Courtesy of Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau Kids can pretend they're traveling through space at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, showcases a fascinating and comprehensive collection of rockets, missiles, boosters, and space memorabilia. On display are capsules and space suits used over the years in NASA missions and a mock-up of Saturn V, the 363-foot rocket that helped launch astronauts to the moon. There's also a full-size mock-up of a space shuttle and a lunar rover vehicle that features tires made of piano wire to ensure that they would be able to withstand extreme temperatures.

Kids can journey to Mars and attempt the Mars Climbing Wall. At Kid Cosmos, would-be astronauts under the age of eight can crawl around the space station with an adult. They'll also enjoy the space shuttle simulator, where kids can experience the feeling of traveling through space.

Journey to Jupiter offers a thundering sound system and a chair that lurches and rolls as if the visitor is rocketing through space. The Center's remarkable Space Camp program for children under 18 years old offers hands-on experience in space and aviation. Kids use state-of-the-art simulators to learn about space missions, rocket building, and robotics.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Address: One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL

Telephone: 256/721-7150 or 800/637-7223

Hours of Operation: Daily, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Admission: Adults, $16; children, $11

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Alabama State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Alabama, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.