You don’t have to venture too far away from Hyattsville to feel like an astronaut.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a major NASA space research laboratory located in Greenbelt, Md., is a mere 15-minute drive.
A lesser-known place on the laboratory campus is the Goddard Visitor Center, which is free and open to the public. It’s also a pretty fun place to take kids.
In the main room of the visitor’s center is a full astronomy exhibit with several interactive displays, one of which features a life-size space capsule that kids can climb inside. In another section, a movie about space is shown on a 360-degree screen. And if you’re feeling inspired, there’s a coloring station with sketches of astronaut and space pictures waiting to be filled in.
When the weather is favorable, you can even have lunch outside on picnic tables beside life-like NASA space models. And there’s a gift shop where you can purchase NASA souvenirs such as that ubiquitous astronaut ice cream.
Although it’s much smaller, the Goddard Visitor Center is the next best thing to the National Air and Space Museum, especially because it’s less crowded and much closer for Hyattsville residents.