Columbia Memorial Space Center a Great Place to Space Out and Learn

The Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA.

Do you have one of those mom-friends who’s an endless universe of information when it comes to fun stuff to do with kids? I think we all do (right?), and thank goodness for those moms in our lives who are around to recharge our “what are we going to do today” mom-batteries when we run low on new ideas for the activity log. So when I started to notice that this friend had been visiting the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA, on a fairly regular basis (seriously, about every 10-14 days inside of a month’s time), I figured it was time to check out this place.

Several of the displays at the Columbia Memorial Space Center explain Downey’s (CA) integral role in space shuttle development.

Another lovely tribute to Downey’s (CA) contribution to NASA and our nation’s space program.

Downey, CA, was home to countless innovations throughout space and its storied history. You can learn more at the Columbia Memorial Space Center.

T and C launch a bottle rocket (really, it’s a soda bottle!) at the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, CA).

I have no idea why I’d waited until the THIRD time I saw my friend’s social media check-ins here to head over, because it’s fantastic for kids, especially for preschoolers. For starters, the museum doesn’t have a huge floor plan at all, so little people management is quite easy, even for moms of two or more kiddos. Given my friend has three girls ages three- to seven-years-old, it became quite obvious why she frequents this spot for outings and play dates. It’s quite easy to have one kid solving tangram puzzles at one station as the other is busy with the rocket launcher.

C was just as into the exhibits as T was at the Columbia Memorial Space Center… here both of them try to pick up and maneuver objects with remote-controlled robotic hands.

C’s paper airplane takes off at the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, CA).

Things are looking up at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA.

While T seemed to enjoy pretty much everything and anything we saw and did at the Columbia Memorial Space Center, it was the “soft landing” exhibit that captured his attention for over an hour.

Also, there are activities at every turn for every kind of kid. The hands-on exhibits range from a paper plane construction and launch area to a computer-simulated game where kids can create their own solar systems. There’s even a LEGO Mindstorms laboratory, where kids learn how to program model space robots and make them perform scaled-down space tasks.

With help from Dad, T programs his LEGO Mindstorms robot for a mission to Mars.

Mission accomplished! C and T send their LEGO Mindstorms robot to Mars at the Columbia Memorial Space Center.

For just $5 per person (three-and-under FREE!), the Columbia Memorial Space Center is an out-of-this-world deal for families. We spent almost three hours here together enjoying its many interactive and educational exhibits. The museum even has a preschool program series every Thursday and Saturday morning. For $10 per class, kids ages three- to five-years old can enjoy an hour-long parent-participation session focused on topics ranging from weather patterns to volcanoes.

The Smithsonian-based exhibit “Suited for Space” is open until April at the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, CA).

T’s more than ready for a return voyage to the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA.

It’s safe to say we will log a return flight soon to the Columbia Memorial Space Center, and I’m willing to bet you’d copy that, RMT’ers!

PLEASE NOTE – FRIDAY MARCH 2, 2012 (DATE OF THIS POST), THE CENTER WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC FOR A SPECIAL EVENT.

A collage of fantastic voyages ready for lift-off at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA.

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