The Challenger Space Center is a community resource center, and has been open since July 2000. It is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The creation of the Center occurred after the tragic events surrounding the Challenger Space Shuttle, and is focused on continuing to inspire space exploration and related scientific pursuits.
Best known for the simulated flight missions that are offered for space-based learning for all ages, the Challenger Space Center also features an indoor planetarium, space camps, lectures, telescope classes, and space storytelling available to all who live in the area or are visiting Arizona.
Public Programs and Tours
There are plenty of opportunities for the public to enjoy and appreciate the Challenger Space Center. Once each month everyone is invited to participate in an outdoor stargazing program. Learn about constellations and planets, upcoming sky events, and see what you can see through several high-powered telescopes. Bring water and a chair or blanket, and bring the family. Free with admission fee to the Challenger Space Center.
Another monthly program suitable for all ages is the Giant StarLab Planetarium. Step inside, and be transported into the night--full of stars, planets, and mystery. A fee is charged in addition to the regular Challenger Space Center admission charge.
Children ages 3 - 6 may participate in Space Tots for an introduction to space and science. This is a special monthly activity, and there is an extra charge.
If you are just dropping in to the Challenger Space Center when no special programs are being offered, you can still view the aviation and space exhibits and memorabilia displays. Take a self-guided tour of the facility, or join one of the daily tours that are conducted by Center staff and volunteers. You should call in advance to ensure a tour guide is available that day.
Check the schedule for Public Space Place programs for preschoolers.
Public Space Missions
If you can read at a 5th grade level, and type on a keyboard, you have enough knowledge to take a two hour simulated mission to rendezvous with a comet. At the Challenger Space Center’s Technology Flight Deck you'll find a Mission Control room designed after Johnson Space Center, a Spacecraft, designed to simulate a room onboard the International Space Station (ISS), and the Earth Space Transit Module, which transports teams of crew members up to dock with the ISS so they can live and work in space. You and the other participants will work as a team to complete a successful mission.
Check here for current pricing for public missions. Public space flight missions are held once per month. Mseum admission is included with the fee for the space mission.
Tip: Reservations are strongly recommended for public space missions. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Adventures in Space Camps
The Challenger Space Center's Adventures in Space Summer Camps offer children in grades K through 8 a chance to use math and science while they learn how to launch rockets, build robots, and discover how astronauts live and work in space utilizing hands-on activities and experimentation. Each camp lasts for one week.
Tip: Space Summer Camps are so popular that they usually sell out. Additional summer programs may be added, but to be certain to reserve a spot at Adventures in Space Camp, your reservation should be made in April.
Corporate Events and Meetings
If you are looking for a place to host a meeting, party, reception, or conduct some corporate team-building exercises, the Challenger Space Center makes a unique venue for your special event. Stargazing, moon mission simulations, or a three-hour e-Mission to save the island of Montserrat emphasizing teamwork, problem solving, decision-making and communication skills.
Tip: Operation Monserrat is offered to participants anywhere in the world with an Internet connection via teleconference.
Challenger Space Center Admission, Hours, Location
Admission to the Challenger Space Center is as follows (June 2015 pricing):
Seniors (55+ yrs): $7
Children (3-12 yrs): $6
Ages 2 & Under: Free
Challenger Members: Free
The Challenger Space Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is closed on Sundays and on major holidays.
There is a snack area at the Challenger Space Center, and you can stop at the Galaxy Gift Shop before you end your visit.
The actual address is:
Challenger Space Center
21170 North 83rd Ave
Peoria, AZ 85382
That is on 83rd Avenue between Beardsley Rd. and Deer Valley Road. in the northwest part of the Valley of the Sun.
Map and driving directions to the Challenger Space Center.
Call for more information: 623-322-2001, or visit the Challenger Space Center online.
All dates, times, prices, and offerings are subject to change without notice.