News Release

Space Center Houston Tops Cosmic Spring with 18 Millionth Visitor

HOUSTON, March 21, 2016 – The weeklong Cosmic Spring festivities culminated with an incredible milestone Saturday when the nonprofit Space Center Houston welcomed its 18 millionth visitor since opening in October 1992.

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The milestone was celebrated by treating Mike Bhatnagar of Sugar Land, Texas to a full-range of experiences available at Space Center Houston. The lucky winner was welcomed by a cheering crowd while the center played “Celebration” to mark the occasion. Mike met the center’s mascot Commander Quest, received a prize package including a one-year membership to Space Center Houston, commemorative souvenirs and more than $200 in gift cards from promotional partners Denny’s, Fuddruckers, Luby’s, McDonald’s, Randall’s, Subway and Walmart.

Mike and his family had no idea how much fun was in store for them. They received a personal behind-the-scenes tour of Space Center Houston, toured the new international landmark Independence Plaza and went to NASA Johnson Space Center, the home of astronaut training.

“Space Center Houston continues to break attendance records in large part because of all we have to see and do,” said the center’s President and CEO Richard E. Allen Jr. “We have exciting activities year-round so there’s always something new for everyone in the family to enjoy. With our hands-on exhibits, live presentations and educational programs, we’re inspiring the next generation of explorers.”

This incredible achievement was reached shortly after five consecutive record-breaking months in 2015. With 82 percent of the visitors coming from outside the Houston area, the center draws nearly 1 million visitors annually. The center recently opened the one-of-a-kind Independence Plaza, the only place in the world you can enter the original shuttle carrier aircraft and a shuttle replica mounted atop; earned a second TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Award; and received a prestigious U.S. Department of State grant for a global education project.

To plan your trip to Space Center Houston, go to the Visitor Info Page at spacecenter.org/visitor. We have helpful tips and suggested itineraries to help you plan your day. To enhance your visit, purchase the new Astronaut Audio Tour with first-hand stories from space pioneers, beautiful photos and exciting videos that tell the rich history and sparkling future of human space exploration.

Save on admission with a CityPASS and explore Space Center Houston plus four other top attractions. Purchase a CityPASS in-person or online at spacecenter.org. There are three easy ways to reserve a timed ticket. Prior to a visit, reserve a free ticket for a designated time at spacecenter.org/timed-ticketing. Arriving without a timed ticket? Don’t worry. There are still two ways to reserve a timed ticket. Go first to the timed-ticket stations at the Membership Desk where a Crew Member can assist in reserving a spot, or use your mobile device at spacecenter.org/nowait to reserve a tour. For tips on planning your trip, go to the spacecenter.org/visitor.

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space museum with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, which USA Today called “The Big Draw” in the greater Houston area with nearly 1 million visitors annually and a $73 million annual economic impact on the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center. The center draws more than 100,000 teachers and students annually from around the world. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation

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