Virgin Galactic Appeals to Star-Struck Travelers
Ninety-three percent of those interested in space tourism said they would entertain the idea of flying on Virgin Galactic if the price were right. Of the group, 46 percent would not be willing to pay more than $5,000 for a seat while 28 percent would pay $5,000-$10,000 for a seat on the spaceflight. Less than one percent would pay the current $250,000 price per seat to fly to space.
For fun, TripAdvisor asked survey respondents which broadcaster and late night show host they would most like to see cover Virgin Galactic’s maiden voyage. Here are the results:
|Broadcaster||Late night show host|
|1. Anderson Cooper – 15%||1. Jimmy Fallon – 25%|
|2. Ellen DeGeneres – 14%||2. Stephen Colbert – 21%|
|3. Brian Williams – 12%||3. Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman (tied) – 10%|
Top 10 Space-Themed Attractions in the U.S.:
1. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia (5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 1,328 reviews)
Located 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., this museum features two hangars that display thousands of aviation and space artifacts including the retired Discovery space shuttle. Travelers can view a film at the Airbus IMAX Theater, visit the observation tower, or take an educational tour of the facility. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “I was in aviation heaven. Standing next to the space shuttle was exciting and humbling.”
2. Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 1,226 reviews)
Known as one of the world’s largest aerospace museums, this desert attraction features more than 300 aircrafts, a space gallery, Aviation Hall of Fame, and hosts “Soarin’ Saturdays” where children can build model airplanes, experiment with rockets, and more. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “This large museum has it all from the beginning of flight to the space program.”
3. Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 487 reviews)
Located 40 miles southwest of Portland, the Space Flight exhibit takes travelers on a journey through the history of extraterrestrial exploration, giving them an up-close look at boosters, space crafts, rockets, and beyond. “This is a first class aviation and space museum with excellent exhibits and one of the best collections of aircrafts, space vehicles, and hardware,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer.
4. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 4,924 reviews)
Featuring 21 exhibits, this attraction has nearly 60,000 objects ranging from Saturn V rockets and jetliners, to gliders, space helmets and microchips. Also on display is an extensive collection of aviation and space images – boasting more than 1.7 million photographs and 14,000 film and video titles. “This is an amazing museum with something for everyone. Be sure to touch the moon rock just inside the door facing the mall,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer.
5. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 3,524 reviews)
Situated 1,134 feet above sea level on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, this iconic observatory strives to inspire guests to ponder and understand the sky. Travelers can observe the cosmos through the Zeiss telescope and attend a star party where they’ll have the chance to mix and mingle with amateur astronomers. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Great at night, very special. Had telescopes set up so you could see planets and stars.”
6. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Cape Canaveral, Florida (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 3,082 reviews)
Travelers visiting this Cape Canaveral complex can experience the excitement of the moon landing at the Apollo/Saturn V Center where they can touch a real moon rock and stand under the largest rocket ever made. “If you like science, history, and rockets this is a great visit. The mere size and scope of these rockets is amazing,” commented a TripAdvisor reviewer.
7. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City, New York (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 1, 807 reviews)
Seated on Pier 86 along the Hudson River, this museum allows travelers to immerse themselves in history by exploring 17 awe-inspiring exhibits that feature original artifacts, photographs, and films. Astronomy aficionados can also marvel at the Enterprise space shuttle, built for NASA to perform test flights. “Standing under the space shuttle and being so close is truly breathtaking,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer.
8. McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, Texas (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 372 reviews)
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014, the McDonald Observatory is one of the world’s leading centers for astronomical research. Guests are invited to attend the Twilight Program and Star Party where they will enjoy sky constellation tours and view celestial objects via telescope. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Excellent exposure to the world of astronomical observation. Star party is a must.”
9. U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 687 reviews)
Since 1970, this facility has showcased the past, present and future of human spaceflight. On display, travelers can view America’s first satellite, Explorer I, the Apollo 12 moon rock, and the Apollo 16 command module. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “This is a must-see if you travel to Huntsville. It’s educational, interactive, and fun.”
10. Sedona Star Gazing, Sedona, Arizona (4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor, 302 reviews)
Using some of the largest custom built telescopes, travelers visiting Sedona can marvel at the starry night sky. Tours are restricted to a maximum of 12 guests to ensure a personal experience that allows star gazers to ask questions and learn about the heavenly bodies above. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Through the telescope we viewed Jupiter, Mars, nebulas, star clusters, and had an unbelievable view of Saturn!”
“The TripAdvisor survey shows that even 45 years after the moon landing, Americans are still intrigued by space exploration,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. “To commemorate the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, TripAdvisor went to its universe of millions of travelers for the best space-themed attractions in the U.S.”
Note to editors: The TripAdvisor space-themed attractions are based on the quality and quantity of reviews for space museums, planetariums, and space centers. Attractions bearing space-related keywords in their name and/or reviews were considered.
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