Rocket Park

East Texas

It's as impressive as it is sad: this never-used Saturn V rocket, a specimen of the most powerful rocket ever used by the US, which took astronauts to the moon, lies on its side in a hangar, just inside the Johnson Space Center. You can only see it on one of the Space Center’s tram tours. The close confines of the building make it hard to comprehend its full 363ft height, but you can still sense its incredible power.

This actual rocket was supposed to be used on the Apollo 18 moon mission, which was cancelled by the Nixon administration in 1970 even though the crew had been trained and equipment procured.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby East Texas attractions

1. Space Center Houston

0.28 MILES

Dream of landing on the moon? You can’t get closer than the visitor center/museum alongside NASA's Johnson Space Center, where interactive displays…

2. Lone Star Flight Museum

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Rehoused in a superb new facility 17 miles southeast of Houston, after its previous Galveston home was battered by Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Lone Star…

4. Battleship Texas State Historic Park

13.89 MILES

A quick drive from San Jacinto park, the 1914 battleship USS Texas served in WWI and WWII. Now moored next to the busy Buffalo Bayou ship channel, the…

5. Orange Show Center for Visionary Art

17.88 MILES

Originally a mazelike junk-art tribute to one man's favorite citrus fruit, this wonderfully cluttered site is now home to all manner of folk art…

6. Houston Zoo

20.93 MILES

Gorillas, elephants and moon jellyfish are a few of the 6000 residents of the 55-acre Houston Zoo. Activities include wildlife talks catering to different…

7. Children's Museum of Houston


An activity-filled museum, where little ones can learn how stuff works, create inventions, play games or draw in an open-air art studio. Admission is free…

8. Health Museum


Future surgeons will like checking out the huge organs on display in this very interactive museum. Other exhibits explain DNA and more.