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JUL-AUG 2016

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28 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6 rig, where up to 200 workers can consume 1,600 pounds of meat, 250 pounds of potatoes and 80 gallons of milk in a week. e museum is located in a former off shore drilling rig built in 1969 and used until the late 1980s. After viewing exhibits on three levels inside the rig, you can walk outside onto the drill fl oor for a close look at large drill bits. INTO OUTER SPACE e next day I got a look at life in another challenging en- vironment — outer space — at Space Center Houston, about halfway between Galveston and Houston along Interstate 45. "We tell the story of hu- man space exploration," said Meridyth Moore, public rela- tions specialist. "We try to bring that story to life." e newest exhibit, opened earlier this year, is Indepen- dence Plaza, where an authen- tic replica of a space shuttle sits atop an actual Boeing 905 shuttle carrier that was used in more than 200 missions. "It is the only place in the world you can see inside a space shuttle and its carrier," said Moore. "You can feel like an as- tronaut for a day." I was amazed at the small, cramped living area of the space shuttle, where astronauts per- formed research, ate, slept and even went to the bathroom in the same tight quarters. In addition to feeling like an astronaut, you can meet one every Friday for 30-minute pre- sentations or arrange to have an hour lunch with an astronaut. " ey come around to every ta- ble and talk to you personally," said Moore. e huge museum has a com- prehensive collection of space artifacts, including one of the largest collections of space suits, along with fl own space capsules from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. I joined a tram tour to the adjacent Johnson Space Center, the training and control center for space fl ight for more than 50 years. e tour passes by buildings on the sprawling complex where the fi rst Americans in space trained and visits the historic mission control center. "It handled all the Apollo missions to the moon right here," said a guide. URBAN HOUSTON I spent my fi nal two nights in downtown Houston. Although Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and its suburban free- ways can be packed, I found the downtown to be comfortable and easy to navigate. Adding to the comfortable feel is an aggressive public art program and several parks, such as Mar- ket Square Park and Sam Houston Park, where the Heritage Society Museum has 10 historic buildings displayed with a backdrop of modern skyscrapers. Art Block along Main Street features large art installations that remain for at least a year. One of the current ones is "Trumpet Flower," in which artist Patrick Renner used repurposed wood strips painted by local residents to create a multistory sculpture that provides shade for tables and chairs during the day. Another installation features a multi-color pastel fi eld along the street and up the sides of buildings at a main downtown intersection. Bryan Museum Courtesy Bryan Museum Courtesy Galveston CVB Galveston's Victorian homes 1BUSJPUT1PJOU3PBE.PVOU1MFBTBOU4$t1BUSJPUT1PJOUPSHFYQMPSF the VIETNAM EXPERIENCE now open *NNFSTFZPVSTFMGJOUIFOFXBOEVOJRVF 7JFUOBN&YQFSJFODF5ISPVHISFBMJTUJD TJHIUTBOETPVOETUIJTQFSNBOFOUBDSF FYIJCJUUBLFTZPVCBDLUPMJGFBTJUXBTGPS UIF64/BWZBOE.BSJOF$PSQTEVSJOHUIF 7JFUOBN8BS)POPSUIFTF"NFSJDBO IFSPFTBOEUIFJSTBDSJGJDFT 'PSHSPVQSFTFSWBUJPOTBOEEJTDPVOUFE HSPVQSBUFTDPOUBDU4BOEJ4NFMU[FS HSPVQTBMFT!QBUSJPUTQPJOUPSHt

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