NASA Wallops Center, Wallops Island, Va.

Closer than Space Camp but just as exotic, Wallops Island is a functioning arm of NASA -- a center for aeronautic research where regular rocket launches are conducted. An onsite visitors center includes programs and exhibits designed to teach visitors about the past, present and future of NASA.
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<B>Distance from Ocean City:</B> 47 miles
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<B>What to do:</B> "The Visitor Center has various programs showing the types of things we do at Wallops and throughout NASA," says Keith Koehler from the Wallops Center's Office of Communications. Hands-on exhibits and model rocket launches will engage kids of all different ages.
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<B>When to go:</B> During the summer, the NASA Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Rocket launches are scheduled throughout the summer; check the Wallops Island website for schedules.
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<B>Where to eat:</B> Though food isn't available at Wallops, Koehler recommends stopping at one of the restaurants on nearby Chincoteague Island before or after your visit.
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<B>Don't miss:</B> The Visitor Center is fun, but "a rocket launch is always a great thing to see," says Koehler. "We have lots of large and small launches planned for June through September." He warns, though, that for various reasons, launch schedules can change at the last minute. "So don't plan your whole vacation around a launch."
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<B>Info:</B> <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/home/index.html" target="new">www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/home/index.html</a>, 757-824-2050

( Reuters, NASA/Bill Ingalls/Handout photo / April 16, 2013 )

Closer than Space Camp but just as exotic, Wallops Island is a functioning arm of NASA -- a center for aeronautic research where regular rocket launches are conducted. An onsite visitors center includes programs and exhibits designed to teach visitors about the past, present and future of NASA.

Distance from Ocean City: 47 miles

What to do: "The Visitor Center has various programs showing the types of things we do at Wallops and throughout NASA," says Keith Koehler from the Wallops Center's Office of Communications. Hands-on exhibits and model rocket launches will engage kids of all different ages.

When to go: During the summer, the NASA Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Rocket launches are scheduled throughout the summer; check the Wallops Island website for schedules.

Where to eat: Though food isn't available at Wallops, Koehler recommends stopping at one of the restaurants on nearby Chincoteague Island before or after your visit.

Don't miss: The Visitor Center is fun, but "a rocket launch is always a great thing to see," says Koehler. "We have lots of large and small launches planned for June through September." He warns, though, that for various reasons, launch schedules can change at the last minute. "So don't plan your whole vacation around a launch."

Info: www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/home/index.html, 757-824-2050

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