Overnight Experiences Chaperone Guide
We are passionate about sharing science and space exploration with our community. Our Overnight Experiences introduce hundreds to the wonders of space exploration. That said, keeping you and your family safe is our first priority. That is why you will find some changes to program processes.
Please review this guide to learn about the new procedures.
Tips and Information
Preparing for the Camp
What to bring?
- At least one face covering must be worn at all times for the safety of our campers and crew members. No exceptions.
- Backpacks, duffle bags or small roller suitcases “carry-on” sized luggage is ideal.
- Sleeping bag and sleeping pad (sleeping pad goes under your sleeping bag). Sleeping pads, cots or air mattresses are highly recommended within your tent.
- Basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and hairbrushes are ideal, and wet wipes are a great way to freshen up since we do not have showers.
- Pajamas and slip on shoes. (Shoes must always be worn when walking around the center or outside for safety reasons.)
- Clothing should be comfortable. Casual clothes and good walking shoes are recommended. Scout uniforms may be worn on the night of the camp or the next day. Typically, about half of the troops and packs wear their uniforms and half wear troop or pack t-shirts or other casual clothes. Remember to bring a jacket or sweater no matter what time of year you are coming.
- Charging banks are a great idea and allow you to charge your device without an outlet.
- Money for gift shop if you choose to use your second-day ticket the next day.
- Food/snacks: you can bring small snacks or water. We will not be able to store your food. Coolers will need to be kept in your vehicle. Small snacks and water are acceptable at your campsite.
- Medical forms for every scout and adult are required to be brought to the Campout. The troop/pack leader should have them readily available if needed for an emergency.
What NOT to bring?
Please keep in mind that you will be sleeping near other troops, packs or other guests. We ask that you show the same courtesy and respect to them that you would like them to show you. Think of it as an outdoor camping trip and the campsite, just like in the forest, has a few rules so that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.
- Glow sticks (flashlights and phone lights are ok)
- Electrical hair appliances (blow dryers, straighteners, curling irons etc.)
- Unregistered guests. Only registered participants and their leaders/chaperones can attend a Campout. Chaperones are not permitted to bring any children who are not registered or who do not meet the designated age level or gender requirements for a Campout.
Adding Additional Scouts or Adults to Your Reservation?
- If you need to add more scouts or adults to your reservation, please email email@example.com or the program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week prior to your event.
- If you need to bring a CPAP machine, please bring a battery power source. If a battery source is not available, contact the coordinator.
- If you have any allergies to food, you can contact the Campout coordinator and they can send you a list of ingredients that will be offered during the Campout at any time. If you need to bring your own food, you may do so.
- Our instructors and Campout staff will not administer any medication to anyone. If a child is bringing prescription medicine that needs to be taken during the camp, then either their parent/guardian or troop/pack leader must administer it to them.
- No one should attend the Campout if they are not feeling well.
- If any camper feels sick at any time, they must notify a staff member immediately.
- Our Security department has a fully equipped first aid kit.
- The adult chaperone or troop/pack leader needs to have all the medical forms for every participant and parent readily available in case of an emergency.
Cancellation and Refund Policies
- Cancellations to your reservations may be made up until 2 weeks before the date of your Campout.
- Refunds will only be given up until 2 weeks before the date of your Campout.
- If your event is less than 2 weeks away and you are not able to attend, you can reschedule individuals or your entire group and apply your ticket(s) to another Campout.
- If Space Center Houston cancels your event due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, we will either refund you, or you can apply your tickets to another Campout date.
- Rescheduling your Campout date can be done by emailing Reservations@spacecenter.org or the program coordinator email@example.com. Please note that all dates are subject to availability.
Arrival and check-in
Getting to Space Center Houston
- We are located at 1601 E. NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058
- Remember to eat dinner before you arrive.
- Traffic can be an issue, even on a Saturday so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to travel. If your group/troop/pack is traveling in separate vehicles, make sure all drivers have a way to contact each other.
- Remember to search for Space Center Houston and not NASA or Johnson Space Center on your GPS.
Parking and Check-In
- Check-in is at 6:30 p.m.
- Face coverings must be worn when you arrive at the entrance booth.
- Tell the Space Center Houston crew member at the entrance booth that you are here for the Campout. Parking is waived for you and anyone else who is staying for the Campout or dropping off and picking up guests.
- Check-in is conducted at the Space Center Houston entrance booth. You will be asked to complete a quick questionnaire for health and safety purposes, and you will receive directions on where to go to begin the evening.
- Please know the number of scouts/participants and adults all together in your group.
- Park your car, get your gear, and walk to the Special Events Building located to the right of Independence Plaza and the left of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket following the ENTRANCE sign.
- Following social distancing guidelines, campsites must be 10 feet apart. The Campout staff members will be available at the Special Events Building to answer any questions you may have.
- The gate will be open early in the morning for anyone not sleeping on-site to rejoin the group.
What to expect
- Dinner will not be offered, please eat before arriving.
- A snack will be distributed during the second activity of the evening. We will offer a beverage and snack to everyone.
- Individually wrapped breakfast items will be served while social distancing.
- You can bring your own food if needed for dietary restrictions. All food must be stored in vehicles. Small snacks and water are allowed at campsites.
- Refreshments and snacks will be available for everyone. Bottled water will be available throughout the evening, but you are encouraged to bring your own water too.
- Set up your campsites and then explore the center on your own. Please follow the flow designated by the "Space to Explore” signs and maintain social distancing.
- Following social distancing guidelines, campsites must be 10 feet apart.
- You will be given two options for campsites:
- Shuttle Carrier Aircraft NASA 905
- SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
After tents are set up and campsites are ready, there will be a welcome show in the center that gives an overview of the schedule for the evening, reviews guest expectations and introduces the instructors. The show will contain important information to ensure that you have a positive and safe experience.
Scout Campout 2 Deep Leadership
- Our policy at Space Center Houston is that a Scout is never left alone. They are either with one of our Instructors, another Scout or a troop/pack leader or parent. We ask them to find a “space buddy” (another Scout) during the welcome show, and they are expected to stay together during the activity portion of the night while social distancing. We understand that Scouting organizations may have a different policy when it comes to how many adults must always be with a Scout.
- If a Scout needs to go to the restroom, our policy is that one adult must go with them. They cannot go without an adult. Please abide by the Scout Code of Conduct for these policies along with wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing.
- Please feel free to abide by your organization’s policies. We understand and respect that you may require two adults from your troop or pack to go with the groups when they are dismissed and that is completely acceptable.
- Adult chaperones or leaders will be responsible for maintaining your group’s adherence to the program's guidelines. Adults will be informed to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings when required, and conduct proper handwashing. Violation of these policies may result in removal of the participant from the program.
Camp T-shirts, patches and second-day tickets
- Camp T-shirts, patches and second-day tickets will be available for pick up and/or purchase after the welcome show. The Campout staff member leading the welcome show will dismiss you by group to go to the Guest Services Desk while maintaining social distancing.
- If you preorder your shirts and patches, you will receive them the night of the Campout. We no longer mail them before the Campout.
- The activity portion of the evening is meant to be a fun and educational experience. For Scouting events, one badge/adventure loop has been chosen for the Scouts that evening to work on, which is described on our website. We chose the most space related badges available from each organization; however, some lend themselves more to space science than others. Our Instructors will relate the activities to space as much as possible. All activities are either science or space related.
- Campers will be assigned to an activity area with 10-12 campers along with their chaperone. Groups will not be separated unless there are more than 12 campers.
- A break is scheduled for everyone to stretch, use the restroom, and have a snack. Each activity group will be assigned their own restroom and must remain in the assigned areas throughout the activity portion of the evening.
- Activities will take place in large open areas of the center that allow the group to remain together and still social distance within the space. Each activity table will accommodate a total of four individuals. One camper with a chaperone will be placed at the end of each table during the activities. This will help to maintain social distancing.
- All supplies and materials will be individually prepared prior to your arrival. Our activities have been modified to prevent cross contamination and any supplies will not be shared with another participant.
Your role as a troop leader/pack leader/parent/guardian is very important during the Campout. During this time, we all want to be safe. Space Center Houston supports a healthy and inviting environment for all. As we work together, a strong community develops, and we look to you to help your child to engage and enjoy the event in a safe way for all.
Leaders are encouraged to:
- Help maintain social distancing with you and your camper(s).
- Ensure that you and your camper(s) are always wearing a face covering except while eating or sleeping.
- Participate with your camper(s) and enjoy this unique experience together. Make memories that will last for a lifetime!
- Encourage engagement of the campers in the activities.
- After lights-out, it is up to you to keep your group quiet and settled.
Family and friends
Campouts are designed as a special night for campers and their parents/leaders only. If any friends or other family members would like to join you for your second day, you can purchase a discounted second-day ticket for $12.95 for them the night of your Campout. Please ask your guests to arrive when the center opens at 10 a.m. to join you for the second day.
- Goldfish crackers and pretzels
- Juice pouch
- Bottled water
- Soda and tea (adults only)
- Breakfast taco (2) – egg and cheese, sausage and cheese, or bacon and cheese with condiments
- Mixed fruit cup
- Assorted muffins
- Orange juice or apple juice or water
- Unsweet tea, sweet tea, and soda available (adults only)
- You are welcome to bring your own food if needed for dietary restrictions
*Please note menus are subject to change. Coffee will not be available due to cross contamination guidelines. Check back the week of your Campout for any changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Campout?
Space Center Houston has opened its facility for an educational overnight experience. We have developed a program that allows campers to utilize Space Center Houston to fulfill camp/badge requirements.
What is the difference between a Scout Family Campout and a Family Campout?
Scout Family Campouts are for families, troops or packs from any official scouting organization. Family Campouts offer the same experience but are for families not involved in a scouting group and who might not have a lot of camping experience. The programs offer the same activities.
Who can attend a Scout Family Campout?
Attendees can include families involved in any official scouting organization, the immediate and extended family of a scout and troops, packs and dens can come as a group. All attendees must be ages five and older.
Who can attend a Family Campout?
This co-ed camp is open to any family, their immediate and extended family members and friends. They do not need to be associated with a scouting organization to attend.
Can anyone not associated with an active military or veteran attend a Military Family Campout?
Military Family Campouts are events designed specifically for active military and veteran families. We offer Family Campouts for the general public throughout the year.
Will we tour Space Center Houston?
No, this overnight experience is not a guided tour of the facility. We use the atmosphere and the various attractions/exhibits that correlate with the theme of the evening. Because so many activities are packed into a campout, the counselors keep a tight schedule. Free time and gift shop time are incorporated into your next day visit. A next day visit is included in the registration fees. Second day tickets will not be replaced if lost.
Is there 24-hour security available?
Yes! Safety is Space Center Houston’s number one concern. Security personnel are at each campout round-the-clock, as well as patrolling the outside area.
Is there a first aid facility?
Space Center Houston houses a first aid station that is available during the day. For the overnight, each group is responsible for a First Aid Responder being present. Space Center Houston Camp Staff has access to a basic first aid kit for your use.
What are a leader/chaperone responsibilities during a campout?
Space Center Houston’s policy requires that all campers be under the direct supervision of an adult leader at all times. The counselors really need your help with: maintaining discipline/attention, staying with your team, upbeat attitude (campers mirror you), helping the campers with some activities. Leaders must have all of the participants’ (campers and adults) medical forms readily available in case of an emergency.
Whose responsibility is it to purchase Scout badges for Scout campouts?
Because campers are from various organizations, it is the leader’s responsibility to purchase badges from a scout store. As a leader, it is your discretion as to how you want to award badges to your campers. Space Center Houston does have a camp patch available the night of the camp for $7 each.
Do I need camping experience to attend?
No, it is not required, but it is helpful to have some experience camping and setting up a tent. There will be staff members to help if needed.
How big are the campsites? Can I pick my site?
Campsites are 10-by-10 feet, located in a grassy area that may or may not be level. Campsites will be at least ten feet apart from other campsites.
You will have the choice to camp under the historic shuttle carrier aircraft NASA 905 or a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Sites are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. There is plenty of space to camp at either location.
Do I need a tent?
Yes, a tent is required because there is no indoor sleeping available at this time.
How dark will it get outside?
The main flood lights will be turned off but the stairwell and elevator shaft to the shuttle and plane will stay lit. Overall it will be fairly dark, but there will still be light in the area.
Will it be quiet?
Space Center Houston is located in an urban area and there are busy streets surrounding the facility. The camp sites are located across the parking lot from the main road. There are typically very few cars passing by overnight but be aware that campers may hear emergency vehicle sirens or some cars passing by in the distance.
What is the weather plan during outdoor campouts?
Outdoor camping is required to stay outside. It is recommended to have a ground cover and rainfly for your tent. The safety of our campers is a top priority; campers will not be allowed to sleep inside the center. If severe weather (flash flooding, strong thunderstorm, tornado) occurs during the night, inside shelter will be provided.
Do you provide tents and outdoor camping gear?
No, Space Center Houston does not provide camping equipment. If you discover that your tent is damaged or unusable, we do not have any replacements. Campers can choose to find offsite accommodations if they do not have a tent.
Will there be restrooms and showers nearby?
There are restrooms located inside the building and in the outdoor camping area. There are no showers.
What is included?
Admission includes after-hours experience, a variety of hands-on educational activities related to different NASA fields, a light snack and drink, the opportunity to purchase “I Camped In Space” T-shirts and patches, an overnight camping experience, a boxed breakfast and a second-day visit.
Can I drop off my children and pick them up in the morning?
No, all children under the age of 18 must attend with at least one chaperone/parent. Anyone under the age of 18 will not be allowed to check in without a parent/chaperone who is staying with their group.
Can friends and family join us in the morning if they do not wish to spend the night at Space Center Houston?
Yes, they should purchase their ticket prior to the camp through Reservations or on the night of the camp. Attendees who did not camp out can join their group the next morning when the center opens.
Are there any age requirements?
All campers must be at least five years old to attend the campout. Anyone under the age of 18 may not attend the campout without a parent/chaperone.
Can we bring food and beverages?
Attendees may bring their own food if needed due to dietary restrictions. Absolutely NO cooking will be allowed. Any food or coolers must remain stored in your vehicle. Small snacks and water are acceptable within your campsite.
Will I have access to my vehicle overnight?
After lights-out, the facility will be completely locked down and monitored by Security. If campers need to access their vehicles during the night, they should let the security team know.
If I am camping outdoors, will I be able to charge my electronic device?
We have charging stations inside the building, but not at the outdoor camp sites. We recommend outdoor campers bring a charging bank.
Will there be any staff staying overnight on site?
Yes, there will be a full staff of security guards monitoring the building and grounds as well as two Campout staff members.
Can we check in early?
No, check-in will not begin early. If attendees wish to visit Space Center Houston before check in, they will need to use their second day tickets. Campers should advise staff ahead of time to ensure tickets are ready at the Reservation office.
Why are the Family Campout prices the same for adults and kids?
Everyone, including parents, can participate in the activities, and we supply everyone attending with their own materials.
What is the Second Day Option?
The program ends at 8:45 a.m., and you will be given the following options:
- Option #1 Private tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center and general admission to Space Center Houston for the remainder of the day.
- Option #2 Depart for home after breakfast and receive a general admission ticket to use on another day.