Family Space Adventure at the Euro Space Center
Another gloomy day in Brussels is perfect for exploring a family-friendly indoor attraction. We went to Euro Space Center located in Transinne, just a little over an hour drive South from Brussels. The museum is devoted to space science and astronautics and provides great educational value to visitors of all ages.
Fees & headsets:
The entry fee to the museum is relatively inexpensive compared to other interactive museums in Belgium, i.e.: 12€ for adults and 9 € for children 6-12 years old. Kids under 6 are free of charge. However, since they enter for free, they don’t receive audio headphones, which turned out to be a major drawback, since the whole tour is guided by a pre-recorded narrative for set presentations. We had thought that it would be simple exhibits we could explain to the kids, but this wasn’t the case. Without the audio recording, kids hear only background music and have no idea what they are looking at and watching. Not a big deal for smaller tots, but for 5 year olds a 2-hour tour without narrative is rather pointless, especially since at this age they can definitely be interested in learning a little about the planets and the history of space exploration. And since the tours are continuous and timed, we couldn’t go back to the reception area to pick up extra headsets (5.60€ per child) so we were forced to carry on our tour awkwardly sharing headphones with the kids: cheap but a far from ideal solution.
The Family Tour:
As I mentioned above, the tours at the museum are timed and cannot be interrupted. The Space Odyssey tour departs every 20 minutes and is guided by the narrative recorded on your headset. The entire tour takes approximately 90 minutes and during that time you and your family can explore a full-scale replica of the American space shuttle, learn about history of space, astronomy and the solar system; milestones in space exploration; international space stations; and modern space cooperation. My kids found it especially fascinating to see how discoveries in the space industry such as helmets, diapers, vacuum-packed food products and many other inventions found their way to be introduced into terrestrial markets. The tour concludes with a 6-minute, 4-D animated movie “Fly Me to the Moon” (dubbed in English), which takes you on a bumpy ride to the moon with a team of heroic flies (in seats that actually move to simulate flight).
Additional Attractions & Activities:
For an additional fee you can explore other worthwhile attractions of the museum. At the compact-size Planetarium, you can go on a ride through the solar system and discover a space observatory located at the Chilean Andes, which features one of the most powerful telescopes in the world, which an astronomer in the film is using to find evidence of water in space. And you can experience walking on the moon – an absolute highlight of our visit, combining a harness hanging from giant springs and virtual reality goggles showing a moonscape. The center also offers other exciting activities such as a multi-axis chair or a zero gravity wall but to use them you have to be a part of the Family Space Weekend program or the Astronaut Camp. There is also an outdoor part with a galactic plant labyrinth and a solar system, which we’ll have to visit next time when the weather is more permissive. (A second wing is also under construction.)
Undeniably, the Euro Space Center offers a great gateway for the entire family. The only con I could point out is the overpriced cafeteria (for ONE meatball with a little bit of French fries they charge 7€!) and lack of space for storing coats or bags.