The San Diego Air and Space Museum is one of the most popular museums in Balboa Park. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibits. In most cases, these cost extra money. However, the new Space: Our Greatest Adventure Exhibit is free with general admission to the Air and Space Museum.
For a full overview of the museum and its pricing make sure and see our full guide to the Air and Space Museum. This article is only a look at the Space: Our Greatest Adventure exhibit.
The area immediately to your right as you enter the San Diego Air and Space Museum is home to most of the special exhibits. From experience, we can say that some special exhibits are much better than others.
In 2017, we were big fans of the FLY special exhibit. We paid extra to go here three times! However, in 2018 FLY was replaced by Speed: Science in Motion. To us this exhibit was a disappointment, especially considering it cost extra.
Thankfully, the new Space: Our Greatest Adventure is not only a great exhibit it is included with general admission. The other special exhibits charged an extra $5.
Space: Our Greatest Adventure has four themed zones:
- Welcome to the Space Age
- The Race to the Moon
- Life in Space Today
- Our Future in Space
The exhibit starts with a general overview of space in general, the planets and the Earth’s atmosphere. However, this is a brief prologue. The name of the exhibit is Space: Our Greatest Adventure. The focus is primarily on human efforts to explore space.
The heart of the exhibit is telling the story of efforts to explore space starting from Sputnik and the race between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. There is the capsule used to launch an early monkey into space (Ham).
From this point, the exhibit goes on to explore the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs which led to the 1969 moon landing. From there the exhibit touches on the International Space Station, shuttle program and ongoing efforts to explore Mars.
What makes this exhibit interesting to all ages, is all the hands-on activities and picture taking opportunities. Visitors can take their picture in an astronaut suit, beside a moon lander or sitting in a Mercury capsule.
The exhibit includes a life-size Mars rover, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module as well as models of Mercury and Gemini space capsules.
There is an Apollo Command Service Module which is basically a flight simulator. You can try landing a space shuttle or docking an International Space Station. Both are pretty difficult to do successfully.
An interactive quiz show allows four competitors to compete and answer questions about the information found in the exhibit. The questions range in difficulty (we did not do very well).
One of our favorite stations was where you got to act as a commander of a space flight. Real-life situations come up and you need to make quick decisions. Because these were based on actual events you can compare how reacted compared to the actual commander.
Overall, we were very impressed with Space: Our Greatest Adventure. It would be great if this could become a permanent exhibit at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
As mentioned, Space: Our Greatest Adventure is included free with general admission to the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Entry to the museum is $19.75 for adults 12 and over. Youth 3 to 11 are $10.75. Seniors are $16.75. On the 4th Tuesday of every month (except December), San Diego County residents get in free.
However, there are many ways to get discounts off the full price. You can see our full guide to the San Diego Air and Space Museum for full information on pricing and discounts.
The Go San Diego card is a great way to get a discount when you want to visit multiple museums and other attractions. Right next door is the San Diego Automotive Museum. This makes a great combination with the San Diego Air and Space Museum.