National Space Centre
Enjoy a captivating introduction to the magic and mystery of our universe at the National Space Centre. With six hands-on galleries, more than 150 activities, a planetarium and a rocket tower, this is one of Britain’s biggest space-themed attractions. The National Space Centre’s entertaining and family-friendly exhibits cover everything from iconic journeys to the moon to the search for extraterrestrials and the makeup of the solar system.
Step inside the futuristic-looking building to an open-plan area with displays of meteorites, planets, rockets, spacesuits, video presentations and more. A good place to start your journey is in the 138-feet (42-meter) tall Rocket Tower. Relive the groundbreaking missions of Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space, and Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon. Spot original rockets, including a Blue Streak and Thor Able.
Another major highlight is the 360-degree planetarium, which is named after the legendary English astronomer Sir Patrick Moore. Watch animated movies about how the endeavors of astronomers and astronauts help educate the public about the universe. Take a virtual tour of the night sky and identify constellations with a knowledgeable guide.
Examine spacesuits and a genuine Russian-built Soyuz capsule in the Into Space gallery. Try to recreate the Big Bang, look for planets on a virtual voyage and get up-close with aliens in the Exploring the Universe gallery. This area also contains a walk-through mock solar system, complete with planets such as Jupiter, Mars and Venus.
Discover more about the satellites used for predicting the weather and natural disasters in Orbiting Earth. Go to the Space Now! section to find out what is currently happening in space. Pretend you’re an apprentice astronaut traveling to Europa, Jupiter’s moon, at the center’s Tranquility Base.
The National Space Centre is about a 15-minute drive from Leicester’s city center. Ride public buses from central Leicester or drive. Parking is available on-site for a fee. The center is open from Tuesday to Sunday and a fee is required to enter. Visit the official website for full details plus information about special events.