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Space Center Houston Vs. Kennedy Space Center —— The Complete Guide

Space Center Houston Vs. Kennedy Space Center —— The Complete Guide

Long gone are the days when space lovers needed to visit a bookstore in order to venture off into space. Now space fanatics can experience space up close and personal at Houston’s very own Space Center. 

It didn’t earn a spot as one of Houston’s must-see attractions for no reason. Still, many tourists and space lovers alike often confuse Space Center Houston with the Kennedy Space Center. 

However, they couldn’t be any more different, like the difference between hair salons and barber shops.

So what makes Space Center Houston different from Kennedy Space Center? 

How is Space Center Houston different from Kennedy Space Center? 

Space Center Houston is different from Kennedy Space Center because it is the official museum and visitor center of NASA based in Texas. Furthermore, this is where all of the astronauts in the United States are trained and the official home of NASA’s mission control. 

On the other hand, Kennedy Space Center is the base for NASA’s landing operations and space shuttle launches in Florida. 

Space Center Houston

Now, before you rush and plan a trip to Florida, Space Center Houston provides visitors with plenty of opportunities to get wrapped up in the NASA space scene. 

Fortunately for you, we’ve already compiled all the information you need to see for yourself what sets Space Center Houston apart from Kennedy Space Center. 

Space Center Houston is separated into two different parts. The first part is the main museum, and the second part is the actual NASA Johnson Space Center facility—where yes, you can see government facilities working in real-time. 

Arriving at Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston is located at 1601 E Nasa Parkway, and it takes a little over half an hour to get there if coming from downtown Houston. So, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your car transmission checked out before making the drive out to the Space Center. 

Fortunately, parking is not limited on-site, and it’s only five dollars. Yes, this is for the whole day. 

For those who don’t drive or want to save on gas prices, it’s also possible to get to Space Center Houston by taking public transportation. 

Admission into Space Center Houston

There are three types of tickets for admission into Space Center Houston. 

Ticket TypeDescription
StandardThe standard admission prices for Space Center Houston start off at $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for children (11 and under). For children under 3, admission is completely free.
Astronaut ExperienceIf you don’t feel like eating lunch outside at the nearest taco truck (row 105 taco truck), Space Center Houston provides the lunch with an astronaut experience for $69.95. Yes, this is with an actual real astronaut who’s been up in space with experiences and pictures to prove so.
VIP Space ExperienceFor the classified VIP space experience, people can take a level 9 tour of Space Center Houston. This includes a guided tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center and two days of entry for Space Center Houston.

The VIP experience costs $179.95.

Of course, different discounts are available to seniors, military personnel, etc.

But all tickets are nonrefundable, so make sure not to double book your trip on the day of a dentist appointment. It is recommended to either print out your mobile ticket or have it downloaded on your phone; that way, you can skip the ticket line and save time. 


Space Center Houston provides various experiences for guests visiting Space Center Houston. Such as the overnight family experience, which allows families to stay inside the facility for the night or camp outside in their own tents. 

The overnight experience at Space Center Houston does include meals, activities, and everything people need to spend their night among actual NASA artifacts. The prices start at $79.95 per person. 

Space Center Houston Attractions 

With plenty of permanent exhibitions at Space Center Houston, there are tons of things for visitors to do. We’ve selected a few of the best attractions to check out when at Space Center Houston. 

NASA Tram Tour

Depending on the time of the year, the NASA tram tour may change its routes. However, anyone taking the NASA Tram tour can depend on visiting: Rocket Park, The Missions Operation Control Room, and The Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. 

  • Rocket Park: Here, you can check out the different rockets from the space programs NASA was in charge of. 
  • The Missions Operation Control Room: This is the very room where all of the Apollo missions were started and organized up until the launches. 
  • The Space Vehicle Mockup Facility: This facility is where visitors can get a glimpse at how astronauts train for their journey into space on a mock replica of space rockets like the ISS. 

At the astronaut gallery, you can see the actual spacesuits and clothing worn by famous astronauts such as Michael Collins from Apollo 11 or Pete Conrad from Apollo 12. 

Portraits of every astronaut who’s ever gone into space with NASA are scattered along the walls for those interested in the history of NASA’s astronauts. 

The International Space Station Gallery gives people an idea of what it’s like to live on the ISS. The ISS is a massive science laboratory in space orbiting the earth right now at over 17,000 miles an hour. 

Yes, plenty of astronauts live on the ISS. 

The interactive show Living in Space played at the International Space Station Gallery, goes more in-depth about what everyday life is like on the ISS. 

Mission Mars

Although Mission Mars is a newer exhibit at Space Center Houston, it is worth checking out because it solely focuses on NASA‘s project to go to Mars.

The interactive exhibits at Mission Mars highlight the challenges that NASA’s astronauts are currently facing that they are striving to overcome in order to make Mission Mars a reality. 

Additionally, you can get a glimpse into the specialized vehicles NASA is developing to adapt to the harsh climate on Mars. 

All of the hands-on opportunities at this exhibit allow anyone with a big imagination to take a step away from earth and visualize what life would be like on Mars, not limited to the type of clothing, lifestyle, and even the kinds of technology that could be used on Mars. 

Perhaps, one of the best parts about Mission Mars is that anyone is allowed to touch a real-life meteorite of Mars. 

Mission Briefing Center

Mission Briefing Center is the place to go to keep updated with NASA’s latest missions on earth and in space. There are also live briefings with an actual NASA mission briefing officer for those who have tons of questions to ask. 

Note that the times are usually displayed on the guide of Space Center Houston you’ll receive at the front door. 

At Starship Gallery, there are three actual space crafts available to see. The Apollo 17 command module, the Gemini 5 capsule, and the Mercury 9 capsule—all of which have gone into space. 

Furthermore, you can also witness a Skylab trainer at work and see the processes behind testing a lunar rover test vehicle. For all you space fanatics, Starship Gallery is home to one of the eight pieces of lunar rock in the entire world. 

Lunar rock is just a fancy way of saying a piece of the moon.  Yes, you can actually touch the moon! 

Independence Plaza

Although Independence Plaza is actually outside Space Center Houston, it’s still a must-see attraction because visitors can see the actual Boeing 747 developed by NASA as a way to transport space shuttles from the landing site to Kennedy Space Center. 

Plus, you can even go to the top of the replica of the Boeing 747 here and check out the immersive mini exhibits that relate the history of Boeing 747.

The Theaters at Space Center Houston

With every Space Center ticket, visitors get access to two theaters: the Space Center Theatre and the Destiny Theatre. 

The Space Center Theatre

The Space Centre Theater is one of the largest 4K theaters in all of Texas. Here, guests can see different space documentaries, animations, and full-length movies. 

The Destiny Theatre 

The Destiny Theatre plays a short 15-minute film about the history of NASA and highlights its accomplishments. It’s great to give both children and adults more understanding of what NASA is. 

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center is a starting point for various scientific spacecraft. The Kennedy Space Center has been the launching control point for space missions such as Apollo-Soyuz, Skylab, Apollo, etc. 

There are over 100 astronauts working on the building grounds handling both ground control for America as well as the International Space Station. Moreover, rockets and shuttles continue to be launched and controlled by Kennedy Space Center. 

Kennedy Space Center Attractions

Not everyone can afford to jet over to Florida, so we’ve compiled a list of the attractions found at Kennedy Space Center that are different than Space Center Houston. 

Rocket Garden 

At Kennedy Space Center, visitors can walk among giants at Rocket Garden. With multiple rockets pointing to heaven, it’ll feel like walking through the redwood trees… but a space version. 

You’ll be able to see some of the authentic rockets: Delta II, Mercury-Redstone, and the Saturn 1B—the last remaining today. 

Heroes & Legends 

Heroes & Legends is an interactive exhibit that takes you down memory lane of the heroes before you. You’ll be able to explore what qualities an astronaut needs before daring to go into space. 

There’s also a 4D film about famous astronauts available to watch. Don’t forget to stop by the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on your way out because you can see authentic artifacts from the space programs that NASA has held over the years. 

Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour 

Suppose you don’t feel like doing a bunch of walking, then we recommend taking a seat on the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour. 

During the tour, people can go behind the scenes and learn what it takes for NASA to undergo a successful space mission. 

Plus, the tour takes you around the entire Kennedy Space Center, so you’ll be able to see other attractions as well. 

Race to the Moon 

Here you can stand under the actual Saturn V, the largest rocket in America. Race to the Moon is also an interactive exhibit where you can go back in time to the Apollo era.

Which is better to visit, Space Center Houston or Kennedy Space Center Houston? 

While both locations celebrate the exploration of space done by NASA, there is more to see and do regarding interactive exhibits at Space Center Houston. Additionally, Space Center Houston has over 400 different exhibits, so there is definitely something for everyone to see and do.


What are the opening hours for Space Center Houston?  

Space Center Houston opens at 10 AM and closes at 5 PM. However, do note that depending on holiday schedules, the hours may change. 

Does Space Center Houston offer audio tours?

Yes, Space Center Houston does offer audio tours.

These audio tours include even AR experiences which can be downloaded on any smartphone but do bring your own headphones if planning on taking advantage of Space Center Houston’s audio tours.  

Are there any tours to take that include Space Center Houston? 

There are two different types of tours to take at Space Center Houston. 

First, there is a six-hour tour which includes transportation to and from the Space Center Houston. This also allows people time to tour the city of Houston. 

The other tour available is for the entire day, which takes you throughout the city of Houston, the Space Center Houston, and  the Kemah Boardwalk. 

Does Space Center Houston provide food for visitors?

No. Food is not included with Space Center Houston admission unless it’s for lunch with the astronaut tour.

There is food though, available to purchase inside the space center. 

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