Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Museum Monday

When we’re not hanging out in airports, we’re heading to a museum. And in 2022 we have our hearts set on revisiting some reliable favorites and checking out some great new museums and enticing exhibitions around the country and the world.

Here’s a sampling.

Mount Angel Abbey Museum

For many reasons, the museum at Mount Angel Abbey in Saint Benedictine, Oregon is one of our favorites. It is filled will all sorts of natural history and man-made wonders gathered from around the world, including the hairball, above, found in the belly of a hog in Portland in the 1940s and weighing in at just over 2 pounds. What could be better?

There are bonuses on the monastery grounds beyond the museum. At the Benedictine Brewery, monks do the brewing, using water from an onsite well and hops grown on the land. The monastery’s light-filled library, designed by noted Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, is a must-see too. Opened in 1970, it was dedicated with the help of Duke Ellington.

(Ellington at Mount Angel Abbey Library dedication from Third Angle on Vimeo.)

Museum openings and exhibitions

Some recently opened destinations include the National Museum of the United States Army, near Washington, D.C.; a Dino Safari: A Walk-Thru Adventure in  Boston; the Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville, GA, the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego; and a major international retrospective of Andy Warhol at the Aspen Art Museum.

Here are a couple of openings to look for in 2022:

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex

Courtesy Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Merritt Island, Florida opens a new attraction in March.

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex focuses on the present and future of collaborative space exploration.

Exhibits include a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, the Orion Crew Vehicle from EFT-1 Mission, a full-scale replica of Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser, interactive exhibits, and more. Among the many activities in the building, visitors will be able to experience a 4D flying theater with four different journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet, or Uncharted Worlds.

Spock’s Ears – and more

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which includes locations in Washington, DC and in Chantilly, VA, will open 23 new and redesigned galleries and spaces during 2022.

Opening dates will vary, but the Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery (scheduled opening: fall 2022) will feature at least one, out-of-this-world, newly acquired treasure: Mr. Spock’s ears.

The family of the late Leonard Nimoy has donated a set of prosthetic ears made for the actor who played Mr. Spock in the original Star Wars television series. The pointed, foam ear tips date to the 1960s and were displayed by the family for many years in a homemade black box.

And as a bonus, the museum’s collection also includes the original 11-foot studio model of the starship Enterprise that appeared in each episode of the original series.

Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Stay tuned for more museum exhibitions to put on your agenda during our Year of Museums and let us know about some of your favorites.

OH, the places we’d go

We’re so close to getting on the vaccination list that we’re making lists of places we’d go if we could somewhere now.

Out for Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Here’s a great reason to vaccinated and head out for a snack.

Krispy Kreme is offering anyone who shows their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card a free Original Glazed doughnut every day this year.

Not getting vaccinated? You should. But Krispy Kreme says you can still get some free doughnuts if you stop by Mondays, 3/29/21 – 5/24/21. On those days they’ll be handing a free Original Glazed® doughnut and a medium brewed coffee.

To Paisely Park to see Prince’s Ashes

Prince has been gone just about five years now.

Paisley Park, Prince’s former estate and production complex in suburban Minneapolis, is now a museum and a recording studio. And on the fifth anniversary of this death – April 21 – Paisley Park will be opening the Paisley Park Atrium for free so that a limited number of fans can pay tribute to Prince and see the urn that holds his ashes. For those unable to visit in person, an online memorial will be available.

While at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), we’d stop in at the Prince store too.

The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center

Among the many great attractions at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Rocket Garden is said to be the most photographed.

This week the garden got it first new ‘planting’ since the early 2000s: The United Launch Alliance’s Delta Rocket II.

How does it land a spot here alongside rockets and space vehicles from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs?

Delta II rockets were industry workhorses, launching 155 times from 1989-2018. They carried satellites for the Global Positioning System (GPS) and put NASA’s rovers Spirit and Opportunity and the Phoenix Mars Lander into space.

Souvenir Sunday: Kennedy Space Center

Ready to travel into space?  Prepare for the trip at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center.

And make sure to bring home souvenirs.

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Today is Souvenir Sunday, the day takes a look at fun, locally-themed souvenirs you can find when you’re out on the road.

This week’s treats come from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Florida.

The giant complex houses the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, an IMAX theater, a Rocket Garden and lots more.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center also has a great gift shops.

Here are some of the favorite items I found, including astronaut pens, t-shirts featuring dogs and cats dressed for space, shuttle key rings, NASA mugs (of course) – and lettuce seeds for when people land on Mars and need to start planting food for the future.

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor CenterSouvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Have you been to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center? Tell us about your favorite exhibits- and the cool souvenirs – you found there.