Overnight Experiences FAQ

What is an Overnight Experience?

Overnight Experiences provides a unique visitation experience to our Center filled with historical space artifacts and engaging STEM-based activities to inspire guests of all ages to become involved in humanity’s future amongst the stars.

What is the difference between a Scout and a Family Overnight?

Scout Overnight Experiences are for groups associated with an official scouting organization. These Overnight Experiences allow participants to work towards completing space-related badge or award requirements. We currently offer experiences for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Girl Scouts, and American Heritage Girls.

Family Overnight Experiences offer a similar experience but are designed for families with children of all ages, who are not involved in a scouting group. These events are usually self-paced and have a host of activities and programing spread throughout the Center.

What is a Private Overnight Experience?

A private Overnight Experience can be set up for any organization. Please give us a call and we will work with you in creating an experience for your group. Private Overnight Experiences will require a non-refundable down payment, which will be applied to several of your tickets, and will require a minimum of 35 participants to run the event. This will allow us to cover facility, staff, and catering costs. Dates are subject to availability.

What is Included?

Dinner, a variety of hands-on educational activities, a snack, breakfast, and a second day general admission ticket are included.

Are there any age requirements?

Yes. All Overnight Experience guest must be at least five years old to attend. Anyone under the age of 18 may not attend the Overnight Experience without a parent/chaperone.

Can I drop off my children and pick them up in the morning?

No, all children under the age of 18 must attend with a chaperone/parent. Anyone under the age of 18 will not be allowed to check in without a parent/chaperone who is staying with his or her group.

Staying the Night

What are the sleeping accommodations?

Overnight Experiences offer a unique opportunity to sleep next to flown space artifacts. We offer both indoor and outdoor sleeping accommodations.
Indoor Sleeping: We will have assigned locations for each of your groups arranged inside the center to maintain social distancing between groups.
Outdoor Sleeping: You may choose to opt out of your assigned indoor sleeping spot by camping outside under the twice-flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket or under the historic shuttle carrier aircraft that ferried space shuttles 223 times. Space Center Houston is the only place in the world where you can sleep under a Falcon 9 rocket.

  • Please note that all events in Nov./Dec. will be indoor sleeping only due to Galaxy Lights

Offsite Sleeping: You may also choose to attend the program but choose to stay offsite. If this is something in which you are interested, please let the Lead Instructor know before leaving the evening of your event, so that they may prepare for your return in the morning.

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 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 outdoor camp sites are located across the parking lot from the main road. There are typically very few cars passing by overnight but just be aware that you may hear emergency vehicle sirens or some cars passing by in the distance.

For indoor sleeping, our custodial staff will be working in unoccupied areas throughout the center. They tend to keep noise down, but if you are a light sleeper, a pair of ear plugs might not be a bad idea to bring.

Will there be restrooms/showers nearby?

There are restrooms located inside the building and in the outdoor camping area. There are no showers.

What is your rain plan?

We have reserved extra space inside either our main building or the events building that can accommodate everyone in case of bad weather. We will not require everyone to sleep inside unless the rain is substantial.

Will I have access to my vehicle overnight?

After lights-out the facility will be completely locked down and monitored by Security. If you need to access your vehicle or depart in the middle of the night, then let our Security team know.

During the Overnight Experience, will I be able to charge my device?

We save the locations nearest to outlets, both indoors and outdoors, for guests who require CPAP accommodations. We recommend bringing a charging bank if you need to charge your phone. We also have charging banks available for rent in towers spread out throughout the center.

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 one of our Education Leads.

Preparing for your Overnight Experience

What are the mask and social distancing procedures at Space Center Houston?

In response to COVID-19 conditions nationwide, Space Center Houston is following the revised mask recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As conditions may change at any time, please refer to the visitor information page for the latest recommendations.

How should I set up my sleeping area?

For outdoor sleeping, you will need to bring a tent along with your own bedding (sleeping bag with a sleeping pad, air mattress, or cot are recommended).

  • For outdoor sleeping, you will be setting up upon arrival. We recommend that you arrive earlier in the check-in time to ensure you find the ideal spot to set your tent.
  • Tents should be no larger 10x10x10 ft

For indoor sleeping, you will not need a tent, but will still need to bring your own bedding (sleeping bags, cots, sheets, etc.)

  • Air mattresses are currently allowed indoors but must be single-sized to maximize spacing. You may use one of our outlets to blow them up.
  • For indoor sleeping, you will be setting up at the conclusion of the rocket launch at 10 p.m. Please keep your bedding in your vehicle until that time.

What should I bring?

Clothing: Comfortable, casual clothes and good walking shoes are recommended.

  • Remember to bring a jacket or sweater no matter what time of year you are coming. The building often gets cold in the evenings.
  • Pajamas and slip-on shoes for the evening (shoes must always be worn when walking around the center or outside for safety reasons.)
  • Backpacks, duffle bags or small roller suitcases “carry-on” sized luggage is ideal.

Basic toiletries: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and hairbrushes are ideal. Wet wipes are a great way to freshen up since we do not have showers.
Charging banks: Outlets will not be available to everyone. Charging banks are a great idea and allow you to charge your device without an outlet.
Money: If you would like to purchase an exclusive Overnight T-shirt or patch, or even something from our gift shop or Food Lab during your second day experience, it is recommended to bring some additional money.
Food/snacks: Additional snacks/waters may be brought, but must be consumed outdoors or inside our Food Lab.
Medical Forms: All attendees are required to fill out one of these and bring them to the overnight. Your group or scout 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 guests. We ask that you show the same courtesy and respect to them that you would like them to show you.
Things that are prohibited for Overnight Experiences:

  • Glow sticks (flashlights and phone lights are ok)
  • Electrical hair appliances (blow dryers, straighteners, curling irons etc.)
  • Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Unregistered guests

Only registered participants can attend an overnight. 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 an overnight.

Do you provide tents/outdoor camping gear?

No. If you discover that your tent is damaged or unusable, we do not have any replacements. You can choose to sleep outdoors without a tent or we can move you inside.

How do I add or remove tickets from my reservation?

If you need to add more scouts or adults to your reservation, please email reservations@spacecenter.org or the program coordinator at overnights@spacecenter.org at least four (4) weeks prior to your event.

What is your cancellation/refund policy?

Changes to your Total Participants: Additions or cancellations to your reservation may be made up until four (4) weeks before the date of your overnight.

  • Refunds will only be given up until four (4) weeks before the date of your overnight.

Rescheduling: If your event is less than four (4) weeks away, but still at least two weeks prior to your event, and you are unable to attend, you may reschedule individuals or your entire group to another overnight. This will be a one-time reschedule to another date.

Cancelled Event: 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 overnight date.
COVID-related cancellations: If you or someone if your immediate family contracts COVID-19, please let the program coordinator know at overnights@spacecenter.org. If the cancellation is made less than four (4) weeks away from your event, you will be eligible for rescheduling. If rescheduling is not possible, refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What if I require an accommodation due to a medical condition?

If you need an accommodation for any condition or disability, please send an email to the Program Coordinator at overnights@spacecenter.org. While we will not be able to accommodate everything, we are willing to work with you. Please contact us four (4) weeks before your event, so that we may be prepared. Below are some of the more common accommodation requests:

  • CPAP: If you need to bring a CPAP machine, please let us know during your registration, so that we may assign you a sleeping location near an outlet. If you did not request CPAP accommodations during registration, but need one, please contact the coordinator at least a week before your event.
  • Dietary Restrictions or Food Allergies: We offer gluten-free and vegetarian meal variations to all our meals. If you have a different dietary restriction or have any allergies to food, you may contact the Program Coordinator to ask about ingredients that will be served. If you are unable to eat the meal due to an ingredient, you can request an alteration to the meal. We will check with our caterer to see if your request is doable. If we are unable to accommodate the request, we will let you know and you may bring your own food.
  • Medication: If you or your child need to take prescription medicine during the Overnight Experience, you will need to bring and administer it yourself. Our instructors and overnight staff will not administer any medication to anyone. If a child is bringing prescription medicine that needs to be taken during the overnight, then either their parent/guardian or troop/pack leader must administer it to them.

Do I need to fill anything out before my Overnight Experience?

Yes. Please fill out the following two forms for each participant accompanying you. You may fill them out digitally and resubmit the pdf to overnights@spacecenter.org. If you are unable to fill it out digitally, you may print out the forms, fill them out with a pen, and either scan them or take a clear photo of the form, and submit it to the same email listed above.

Medical Forms: Every participant needs to fill out a Medical Information Form and submit it to the Program Coordinator four (4) weeks before the event, so that we may be aware of any potential issues that could arise during your event.

Image Release Forms: The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational foundation offering extensive science education programs and a space museum. We may use materials and photos from its educational programs for educational, promotional, and internal purposes. Please fill out an Image Release form for each participant four (4) weeks before your event.

What happens if I fall ill or become injured during my stay?

No one should attend the Overnight Experience if they are not feeling well. If at some point during the evening you or your child feel ill, please notify a staff member immediately.

Space Center Houston has a medical bay on site, and has a fully equipped first aid kit. Upon notifying one of our Instructors or our Security Team during the evening, they will provide assistance.

  • We will provide methods of contact the evening of your event for our security team
  • Please have all medical forms for every participant and parent readily available in case of an emergency.

What are some travel tips?

We are located at 1601 E. NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058

  • 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.

 

Overnight Experiences – Additional FAQs

How does arrival and check-in work?

Check-in will be from 5-6 p.m. at the front of the center. Upon arrival, find a parking spot and walk up to the check-in table to receive your wristbands. This counts as your ticket for the evening and will ensure our staff and security know you are with Overnight Experiences.

  • You will receive a map attached to your itinerary the week of the event to show where the Check-In table is located

Can we check-in before 5 p.m.?

No, check-in will begin no earlier than 5 p.m. If you wish to visit Space Center Houston before 5 p.m. on Saturday, you will need to use your second day tickets. Let us know ahead of time if you wish to do this and we can have those tickets ready for you at Guest Services.

What meals are provided?

Dinner will be catered during the evening. Breakfast during the morning of Day 2 will also be provided. A full menu will be provided in the reminder email the week of the event.

  • All our meals will have gluten-free and vegetarian variations to them. If you require one of these meals and missed it at registration, please contact the Program Coordinator four (4) weeks before the event in order to be guaranteed an accommodation.
  • You can bring your own food if needed for dietary restrictions. All food must be stored in vehicles until dinner time.

Message from our caterers:
While we are happy to accommodate requests for vegetarian and gluten-free substitutions, we currently may be unable to modify specific menus for other individual dietary needs/allergies. Requests for substitute options must be provided via email a minimum of four (4) weeks prior to your event to be guaranteed. Please send emails to overnights@spacecenter.org.

Please be aware that items are prepared in a facility handling and preparing with egg, milk, wheat, shellfish, soy, peanut, and tree nut products, and other potential allergens. If there is a concern with the dietary requirements, individual bagged meals are permitted to brought onsite for your event. Please contact your Program Coordinator with any questions/concerns about the menus.

May I bring additional snacks or drinks to my sleeping area?

Snacks: Yes, you may bring additional snacks, but they must be eaten outside the building or inside Food Lab.

  • Absolutely NO cooking will be allowed for overnight guests – whether you are indoors or outdoors.

Drinks: We will provide bottled water, but you are encouraged to bring your own as well. Water is allowed in all sleeping areas.

  • Any other drinks will need to be consumed in the Food Lab or outside of the building.
  • You are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages into our center.

How do I purchase Overnight Experience t-shirts and patches?

You will be able to purchase an “I Camped in Space” T-shirt or patch during your event. Our shirt is available in sizes Youth Medium through Adult 2XL.

  • T-shirts – $15
  • Patches – $7

Normally purchases for shirts will open during dinner. Our Lead will let provide instructions for purchasing during the welcome show the evening of your event.

  • Preorders are not currently available.
  • Previous years’ T-shirt designs will be available at a discounted rate while supply lasts.

How does Day 2 of the Overnight Experience work?

All of our Overnight Experiences come with a second day general admission ticket to explore the center during its regular operating hours.
Upon waking up in the morning, you will be given a catered breakfast and shown a short film in Space Center Theater. The film will finish around 9 a.m. It is at this point you will need to choose what to do with your second day general admission ticket.

  • Option 1: Use your second day general admission ticket the day immediately. You will start your second day with a Tram Tour of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) at 9 a.m. Tram tours are included as part of general admission and starting one at 9 a.m. allows you to skip the lines. Board the tram, take the tour, then return to Space Center Houston to enjoy the center at your own pace. Please be aware that tours may become unavailable at any time due to weather or to JSC’s policies and regulations.
  • Option 2: Save your second day general admission ticket for a future date. For this option, you will depart Space Center Houston following the end of the Space Center Theater film at 9 a.m. You will be handed your second day general admission tickets on your way out the door. These tickets are good for up to a year.

Can I buy additional second day general admission tickets for my friends or family to join me in the morning?

Yes! While T-shirts and patches are being sold, we will also be selling discounted general admission tickets at $12.95. This will allow your additional group members to join you in the morning at 10 a.m. after your tram tour.

Can I have my additional guests come earlier in the morning to join us on the Tram Tour?

If there is additional spacing available, we will allow additional guests to join your tram tour at 9 a.m. This will need to be approved by the Program Coordinator at least two weeks before your event. If this is something you are interested in, and you know you will have additional guests joining you in the morning, please email overnights@spacecenter.org to discuss availability on the Tram and potentially book additional spots.

Scout Overnight Experiences

What can we expect during the evening?

During our Scout Overnights, scouts will be working on space-related badges or awards. Scouts will be broken out into groups and rotated to various stations in order to complete various NASA-related STEM challenges throughout our center that will apply to their badge/reward requirements. To see more information about which badge/award we are currently going for, please see the main page for your program.

Who can attend a Scout Overnight Experience?

Families involved in any official scouting organization can attend a Scout Overnight Experience. They are also open to immediate and extended family of any scout. Troops, packs, and dens can come as a group as well. All attendees must be five years old or older. Siblings who are not scouts will still need to pay the Scout price if they are participating in activities.

How are scout groups broken up?

Scout groups are typically broken out into groups of 20-25 Scouts with Chaperones in order to complete badge requirements. If there is more than one troop in a group, we will enforce distancing between the two groups.

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. We understand that scouting organizations may have a different policy when it comes to how many adults must always be with a scout.

What is my role as an adult during Scout Overnights?

Your role as a troop leader/pack leader/parent/guardian is very important during the overnight. 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.

Adult chaperones or leaders will be responsible for maintaining your group’s adherence to the program’s guidelines. Violation of these policies may result in removal of the participant from the program.

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.

Leaders are encouraged to:

  • 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 Overnight Experience

What can we expect during the evening?

Family Overnight Experiences are self-paced events that will be filled with engaging activities covering an array of difficulty levels to excite guests ages five and up. Train like an astronaut, build rockets, and explore robotics all while you explore the history and future plans of space travel. Our Family Overnights typically feature an astronaut guest speaker* as well, who you will be able to engage with during a Q&A.
*Astronaut guest speakers are subject to availability.

Who can attend a Family Overnight Experience?

This Overnight Experience is open to any family, immediate and extended. You do not need to be associated with any scouting organization to attend. Friends of the family are welcome too. All attendees must be at least five years old.

Can I find out which astronaut will be presenting?

You can inquire about if an astronaut will be present and, if so, which one, within two weeks of your event.

Do I need camping experience to attend?

No, but some experience camping and setting up a tent is preferred. There will be staff members available to help you if needed.

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