Comment of the Day: Tourism, the Final Frontier

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TOURISM, THE FINAL FRONTIER “Let’s face it, if you’ve ever been to Space Center Houston, it’s mostly geared towards elementary school field trips. It wasn’t til just a few years ago, one of the *real* crown jewels of America’s leftover space hardware, a complete friggin Saturn V, was even given a roof to protect it from the elements for posterity. I love NASA and remember being able to run around all over the campus with nary a locked door as a kid, but JSC simply hasn’t kept up with being a top toursist destination, domestically or internationally. Much like other ‘attractions’ in Houston, people see them incidentally when here visiting relatives or on business, they’re not destinations in themselves. I swear I think more people come down 45 and 59 from other states to see Galveston than Houston. Maybe we need to build that giant dome over the Loop after all to get some tourist cred.” [SL, commenting on Why No Shuttle for Houston? Because Space Center Houston Isn’t So Big with the Tourists]

7 Comment

  • I agree. Its a real shame that we don’t have a world class space museum at JSC (or, heaven forbid, in the city itself). I think it’s great that NASA has focused so much of their outreach on getting kids excited about science and the space program, but perhaps some more investment in the voting age and above crowd would pay dividends as well.

  • Y’all have it all wrong. NASA was where space was being explored. Why would a space ops center double as a museum?

  • A couple of years ago I went to JSC to take some “Flat Stanley” pics for my neice and had to be told by the guard at the gate of the rocket park about the Saturn V. No signage, no real mention of it at the Space Center Houston playground or anywhere else – just a guard happened to tell me that a good picture was inside a big hangar. I would have never known it was there. The crown jewel of JSC (which completely blows away every other piece of memorabilia on the complex) is a virtual unknown. JSC needed a new publicist.

  • I’m another one who doesn’t understand why the tourist part of NASA has to be at the same location as the working part.

    The Clear Lake area would be just fine with NASA employees, they don’t need the tourist attraction (and it is a lame one, let’s face it).

    Imagine if we had used the Astrodome as a space museum. We could very well have a shuttle on its way.

  • To further elaborate on my original comment, the visitor side of JSC should be more like KSC. If you’ve been and taken the full tour, it’s freakin’ amazing. Not only do you get to see all the relics type stuff, but parts of the tour also visit active, working areas, such as the Vehicle Assembly Building, launchpads, landing runway, even the giant clean room where shuttle cargos were packed, satellites readied for launch, etc. Sure, JSC doesn’t have this stuff, but it does have Mission freakn’ Control, astronaut training facilities, command centers for various other NASA satellites and space probe missions, “space technology” development labs, etc. Maybe if more of this was visible, and promoted, to the general public there would be more support and subsequent funding.

    MidtownCoog: Is Gettysburg is just a small town in Pennsylvania?

  • It is strange that the fourth largest city – HOUSTON- has virtually no tourism industry. Whenever I am overseas and state that fact, people are shocked. All they think of houston is “houston we have a problem.” Or those that have visited are always bored. You can only shop, eat, and drink here.
    Why would someone plan a vacation here to see what? Maybe the JSC, umm the Galleria, a museum or two. Houston is a big city with not much to do, and you need a car for everything. Visitors who stay downtown would have to take a 50-60 dollar cab ride to JSC and be disappointed in what it has to offer for adults. Also downtown shuts down everyday around 3pm. I guess tourists could visit the airport-like tunnel system ;).
    I love houston but seriously there has been some poor urban planning.

  • Not all big cities are tourist cities. How many tourists visit Birmingham (UK), Manchester, Lyon, Katowice, Novosibirsk, Pusan, etc? A few, no doubt, but these cities and many like them are not major destinations for tourists.

    I fully agree that JSC could and should be better positioned to be a tourist destination. But for Houston overall to aspire to tourist popularity seems like a silly, pointless goal.