The Virginia Air and Space center resides in Hampton, VA. Visitors to the center get the opportunity to check out current research, which concentrates on world-wide climate change, gaining access and then expanding into deep Space, and the air transportation system as well as learn the history of Hampton’s maritime beginnings and its revolutionary role in Space travel.
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The Hampton City Council decided in 1985 to build a new cultural and educational resource center, wanting to increase traffic to their Hampton Roads location. Following this decision in 1986, City of Hampton and the NASA Langley Research Center agreed to move their visitors center to Hampton, VA and incorporate it with the Hampton Roads Visitor’s Center to create the Virginia Air and Space Center. The incorporation was completed in December of 1987. It is construction cost thirty million dollars and was funded by a mixture of funds paid out by the city, grants from the state, and private donors.
The Center adopted the theme “Sea to the Stars” to chronicle Hampton’s maritime beginnings to the influential role it played in exploring Space. The nine-story center, located in Downtown Hampton, was finally opened to public in April of 1992 featuring 110,000 square feet of exhibit space. More than 12,000 new patrons joined the opening events, in which then Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Pete Conrad (a famous astronaut) had spoken about the future success of the Center. The first year, the Center was open, and was a huge success with more than 250,000 visitors.
Adventures in Flight - This exhibit chronicles over 100 years of history in aviation from its origins to its future. It displays the Hampton’s role in commercial, military, and public flight. There are many interactive displays within this exhibit for visitors to take a hands-on approach to learning.
Aircraft - This exhibit features over 100 years of aircraft evolution from a duplicate of the 1903 Wright Flyer to a full-size DC- passenger plane of today.
Be the Astronaut - This exhibit allows patrons to learn what it is like to be an astronaut through a combination of physical displays and video gaming technology.
Engineer It! - This exhibit is geared towards families that visit the center together, and allows them to create and explore STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). The playground features huge blocks for giant scale constructions as well as smaller table top blocks made to fit smaller hands.
HAM Radio - This exhibit is home to a digital completely automatic, Amateur Radio satellite station.
Spacecraft - Visitors to this exhibit can follow the evolution of spaceships beginning in the earliest years with spaceship artifacts, and replicas of the different models throughout history.
Space Quest - Visitors to this exhibit get to learn through interactive simulations of a futuristic spacecraft headed to Mars, a landing on the moon, and train to for a lunar mission. The Magic Planet Global Projector allows visitors to interact with the Earth, sun, moon, and Mars. Visitors can also learn about the various Space stations.
Space Racers - This interactive exhibit is geared towards children three to six and is based on the Space Racers tv program.
Solarium - Visitors to this exhibit will be educated in the Sun’s atmosphere, the way the sun interacts with the Earth, and the spreading of wave fluctuations from the sun. The sounds heard in this exhibit come directly from real sun data obtained by NASA.
Imax - The Imax theater plays a variety of shows at the center throughout the year.
Several programs are available through the Virginia Air and Space center for grades K through 12 that encourage the development of investigation skills to identify, explore, experiment, and solve scientific problems all while learning the basics of this technology.
Stem Saturdays- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are explored through a variety of activities for all ages. Chemistry, robotics, physics, and more are all investigated depending on the theme of the that particular Saturday.
The Virginia Air and Space center offers two different dining choices on the premises.
Cosmic Café- Serves quick options such as sandwiches, fries, soups, salads, and Mexican themed meals and snacks.
IMAX Concessions- Visitors can get regular cinema type concessions here such as popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, ice cream, chips, candy, and fountain drinks.
The Virginia Air and Space center offers a giftshop with NASA based merchandise including t-shirts, coffee cups, models, and mission patches. They also offer a selection of educational toys, books, and science kits.
600 Settlers Landing Rd, Hampton VA 23669, Phone: 757-727-0900