of air & space exploration education I was sad to see it end. Do you need some Space? What are you waiting for?