NASA INFINITY Science Center
INFINITY Science Center boasts 35,000 square feet of Earth science, space, engineering and technology content spiced with innovated programming and interactive experiences that appeal to all ages. INFINITY also serves as the official visitor center for NASA Stennis Space Center.
Prior to the construction of Interstate 10, visitors to the area could tour a small visitor center, StenniSphere, located at NASA Stennis Space Center. Guided tours would leave from the little museum several times a day, taking guests along a bus route of seemingly incongruous primordial swamps and massive rocket test stands. In 2001, a group of visionaries came together and formed a non-profit foundation with the goal of raising funds to create a science center that would take over much of the StenniSphere mission and serve as a regional focal point for science education and research. NASA was an early partner in the effort, dedicating 199 leasable acres four miles south of the Stennis Space Center main entrance, next to the Mississippi Welcome Center. Other state, corporate and private partners saw the potential of the project and over the next two years, contributed to a feasibility study and architectural and exhibition design.
The dream endured through the destruction Hurricane Katrina left in her wake. The Mississippi Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal declared that the INFINITY Science Center was “critical to the recovery of the Gulf Coast” and planning resumed. The state contributed $12 million towards the museum’s construction. Dedicated in 2012, INFINITY Science Center now features an education wing; indoor and outdoor artifacts; Earth and space exhibit galleries; theaters; and live programs and demonstrations. Educational exhibits draw content from real-life space and ocean exploration activities conducted by the more than 30 labs and offices at the nearby research complex. INFINITY’s CaFe and Odyssey Gift Shop serve both interstate travelers and Stennis Space Center employees.
In the few short years it’s been open, INFINITY has seen an annual average of about 60,000 visitors…and the number is steadily growing. After the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in 2010, Mississippi identified INFINITY as one of five recipients for restoration funds, tasking the science center with educating future generations about environmental protection. Between now and 2018, returning guests and school groups will find enhanced nature trails, an environmental monitoring education program, guided tram tours down the Possum Walk Trail, new indoor and outdoor exhibits and more.