Monday, May 21, 2007

The adventure weekend

Remember that grand adventure? It was . . . Space Camp!

Skeeter and Spyder went to Huntsville, AL for the Parent/Child Space Camp! They spent the weekend building rockets, training on the moon walk simulators, going on a space shuttle mission, and learning about NASA.

The US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville hosts the Space Camp, but it also is a museum that shows the history of the US space program. We didn't realize it at the time, but Sass and I could have gone with them (staying in a hotel rather than at the camp) and toured the grounds and museum. Ah well! Perhaps another time.

Since they did the Parent/Child camp, it was only a weekend. But it was a pretty intensive weekend! They were scheduled from breakfast to bedtime, and they were exhausted by the time they got back home.

Both Skeeter and Spyder thoroughly enjoyed it though, and they're already talking about returning for the Aviation Challenge weekend in a couple of years.

The program gets highest marks from both of them, which truly says a lot about it. Considering their excitement, which continued for days after they got back, I would highly recommend the program!

A few tips for anyone considering the program:
  • Spend the extra money and buy your camper the jumpsuit. It sounds a bit silly, but Skeeter said that Spyder felt more like he was really "in training" once he started wearing the jumpsuit. I didn't buy it in advance, and in retrospect, I would.
  • Plan to eat at least two meals not included in your camp. Lunch is not provided on the first day or the last day. I would have packed them a lunch for the first day, at least, if we had realized that. As it was, they had to eat lunch in the snack bar, which was grossly overpriced (as in all touristy areas). If I had known to plan ahead for it, it would have saved us $35 to $40 on those two meals.
  • Bring a bottle for water. Or buy one bottle and save it to refill. Water from the machines was $1.50 (pricey!), but you can refill the bottle from the water fountain.
  • Pack light. The rooms are designed exactly as a space station would have them (think bunkhouse in Star Trek). The beds are actually set into the wall, so you have a very limited amount of room. I sent my campers with two bags, one large bag for clothing and one smaller bag for toiletries. Skeeter said it was crowded to have two, so he ended up repacking in the back of the car.
  • Use travel sized toiletries. We have quite a collection of trial toiletries, some from hotels, some that I've gotten in the mail . . . . I sent these with my campers -- everything from mouthwash to toothpaste to shampoo. Skeeter said that these were absolutely fantastic. Between the two of them, they used a bottle of shampoo per shower, and he could just throw the container away. They used the shampoo as body wash as well, so they didn't have to bother with a bar of soap OR an extra bottle of body wash.
  • With the way that the days were scheduled, it was best to shower at night. Skeeter is accustomed to taking his showers in the morning, and he didn't realize that the schedule didn't permit that until he was too late. He had to squeeze in time for a quick shower sometime mid-day on Saturday, since he didn't have time in the morning.
The total cost for whole trip (including travel, food, and souvenirs) was right at $1000, which is exactly what we had planned. That sounds like a lot (and it is), but it took us about a year and a half to save enough for it. Saving $30 per paycheck for 17 months is infinitely more do-able than $1000 all at once. :)

No comments: