Common questions and tips

Commonly asked questions about Scout Camp-Ins.

Space Center Houston has opened its facility for an educational overnight experience. The Educational Programs Crew has developed a program that allows campers to utilize Space Center Houston to fulfill camp/badge requirements.
No, this overnight experience is not a guided tour of the facility. We use the atmosphere and the various attractions/exhibits that correlate with the theme of the evening. Because so many activities are packed into a camp-in, the counselors keep a tight schedule. Free time and gift shop time are incorporated into your next day visit. A next day visit is included in the registration fees.
Yes! Safety is Space Center Houston’s number one concern. Security personnel are at each camp-in round-the-clock, as well as patrolling the outside area.
Space Center Houston houses a first aid station that is available during the day. For the overnight, each group is responsible for a First Aid Responder being present. Space Center Houston Camp Staff has access to a basic first aid kit for your use.
An awesome experience, of course! Many would love the opportunity to “spend the night” at Space Center Houston, but we currently only reserve this experience for the American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts. Not only do the campers work on their badge requirements, but they experience activities not available to the general public. Because we are a not-for-profit organization, Educational Programs must support their own efforts. Costs incurred during a typical camp-in include: reserving the facility for the entire evening, materials, food and staff.
Only registered scouts and their leaders/chaperones attend a Camp-In. Chaperones are not permitted to bring any children who are not registered or who do not meet the designated age level or gender requirements for a camp-in.
Space Center Houston’s policy requires that all campers be under the direct supervision of an adult leader at all times. The counselors really need your help with: maintaining discipline/attention, staying with your team, upbeat attitude (campers mirror you), helping the campers with some activities. Leaders must have all of the participants’ (campers and adults) medical forms readily available in case of an emergency.
Because campers are from various organizations, it is the leader’s responsibility to purchase badges from a scout store. As a leader, it is your discretion as to how you want to award badges to your campers. Space Center Houston does have a camp patch available the night of the camp for $7 each.
About as much sleep as you would get from a slumber party with 350 people. Sleep time is about 8 hours. Lights out ranges from 10:30-11:30 p.m. depending on the camper/scout level evening.

Helpful Tips and Information Prior To Your Camp-In


What to bring?

  • Back packs, duffle bags or small roller suitcases “carry-on” size luggage is ideal.
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad (sleeping pad goes under your sleeping bag) Sleeping pads are highly recommended as we do not allow air mattresses and the floor is carpeted, but still hard.
  • Pillows and extra blankets as the air conditioning does get cold, even in summer, so it is always a good idea to bring an extra blanket.
  • Basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and hair brushes are ideal and wet wipes are a great way to freshen up since we do not have showers.
  • Pajamas.
  • Clothing should be comfortable. Casual clothes and good walking shoes are recommended. Scout uniforms may be worn on the night of the camp or the next day. Typically, about half of the troops and packs wear their uniforms and half wear troop or pack T-shirts or other casual clothes. Remember to bring a jacket or sweater no matter what time of year you are coming.
  • Charging banks are a great idea and allow you to charge your device without an outlet. There are some outlets available in the sleeping area as well as charging stations around the center but you are not guaranteed a sleeping location near an outlet.
  • Money for gift shop.
  • Food/snacks if you have food allergies or are unable to partake in the provided meals, you may bring your own. However, NO food or drinks can be consumed in sleeping areas.
  • Medical forms for every scout and adult are required to be brought to the Camp-In. The troop/pack leader should have them readily available if needed for an emergency.

What NOT to bring?

Please keep in mind that you will be sleeping with other troops and packs and we ask that you show the same courtesy and respect to them that you would like them to show you. Think of it as an indoor-camping trip and the camp site, just like in the forest, has a few rules so that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.

  • Air mattresses and cots, the only exception to this rule is if you or someone in your party has a medical condition. If you did not already request to bring one in the comments section of your registration, please email Reservations or the Program Coordinator.
  • Glow sticks (flash lights and phone lights are ok)
  • Electrical hair appliances (blow dryers, straighteners, curling irons etc.)
  • Only registered scouts and their leaders/chaperones attend a Camp-In. Chaperones are not permitted to bring any children who are not registered or who do not meet the designated age level or gender requirements for a camp-in.

Adding Additional Scouts or Adults to Your Reservation?

  • If you need to add more scouts or adults to your reservation, please call Reservations at +1 281-283-4755.

Medical Conditions

  • If you have a medical condition that does not allow you to sleep on the floor and you need to bring an air mattress or cot, please let us know as soon as possible before the camp so that we can accommodate you.
  • If you need to bring a CPAP machine, let us know so that we can place you near an outlet.
  • If you have any allergies to food, you can view the current menu and list of ingredients that will be offered during the Camp-In, on our website at any time. If you need to bring your own food, you may do so.
  • Our Instructors and Camp-In staff will not administer any medication to anyone. If a child is bringing prescription medicine that needs to be taken during the camp, then either their parent/guardian or troop/pack leader must administer it to them.

First Aid

  • We do have a first aid kit with very basic supplies for minor injuries or illnesses. The Security department also has a fully equipped first aid kit.
  • The troop/pack leader needs to have all of the medical forms for every scout and parent readily available in case of an emergency.

Cancellation and Refund Policies

  • Cancellations to your reservations may be made up until 6 weeks before the date of your Camp-In.
  • Refunds will only be given up until 6 weeks before the date of your Camp-In.
  • If your camp is less than 6 weeks away and you are not able to attend, you can reschedule individuals or your entire group and apply your ticket(s) to another Camp-In.
  • If Space Center Houston cancels your camp due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, we will either refund you or you can apply your tickets to another Camp-In date.
  • Rescheduling your Camp-In date can be done by calling Reservations at +1 281-283-4755. Please note that all dates are subject to availability.

Getting to Space Center Houston
We are located at 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058

Traffic can be an issue, even on a Saturday so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to travel. If you are crossing through downtown Houston, it is generally better to take the 610 loop instead of I-45 through that area.

  • If your troop/pack is traveling in separate vehicles, make sure all drivers have a way to contact each other. Everyone must be present from your troop or pack in order to check in.
  • Always check current weather and road conditions on official state websites.
  • I-45 usually has road construction south of Beltway 8.
  • Beltway 8 is a toll road.
  • In case of bad weather and road closures on major freeways, there are several alternate routes in the area to choose from.
  • Remember to search for Space Center Houston and not NASA or Johnson Space Center on your GPS. We are located across the street from NASA.

Bad Weather
Camp-Ins are not cancelled for bad weather unless all of Space Center Houston is closed. This only occurs in extreme, severe storms. No refunds will be given as long as the Camp-In has not been canceled. However, you may reschedule your visit any time. You will be notified if the Camp-In is canceled.

Parking and Check-In

  • Check-in is at 5 p.m.
  • Tell the Space Center Houston Crew Member at the parking toll booth that you are here for the Camp-In. Parking is free for you and anyone else who is staying for the Camp-In or dropping off and picking up.
  • The gate will be open early in the morning for anyone joining you on the second day.
  • Check-in is at the front of the building, look for Camp-In staff at a counter to the left of Security.
  • Once everyone from your party has arrived, the leader can go up and check-in with our staff. You will receive a welcome packet with a wrist band for everyone in your group as well as the itinerary for the evening, coupons for the gift store and badge requirements met and a few other goodies.
  • The Camp-In staff member will then explain everything you need to know and check-you in. Know how many scouts you have and how many adults you have altogether. They will also tell you when to bring in your luggage. If you are being dropped off, you can either store your luggage in another vehicle from your group or ask the Camp-In staff member for assistance.
  • Your entire group must be present in order to check-in and enter the center. If you think that part of your group will not arrive before dinner starts, then please notify the Camp-In staff.
  • You will receive one free patch if your troop or pack checks-in before dinner.

Badge Requirements Met During the Camp-In

  • You will be given a list of all of the badge requirements your scouts will be earning upon check-in. You can also view them on our website. Some scouts earn an entire badge or adventure loop in a night, while others earn most requirements but not all. It depends on the camp type as to whether or not they complete all the requirements. For questions please contact the Program Coordinator, at campins@spacecenter.org.

Blue Cards

  • Our Instructors cannot sign Blue Cards because they are not certified merit badge counselors. It is up to you to show your Space Exploration Merit Badge counselor the badge requirements met.
  • Boy Scouts complete most but not all of their badge requirements for the Space Exploration Merit Badge during the Camp-In. They will need to complete the rest in order to earn their full badge and get their Blue Card signed off.

Badges

  • We do not provide any physical badges for the scouts, including the make your own badge for Girl Scouts.

After Check-In, Before Dinner

  • Free time to explore the center – limitations apply. Movies, shows, simulators and Independence Plaza are off limits. You can experience these attractions on your second day. This is so that no one misses dinner and we don’t lose you. There is plenty to see in the exhibit area during this time.

Buffet Dinner / Snacks / Buffet Breakfast

  • Both meals will be served, “buffet style”, with one serving per person. Seconds will be offered after everyone has been served.
  • Menus include vegetarian and gluten free options. See current menu on our website.
  • Snack time happens during the second activity of the evening. We offer a beverage and snack to everyone.

Luggage/ Camp Sites

  • Luggage is brought in at different times depending on what camp type you are attending and when the center closes. You will be told when to bring in luggage at check-in.
  • Camp sites are assigned at random by troop/pack and are based on capacity and group size.
  • Changing and getting ready for bed happens in the bathrooms.
  • For Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls, men will be required to sleep in a separate area.
  • After lights-out, it is up to you to keep your group quiet and settled. If a scout needs to go to the bathroom, our policy is that one adult must go with them. They cannot go without an adult.

Welcome Show

  • There will be a Welcome Show after dinner to go over the plan for the evening, rules and introduce the Instructors. Midway through the show, the scouts are dismissed into their groups with their Instructors and go to their first activity. The adults stay behind for an adult briefing and then rejoin the scouts. Important information is covered that you will need to know during the remainder of the Camp-In.

2 Deep Leadership

  • Our policy at Space Center Houston is that a scout is never left alone. They are either with one of our Instructors, another scout or a troop/pack leader or parent. We ask them to find a “Space Buddy” (another scout) during the Welcome Show and they are supposed to stay together during the activity portion of the night. We understand that scouting organizations may have a different policy when it comes to how many adults must be with a scout at all times.
  • Please feel free to abide by your organization’s policies. We understand and respect that you may require two adults from your troop or pack to go with the groups when they are dismissed and that is completely acceptable. We just need most of the adults in the adult briefing portion of the Welcome Show.

Camp T Shirts, Patches and Day 2 Only Tickets

  • Camp T-shirts, patches and Day 2 Only Tickets will be available for pick up and/or purchase after the Welcome Show. The Camp-In staff member leading the Welcome Show will dismiss you by group to go to the T-Shirt counter.
  • If you preorder your shirts and patches you will receive them the night of the Camp-In. We no longer mail them before the Camp-In.

Activities

  • The activity portion of the evening is meant to be a fun and educational experience for the scouts. One badge/ adventure loop has been chosen for the scouts that evening to work on, which is advertised on our website. We chose the most space related badges available from each organization, however some lend themselves more to space science than others. Our Instructors will relate the activities to space as much as they can. All activities are either science or space related.
  • Your scout will be assigned to a group of about 20-30 other scouts. They will not be separated from their troop or pack unless the troop or pack has more than 30 scouts. You will also be assigned to the same group as your scouts.
  • Groups will rotate around the center, doing each activity at a different location. Some activities are hands-on while others are tours or interactive demos.

Leaders

  • Your role as a troop or pack leader and parent is very important during the Camp-In. The activities are designed for you to participate with your scouts and enjoy this unique experience together. Please participate in the activities with your scouts and help them make memories that will last for a life time!
  • Instructors are going to rely on you to participate and be a part of the activities. They will interact with you as well and will get you involved so “be prepared”.
  • The Instructors also need your help with maintaining discipline and attention of the scouts.
  • We will have a refreshment area for you where there will be coffee, soda and hot and cold water available to you throughout the evening.

Family and Friends

  • Camp-Ins are designed as a special night for scouts and their parents/leaders only. If any friends or other family members would like to join you for your second day, you can purchase a Day 2 Only ticket for $12.95 for them the night of your Camp-In. Tell them to arrive by 8 a.m. to join you for Day 2 activities, including the private tram tour.


Dinner

  • BBQ chicken tenders (gluten free) BBQ sauce (gluten free)
  • Roll or bun (contains wheat)
  • Large baked potato with several toppings
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Mac n cheese (contains dairy and wheat)
  • Banana pudding (contains dairy, vanilla wafers, contain wheat, milk, and soy)
  • Soda or water

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs (contains dairy)
  • Biscuits and gravy (contains wheat and dairy)
  • Sausage patty (pork)
  • Vanilla yogurt (contains dairy)
  • Granola/honey (contains wheat, dairy, nuts)
  • Orange juice, apple juice or water for scouts. Coffee, soda and hot water will be available for adults only.

*Please note menus are subject to change. Check back the week of your camp-In for any changes.

For any questions or to make any changes to your order, including purchases and additional notes, please contact Reservations at +1 281-283-4755 or reservations@spacecenter.org.