Author Topic: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?  (Read 1831 times)

Offline buel

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Hi,
I already have a thread about my proposed trip to Washington and Florida but what id like to address is what month would be good to visit, and, of course, which month would be bad.

My plan is to fly to Washington firstl on around Friday 24th of August and spend 5 days there to visit the Air and Space museum and then fly to Floriday and spend 4 days or so making the most of the Kennedy Space Centre.

Does anyone see a problem eith going on or around that date? The reason i ask is that a very nice man on here warned me about school holidays and the mayhem that there is around the museum.

Regarding K.S.C, im wondering if there'll be any events around that time worth seeing or attending?
Im thinking a rocket launch or Astronaut talk?

Finally, i did think of making it a total dream holiday by including NASA Headquarters at Houston too?
Please feel free to offer any advice.
Thank you.












Offline manboy

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #1 on: 01/16/2012 03:59 PM »
Hi,
I already have a thread about my proposed trip to Washington and Florida but what id like to address is what month would be good to visit, and, of course, which month would be bad.

My plan is to fly to Washington firstl on around Friday 24th of August and spend 5 days there to visit the Air and Space museum and then fly to Floriday and spend 4 days or so making the most of the Kennedy Space Centre.

Does anyone see a problem eith going on or around that date? The reason i ask is that a very nice man on here warned me about school holidays and the mayhem that there is around the museum.

Regarding K.S.C, im wondering if there'll be any events around that time worth seeing or attending?
Im thinking a rocket launch or Astronaut talk?

Finally, i did think of making it a total dream holiday by including NASA Headquarters at Houston too?
Please feel free to offer any advice.
Thank you.

The NASA Headquarters are in Washington D.C. not Houston, and there isn't really anything there for the public (If I recall correctly there is only a small library, a Nobel prize and an old LES suit). I don't think the crowds at the Air and Space museums and Kennedy Space Center will be that bad because a lot of schools would have already started back up again (where I live they go back on the 22nd).

Also I believe Discovery should be at the Udvar Hazy (the second Air & Space museum) by the time you visit, which will be pretty cool.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2012 04:03 PM by manboy »
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Offline rdale

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #2 on: 01/16/2012 04:02 PM »
NASA HQ also has a small gift shop...

Offline Antares

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #3 on: 01/16/2012 04:45 PM »
The NASA Headquarters are in Washington D.C. not Houston

Don't tell JSC that :)

DC and Florida in August?  You're a braver (and sweatier) man than I am.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #4 on: 01/16/2012 05:37 PM »
DC and Florida in August are both ugly hot. You'd be better going in winter months. But neither time is particularly bad in terms of crowds. Late August the kids are going back to school. Summer vacation months are July-August, and probably spread out during that time (except around the July 4 holiday).

DC the times to avoid are March (lots of conventions, no hotel rooms) and April-May (lots of school groups, Cherry Blossom time). The rest of the year is not going to be bad, except for the weather--cold in winter, hot in summer.

For DC and Florida you should also avoid Easter and spring break, although lots of schools have different times for spring break, so you'd need to check that.

September can be warm in both places, but the crowds will be thinner.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #5 on: 01/16/2012 05:45 PM »
NASA HQ also has a small gift shop...

It's not very good. You won't find anything there you cannot buy online, except for NASA notepads. In terms of gift shops:

-KSC visitor's center has a good one
-Houston visitor's center has a good one

Both of the above are rather commercial, meaning that they aim to a broad market. I was generally impressed with the book selection at KSC, less so at JSC.

There is a decent, small, private gift shop on NASA Road 1 near JSC that's decent. You can occasionally find weird and obscure things there.

I've been to the above four in the past year, so I'm pretty current on them (I was at HQ a week ago).

Other NASA centers have generally unimpressive gift shops and usually you cannot get to them unless you get through security. I've been to DFRC, Ames and JPL gift shops (JPL not for a couple of years, DFRC and Ames in the past year). Of these, DFRC was the best, but good luck trying to get to it.

In all honesty, if you do the KSC gift shop, you've pretty much hit the most important one. Searching online is fine after that.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #6 on: 01/16/2012 05:58 PM »
NASA HQ also has a small gift shop...

It's not very good. You won't find anything there you cannot buy online, except for NASA notepads. In terms of gift shops:

Other NASA centers have generally unimpressive gift shops and usually you cannot get to them unless you get through security. I've been to DFRC, Ames and JPL gift shops (JPL not for a couple of years, DFRC and Ames in the past year). Of these, DFRC was the best, but good luck trying to get to it.

The Langley gift shop is at the Virginia Air and Space Museum and is right at the entrance, it is good quality as it has both the general giftshop items for an air/space museum plus patches for missions the last time I was there.

NASA Wallops has a gift shop easily accessible to the public at the visitor's center.  While the VC is pretty empty it is free, while the gift shop has quite a large selection of patches (though they might not have the absolute newest)  In ranking from the gift shops I have been to , would be 1. KSCVC 2. Virginia Air and Space Museum 3.  Wallops  4.  NASA HQ (Smithsonian doesnt have NASA patches that I could find)
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Offline Nittany Lion

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #7 on: 01/16/2012 06:35 PM »
Hi,
I already have a thread about my proposed trip to Washington and Florida but what id like to address is what month would be good to visit, and, of course, which month would be bad.


I spent 5 touristy days in DC in May 2011 and 8 more over Thanksgiving week 2011. If you can manage travel around Thanksgiving, I highly recommend that time frame. The hotel room rate at Thanksgiving was half of what it was in May.

Whenever you go be aware that DC is a late-rising town, at least the tourists. Most everything touristy opens at 10:00 AM. The school groups, and there were some even during Thanksgiving week, seem to arrive about 11:15 AM, so get to indoor tourist sites when they open.

Plan to see the outdoor attractions (Vietnam, Lincoln, Korea, MLK, FDR, Jefferson, WW II, Washington, and Arlington) before 10:00 AM. Study up on the Metro rail system on-line. See http://www.wmata.com/rail

MLK and FDR are side-by-side on the Tidal Basin. Definitely try to be at MLK around 9:00 AM. The sun is rising over the Tidal Basin and the MLK statue looks into the rising sun with Jefferson off to his right. Impressive.

FDR is special and quite under-publicized.

If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me.

« Last Edit: 01/16/2012 06:44 PM by Nittany Lion »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #8 on: 01/16/2012 09:46 PM »
Hi,
I already have a thread about my proposed trip to Washington and Florida but what id like to address is what month would be good to visit, and, of course, which month would be bad.


I spent 5 touristy days in DC in May 2011 and 8 more over Thanksgiving week 2011. If you can manage travel around Thanksgiving, I highly recommend that time frame. The hotel room rate at Thanksgiving was half of what it was in May.

Whenever you go be aware that DC is a late-rising town, at least the tourists. Most everything touristy opens at 10:00 AM. The school groups, and there were some even during Thanksgiving week, seem to arrive about 11:15 AM, so get to indoor tourist sites when they open.

Plan to see the outdoor attractions (Vietnam, Lincoln, Korea, MLK, FDR, Jefferson, WW II, Washington, and Arlington) before 10:00 AM. Study up on the Metro rail system on-line. See http://www.wmata.com/rail

MLK and FDR are side-by-side on the Tidal Basin. Definitely try to be at MLK around 9:00 AM. The sun is rising over the Tidal Basin and the MLK statue looks into the rising sun with Jefferson off to his right. Impressive.

FDR is special and quite under-publicized.

If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me.

Yep, that's all true. If you're going to see the monuments on the outside, then I would suggest altering your sleep schedule to maximize your enjoyment. First, do a walking tour of the Mall early in the morning. You won't find many people down there then (although I think that the Lincoln reflecting pool is still torn up). You can easily do: Washington Monument, WWII, Vietnam, Lincoln, Korea, MLK and FDR in a single walk, and even Jefferson. But your best bet would be to catch a few each morning.

Then do them again later at night. They really are impressive when lit up. If you are lucky to be there when the school kids are not, the monuments are really nice at night. Lincoln is particularly powerful at night, although the last time I was there a Park Ranger was yelling out the history to a tour group and totally destroyed the ambiance. Oh, and the area's quite safe. DC's violent crime rate has fallen quite a bit over the past 10+ years and the Mall is far from any crime areas.

Offline manboy

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #9 on: 01/16/2012 10:11 PM »
DC and Florida in August are both ugly hot. You'd be better going in winter months.
From my experience D.C. doesn't get that hot (stays in the 80s) but than again you may be from a colder climate than me.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #10 on: 01/16/2012 10:38 PM »
DC and Florida in August are both ugly hot. You'd be better going in winter months.
From my experience D.C. doesn't get that hot (stays in the 80s) but than again you may be from a colder climate than me.

Originally a much colder climate. But I've lived in DC for 20 years now. August and September often get into the 90s and occasionally tops 100. Then again, I'm usually in air conditioning all day.

Offline buel

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #11 on: 01/17/2012 11:20 AM »
Hey a massive thank you to you all for the posts, especially Blackstar, Manboy and Nittany Lion (i will pm you, thank you for that).

Ok, i should clear up that gift shops are not my primary reason for making this trip. Seeing a shuttle (originally it was Enterprise but now i've read Discovery will be there, that's even better. Much, much better) and seeing where the Apollo missions took off from, are my main reasons and i am very very excited about my trip (my gf is 50% as excited, i think).

Im really glad the issue of heat/hot weather has reared it's ugly head as i absolutely hate the heat. I regularly holiday in Iceland due to my hatred of being hot and sweaty. So i guess August is out. How would October be for the temperature and school hollidays please?

Thank you once again.










Offline Blackstar

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #12 on: 01/17/2012 02:15 PM »
Hey a massive thank you to you all for the posts, especially Blackstar, Manboy and Nittany Lion (i will pm you, thank you for that).

Ok, i should clear up that gift shops are not my primary reason for making this trip. Seeing a shuttle (originally it was Enterprise but now i've read Discovery will be there, that's even better. Much, much better) and seeing where the Apollo missions took off from, are my main reasons and i am very very excited about my trip (my gf is 50% as excited, i think).

Im really glad the issue of heat/hot weather has reared it's ugly head as i absolutely hate the heat. I regularly holiday in Iceland due to my hatred of being hot and sweaty. So i guess August is out. How would October be for the temperature and school hollidays please?

Thank you once again.

October would probably be great for both places. I would suggest early October, because there should still be leaves on the trees in DC.

Offline Thorny

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Re: What month to visit National A+S and K.Space Center?
« Reply #13 on: 01/17/2012 02:30 PM »
From my experience D.C. doesn't get that hot (stays in the 80s) but than again you may be from a colder climate than me.

I was in DC the first week of August a few years ago, and it was 95 degrees and felt like about 100% humidity. I'll never do that again.


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