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I'm now a full-time work-outside-the-home mom and while we're still going on TONS of family adventures, making time for the adventures (verses making time for writing about them!) has taken priority in my life right now.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Visit the NASA Goddard Visitor's Center in Honor of WhyMommy

This post was originally published in September 2009. I am re-posting it today in honor of Team WhyMommy's Virtual Science Fair. Susan Nieber, aka WhyMommy, is a mom and an astrophysicist who has been fighting inflammatory breast cancer and educating others about it since 2007. Today she is undergoing surgery to remove a local regional recurrence of cancer in the lymph nodes under her arm pit. I hope that Susan, this post, and the dozens more at the Virtual Science Fair, inspire you to get out and do something science-related with your kids today!

Lucas and I recently spent a fun morning at the NASA Goddard Visitor Center. He had a blast donning a space suite and stepping inside a Mercury capsule model to flip all the switches and begin the launch countdown.

The Visitor Center is easy to get to and is--what else would you expect from NASA?--simply packed with amazing photographs of outer space and all kinds of incredible information. While Lucas was busy playing with the model spaceships or putting together a puzzle of the solar system, I was reading as much as I could, just trying to take it all in.

After I finally dragged Lucas away from the Mercury capsule, kids area and beautiful images inside the visitor center, he was in awe of the Goddard Rocket Garden out back. It was so fun to get up close and even touch (the signs said no climbing but didn't mention touching so I took them literally, as any good scientist would!) rockets some of which had actually been to space and back. Lucas kept asking if they were going to blast off (with a mix of excitement and trepidation in his voice!) and so I think it would be great fun to bring him back for one of the Sunday model rocket launches (details below).

Overall, this was another great destination in Prince George's County: we're so lucky to have a part of NASA right in our backyard. As with many of these smaller museums/visitors centers outside of the Smithsonian, we practically had the place to ourselves. There was plenty of room and Lucas didn't have to share the kid-friendly exhibits/activities with anyone else.

I also loved the fact that the gift shop was in an entirely different building, a building that we successfully avoided making the visit truly cost free!

Additional events and activities offered by NASA Goddard:

The Sunday Experiment

Elementary school students and their families are invited to the Goddard Visitor Center on the third Sunday of every month, from September to May, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., for a free afternoon of eye-opening, hands-on activities that will help you experience what it’s like to be a NASA engineer. Contact: Maria Acevedo-Rivera at

Model Rocket Launches

Like to build model rockets, but don’t have a launch pad? Now you do! Anyone can fly at the Goddard model rocket launches, and there are no costs or fees to participate. Rockets, motors and supplies are available at the nearby Goddard Gift Shop and you can even get rocket construction and launch tips from our on-site experts on launch day! Model rocket launches are held at the Goddard Visitor Center the first Sunday of the month. Launches start at 1 p.m. and are brought to you by the NARHAMS Model Rocket club:

Additional Details:

NASA Goddard Visitor Center

8800 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt, Md., 20771

Click here for directions.


September-June: Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm; Saturday-Sunday 12-4pm
July-August: Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 12-4pm

Cost: Free!

Phone: 301-286-3978

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!


  1. Great review of the Goddard in the PG - love this place, and so does WhyMommy!

  2. I really have to take my boys there. They would love it!

  3. I have got to get down there! Kristen's offered me a guest room. One of these days I'll say yes.

  4. This place is great, huh? I went there once with my littlest and my playgroup and Susan. It was a fantastic morning!


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