Traveling Around - Pearlington, MS - Stennis Space Center
Location Of The Museum
The Infinity Science Center opened in 2012, replacing a smaller Visitor Center that welcomed people to NASA's Stennis Space Center. It is in a well marked area just off Exit 2 on I-10 in western Mississippi. The smaller original welcome center and Stennis Space Center came into existence in 1960.
Just inside the front entrance to the Center is a Welcome Counter where tickets for the The Infinity Museum can be purchased. The 70,000 square foot center features educational exhibits and indoor and outdoor displays as well as theaters where there are live programs and demonstrations.
In addition to two floors of exhibit space there are outdoor exhibits which include the first stage of the Apollo 19 Saturn V.
Hurricane Prediction Gallery
Indoors there are many exhibits - both hands on and display. They range from a hurricane prediction gallery where the viewer can conjure up several scenarios and judge their hurricane potential through another display that illustrates the occurrence of a blast off while in the command module. There is a scarred capsule that astronauts rode in through space and was recovered as well as a movie of that recovery.
Interesting Plant Life
On the ground floor, there is a carnivorous plant display that contains 20 or so different carnivorous plants with small discussions about their habitat.
Child Friendly Area At Infinity Museum
There is also a first floor area named "The Big Blue Blocks". It is a marked off area where children of all ages can be creative with small and large blue foam shapes. The shapes are cylinders, triangles, pyramids, and squares of all sizes. When one or two children are working quietly, they tend to build some very creative structures. When we there a class of about 30 children were turned loose and a minor war erupted with Big Blue Blocks being used as swords, battering rams, and hand grenades A grand time was had by all - including the spectators.
Touring Stennis Space Center
The bus tour leaves from near the front entrance to the museum and lasts just under one hour. It is narrated by a knowledgeable driver who points out many structures of interest.The Stennis Space Center is on the north side of the I-10 Expressway and entrance is closely controlled by military police. Non worker civilians and non-assigned military personnel are not allowed to enter the grounds of the center except on the tour.
It was built in the 1960′s to test the history-making Saturn V rocket engines that carried men to the moon. The Stennis complex now hosts a vast array of federal, state and educational agencies – as well as private high tech companies and corporations like Rolls Royce. It’s also home to the largest concentration of oceanographers in the world, most of whom are working at the U.S. Navy's Meteorology and Oceanography Command based here.
The main function of the Center, however, is to test the engines used by the space craft. Large structures have been built to hold the engines during testing. Although the Space Center itself is only about 15,000 acres there are 125,000 acres of restricted land to defuse the intensity of noise and vibration when testing occurs.
Admission And Hours
There is an admission charge to the museum and much information can be found on their website at The Infinity Space Museum. The museum is open from 9 to 4 daily. Access to Stennis Space Center is available only on the bus tour and tickets for the bus are included in the museum's ticket price. The bus tour runs 5 times a day beginning at 11 AM and then repeating every hour. We were there for just over 2 hours.
We spent several hours in the Infinity Museum exhibit area and about an hour on the bus tour of the Stennis facility. Many of the space craft exhibits were fascinating and and we thoroughly enjoyed the bus tour.