It was a long drive from Louisiana to Galveston, Texas. We arrived just after dark at the Galveston Island State Park. The skies were clear and the sounds of the ocean were coming over the dunes. We quickly setup camp and made dinner.
By the next morning the fog had rolled in. It was really thick and hung around all day. The sun didn't even peak through at all, not even for a second.
After schooling was over, we drove up the coast to have a look around town. There were some things we wanted to do here on the island, but we weren't sure if the fog would make it possible. We first stopped along the storm wall to look at some of the markers remembering the Hurricane of 1900. Afterwards we drove up to the east end of the island to drive onto the ferry. We've never driven onto a ferry before, so this is something we wanted to do. It was kinda fun, but because of the fog we could only see out about 20-30 yards. After crossing over to the mainland, there wasn't anything in that area so we turned back around.
After crossing back over on the ferry, we then drove down Broadway and looked at some of the older homes. Broadway eventually leads right into I-45 and we took the bridge north. Continuing on we ended up in Kemah, TX. There along the river front was an entertainment complex comprised of several restaurants and amusement rides. Due to the intense fog, there wasn't very many visitors at that time.
We ended up selecting Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. The service and food was really good. After dinner we walked around the complex. The kids wanted to ride the miniature train that drove throughout it, so we did. They also had a Ferris wheel and an observation deck, not worth riding in the fog. The whole place would be great for revisiting another day. Maybe on our next trip through here.
The next morning was also foggy, but not as bad. The sun did eventually come out around noon.
Once the boys finished their schoolwork, we went back again into Galveston's historic district. Our first stop was the train museum. They've converted the old train station into a museum and had a lot of different types of trains and passenger cars. Many were unrestored with the original furnishings. For their time in the mid-1800's, these were some luxurious ways to travel.
After the train museum, we went over to the Ocean Star Museum. The Ocean Star is a retired offshore oil rig that has been restored and converted to an educational museum. It was a very worthwhile place to visit. They explained how and where the oil is formed and what it takes to retrieve it. They have scale models of all the different types of oil drilling rigs, both offshore and on land. We ALL learned a lot there.
We walked around town for a little while but then went back to the RV to relax. After dinner, the boys and I went to the beach to build sand castles.
The next day was going to be a long one, so we skipped the normal school work in the morning to get an early start. After eating breakfast, we headed up I-45 to the Johnson Space Center just south of Houston. I wasn't expecting much. Being from Florida and having visited the Kennedy Space Center a couple of times, I figured maybe they'd have a few old rockets and some buildings to look at. Much to my surprise, and for the kids enjoyment, they had MUCH more!
Inside the visitors center was an interactive area where the kids (and adults) got to learn about space and science. There were displays there on robotics, space experiments, and displays that showed the differences of gravity on the various planets. There's also a full-scale shuttle cockpit which you can go inside of.
Our first tour was taking a tram over to the Johnson Space Center complex. Once there we stopped at the original command control room for the early Apollo missions, and still used for shuttle missions up through the 1990's. While it had been upgraded over the years with technology, it has now been restored to its original 1960's configuration. The new command center is in a different room now.
After a brief rundown of space exploration history, we returned to the tram and headed over to the display of old rockets. There they had two of the early and smaller rockets which I believe were the Apollo and Gemini versions. The much larger Saturn V rocket was undergoing renovations and we could not get a good look (or pictures) of it. Only a peak through the window of the building that has now been constructed over it.
The next tour we went on started with a short movie about space exploration. After the movie, we exited into several displays guided by a volunteer and current NASA employee. It was very informative having someone with inside knowledge doing the tour verses just a hired tour guide who's given a script of what to say.
Anyway, the displays were in dark rooms with lights on the ceiling to make it look as though you were in space. The first orbiter hanging from the ceiling was a small single manned capsule. Then around the corner was a little larger twin seat capsule. They even had the original Apollo 17 capsule there on display. You could even see the effects of re-entry had on the bottom side of it. There was also a display of the moon with a moon rover electric car. It wasn't one of the original moon cars though. They're all still up there.
The next room looked like a vault with a huge thick door. We were guided into the room where on display were several moon rocks of various types. They even had on displayed in this case so you could touch it, although it was pretty smooth after so many people had touched it over the years.
Today we decided to leave Galveston and head up to the San Antonio area. So my next update will be from there.
As always, I hope you're enjoying the stories and photos. Thanks for stopping by.