NASA's New Horizon space probe recently showed Earthlings our first photos of Pluto. And while the New Horizon proble left the third rock from the sun back in the year 2006, there's no need to travel for nine years for some out-of-this-world fun and learning. In honor of our solar system's eight planets and Pluto, the WhereTraveler probe has launched to find nine space-related attractions. And like Pluto, our No. 9 is pretty far out from the rest.
1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Launching from the East Coast of the United States, our first stop is Pier 86 in New York City. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's Space Shuttle Pavilion is home to Enterprise, the original NASA orbiter that paved the way for America's successful space shuttle program.
2. Carnegie Science Center
We next take a quit hop over to Pittsburgh to find out what would it be like to be an astronaut. Want to know how it feels to be weightless? International Space Station Modules explore sections of a two-story, walk-in replica of the International Space Station. Now our probe begins its westward journey.
3. McDonald Observatory
The first stop heading west is Fort Davis, Texas, home of the McDonald Observatory. It is one of the world's leading centers for astronomical research. Guests are invited to attend the Twilight Program and Star Party, where they will get sky constellation tours and view celestial objects via telescope.
4. Pima Air & Space Museum
As our probe continues to head west, it makes a stop in Tucson, Arizona. This desert attraction is one of the world's largest aerospace museums and features more than 300 aircraft, a space gallery and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame. The museum also holds events for children where they can build model airplanes and experiment with rockets. Now, the WhereTraveler probe continues its journey to the West Coast.
5. Griffith Observatory
Our first California stop is the Griffith Observatory, which is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles and features a planetarium, exhibits, public telescopes, a cafe and a bookstore. But plenty of people come not for views deep into space, but simply the breathtaking views overlooking Los Angeles. Admission and parking are free. And since we are in Los Angeles, let's check out another attraction.
6. The California Science Center
The Big Endeavour exhitit at this Los Angeles museum features photographs of some of the spectacular scenes from space shuttle Endeavour's flight over California and her 12-mile, 68-hour journey through city streets to its final destination in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center. The museum offers exhibits presented in interactive worlds. Time for lift-off, and the WhereTraveler probe heads north roving up Earth along the Western edge of North America.
7. Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
Located 40 miles southwest of Portland in McMinnville, Oregon, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum features the Space Flight Exhibit where travelers can learn the history of extraterrestrial exploration and check out boosters, spacecrafts, rockets and more. The museum features a variety of space-flight objects, from early rockets to lunar rovers. It also is home to the Spruce Goose, the largest airplane ever constructed. Famed avaitor Howard Hughes created the giant plane mostly out of wood to avoid radar detection during World War II. The war ended before the plane was finished, however. The Goose only flew once—at an altitude of 70 feet for about one minute in 1947. This giant now quietly sits at the Evergreen museum.
8. Museum of Flight
Taking a quick hop north, our space probe stops at Seattle's Museum of Flight. While there, check out the Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer, a full-scale mockup of the space shuttle orbiter. It was used as a test bed for upgrades to the shuttle fleet and for astronaut training such as extra-vehicular activity and emergency exits. There are exhibits dedicated to all things aviation, including space flight. Exhibits include a lunar rover and Apollo capsule models. Now, like NASA's New Horizon, our probe makes the longest part of its journey and heads across the Pacific Ocean to Japan.
9. Space World
In Kitakyushu City, Japan, is a theme park that can best be described as Disney-meets-Six-Flags-meets-Japanese-culture. Space World has a museum, live shows, characters in a Disney-eque parade and more. The park is heavy on roller coasters, including one in complete darkness and another with lots of loops and twists with a model of the Discovery Space Shuttle in the middle. Other coasters run the gamut from slow and kid-friendly to ones with high speeds and long drops. Even the ice-skating rink resembles a frozen space port. And before you leave, be sure to get a photo with some of the park's characters, including Lucky Rabbit, Vicky Rabbit, Frank 3000, Muni Muni, Miss Goodnight and Granchi.