Have you heard about the Challenger Space Center in Arizona? The Space center has lots of displays that are space oriented or about the people who were in space shuttles.
Unfortunately, it is not very “wee ones” friendly.
As you can see above, this is the front of the building where visitors parking is located. The entrance is quite a ways a way (on the west side of the building) and there is a sidewalk but doesn’t reach the end of the building nearest the parking lot. Luckily it wasn’t’ a very busy time at the museum. On our way from the parking lot to the museum, there were displays of how far each planet was to each other and their relative size to one another. Unfortunately, some of the displays were broken. So, we didn’t spend much time on that and walked in.
The entrance to the museum is pretty nice with a bridge that you can cross to get into the museum. The bridge goes over an outdoor, below ground level patio where there were a few picnic benches.
Here’s the patio that the bridge goes over from a higher view. The wall that goes around the patio area is about 3 1/2-4 ft tall near the bridge. Which means kids will want to climb it. There is a sign that says “no climbing or sitting on wall” but if you have never been there before, you might not realize that this wall that looks pretty normal blocks off to this patio that has a 20 foot drop to the ground. So, once again, not wee one friendly.
The entrance has a pretty nice view of this big mural. There is a small little balcony that opens up to this big room that had tons of building blocks. The check in/gift shop/ticket purchasing was to the right in a very small gift shop that was pretty much empty. The flow of traffic for purchasing admission was a bit jumbled. The people ahead of us asked for the tour, and I think the tour guide was going to corral us too, but knowing my children’s stamina for going at another persons’ pace, we self toured (walked around).
This was a interactive flight experience but it was out of order. There was a button panel that the kids could push, and they did, but the buttons didn’t actually do anything so that was over pretty quickly.
This was made of Lego bricks, which was pretty cool Of course, the kids wanted to touch it, and that was a no no.
This was the big room we saw from the balcony. My kids really liked the elevator ride and this room was pretty cool with blue building foam pieces, similar to the Arizona Science Center. I have heard, however, that they aren’t always available for use. We snuck in with one of the camps and played with them and the kids.
Munchie had fun.
A bookshelf in the corner of the big room and a tent. There was also a small table with a game that didn’t seem to work.
The roof top was neat to see out, but it was really hot, everything is white so its reflecting off. Not a big deal, but the stunner was that the roof exit/entrance locks on you so if you don’t put the brick in the door (or, perhaps one of your nosey kids picks it up and chucks it away from the door it is supposed to hold open), the door slams and locks behind you. I was crazy nervous the whole time we were up there that this scenario was going to take place and I would have to call the museum to send someone to open the door. I wasn’t sure, so we hurried back inside as it was already 107 degrees outside.
Unfortunately many displays had stantions (ropes) around them or do not touch signs, so I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures. Munchie can read now and isn’t much of a touchy person anyhow, but the other two kiddos are very, um……hands on.
The museum is much better for older kids-middle school and up would be my best estimate for this museum. I had read reviews on yelp and google that didn’t explain why it was a “quick visit” museum, so I hope I have elaborated on why this wasn’t really appropriate for this age group . The movie and planetarium weren’t available the day we visited because they were rented out for a private event. There were also classrooms in different parts of the museum that we didn’t go into as there were a few camps going on.
All in all-the museum is something we will go to again, but in about 8 years.
Challenger Space Center Arizona
21170 N 83rd Ave
Peoria, AZ 85382