Ultimate guide to visit Euro Space Center (Wallonia - Belgium)

This article first appeared on My Travelogue by Bhushavali

Since quite some time ago, I've been considering a visit to Euro Space Center, but I've been waiting for Atyudarini to grow a bit so she can understand and experience them as well. Finally, during the last winter holidays, I managed to visit Euro Space Center. In Atyudarini's words, it is a 'Space Museum'! I'm pretty sure she nailed the terminology.
To begin with, there are enough things to do in Euro Space Center for an entire day. As soon as you reach Euro Space Center (at its bus stop or its car park), the first thing you’d notice is its huge rocket and the solar system outside. 

Euro Space Centre Europa II Rocket


Ultimate Guide to visit Euro Space Centre Belgium

Ultimate Guide to visit Euro Space Centre Belgium

Space Tour at Euro Space Centre Belgium
Photo clicked by Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

SOLAR SYSTEM AREA AT EURO SPACE CENTER
By Solar System, I just mean a ring of lights and you won’t miss Jupiter. As you get closer, you’ll spot the other planets (well, they are just printed flat metallic sheets in the relative size perched on a metal road). We visited Euro Space Center in the Winter and it was snowing when we went, so we skipped the playground and Space Walk (a 6km way-marked hiking trail) around and directly headed inside. 

EUROPA ROCKET AT EURO SPACE CENTER
Close to the entrance of Euro Space Center is a rocket! This was the real, now decommissioned, space shuttle Europa 2. Just beside it is the life-size model of Hermes Space Shuttle. This was just the proposed design and was never really made. 

VIRTUAL TOUR OF EURO SPACE CENTER

The whole space is split to 4 sections - Preparation for Space Travel, Relive the Conquest of Space, Space Travel Training and Trip to Mars. Just beside the ticket office, in the first section - Preparation for Space Travel - there are a few games that test our alertness. 

SPACE TOUR AT EURO SPACE CENTER
Beyond the Ticket Office, there are 3 major routes which you can go on. One leads to the Relive the Conquest of Space area with the Space Tour. A tour starts every 20 minutes and lasts for about 90 minutes. This is more of an educational area, so if your child is about 10-15 years old, don’t miss it. It is an audioguide tour that goes through various rooms beginning with a room of quizzes on touch screens, followed by a room about planets etc. Since Atyudarini is a bit too young to understand this and it takes more than an hour’s time, I chose to skip it.

SPACE TRAVEL TRAINING AT EURO SPACE CENTER
The other 2 routes go to the Space Travel Training area which is where all the activities are. You are free to choose the activities in any order and you could do the ones without a long queue, first. One of the routes, just beside Space Tour, goes directly to the Rotor and that’s where we headed next. Since the minimum height for this is 130cm, Atyudarini had to sit & wait on the bench beside the rotor. The experience inside the rotor was exhilarating. It is supposed to give you the experience of a rocket launch! It started rotating slow and then super fast while the rotor raised up from the platform! Due to the centrifugal action, even though the floor isn’t beneath your feet, you’re still stuck to the walls and floating!!!!! Amazing, exceptional experience it was!!!!
The other 5 Space Training activities are together in another hall and my first stop here was the one I was awaiting the most - Free Fall Slide! It is kinda similar to a regular playground slide but is 7m tall and for the first couple of metres, you’re free-falling without touching the slide!!! It was such a thrilling experience!

Rotor at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities

Free Fall Slide at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities
Photo clicked by Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Space Flight Unit at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities
Photo clicked by Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Mars/Moon walk at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities
Photo clicked by Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Our next stop was Mars Walk / Moon Walk. A spring pulls you up lightly and you could ‘jump walk’, helping you to get an approximate feel of how walking on Mars or the Moon would feel like. Of course a VR Headset helps to make them feel more intense with visuals or Mars/Moon surface. The Space Flight Unit is also a VR Headset unit where you ride a space shuttle and land it on Mars! Atyudarini was allowed to try the Space Flight Unit but not the Mars/Moonwalk.
Then there’s the Space Show 5D. This was particularly super interesting for Atyudarini. As the name suggests it’s a 3D movie but with a moving chair and vibration making you ‘feel’ the movie. The 6-minute animated movie was about the moon landing which was made possible by a group of bees who made repairs in the space shuttle at the last minute! From fire sparks, the turbulation everything was realistic & just awesome. Being the first-ever 3D movie experience for Atyudarini, she just absolutely loved it! 
Just beside this is the dedicated place for Yuri Gagarin, the first-ever human to have ventured to space. A section of this space also features Dirk Frimout, the first-ever Belgian to have ventured to space and Frank de Winne, the first-ever Belgian to have commanded a Space mission. 
My last stop in this section was the Planetarium. As someone who has been to B.M.Birla Planetarium in Chennai and Brussels Planetarium, this felt really small and a bit less impressive. But then, when you’re at Euro Space Center, the main attraction is not the planetarium, but are its activities.
Apart from these 5, there are 3 more activities - Zero Gravity Wall, Multi-Axis Chair and Rotating Chair. However, you cannot try these unless you book for a group or stay overnight there or organize/participate in a birthday party there! These 3 are really super cool and it's too bad that I couldn’t experience them.

A TRIP TO MARS FROM EURO SPACE CENTER
After the Space Training Activities, the last section is A Trip to Mars, which talks about how life in space generally is. There are interactive video games here and finally, a ‘Mars Rover’ area where you can ride a mars rover!!! Well, it is like a remote-controlled car, except that the car looks like Mars Rover and the terrain looks like Mars!!!

HEIGHT LIMIT FOR THE ACTIVITIES AT EURO SPACE CENTER
No matter what the age is, the minimum height to experience most of the activities is 110cm (except Space Rotor where the height requirement is 130cm), from which Atyudarini is very slightly shy. Here's the thing about being an Indian in Europe - many local kids who aren't even 4yrs old are already 110cm and with our Indian genes, Atyudarini isn't yet, but old enough! Luckily for us, Atyudarini was allowed to try out the Space Flight Unit & 5D Movie, though she couldn't try the Mars/Moon Walk which are the ones she really wanted to do. She found the Space Rotor & Free Fall Slide a bit too scary anyway!   

TIPS FOR VISITING EURO SPACE CENTER
  • If you use GoPro (or a phone case with the tripod mount adaptor) get the long thumb screw bolt without fail. If you do, your GoPro/Phone can be attached to the central cylinder of the Space Rotor. Unfortunately, I forgot mine since the Shorty attachment doesn’t require it and so, I had to hold the camera in hand to record myself.
  • Set aside a budget & time for the super awesome Astronaut Shop! From little stuff like keychains & pens to elaborate Space Themed DIY experiments & Lego sets, it needs at least 30 mins!
  • Definitely book tickets online with a timeslot.
  • Plan your trip precisely if you depend on public transport. More details on it are below.

Multi Axis Chair at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities

Zero Gravity Wall at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities

Yuri Gagarin area at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities

A trip to Mars at Euro Space Centre Belgium
Photo clicked by Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

EURO SPACE CENTER TICKETS
Euro Space Center tickets for adults: €31
Euro Space Center tickets for children above 1.10m: €27
Euro Space Center tickets for children below 1.10m: Free
Buy your Euro Space Center tickets online from the Euro Space Center official website

EURO SPACE CENTER TIMINGS
Euro Space Center opening hours: 9:00AM to 5:30PM 
Open to the general public only on weekends & school vacation days

BEST TIME TO VISIT EURO SPACE CENTER
All round the year. Euro Space Center is primarily indoors. All the activities described above are indoors. So Euro Space Center is a good place to visit even when it is snowy or rainy outside. When the weather is good, you can also play at the playground and do the 6km hiking route around Euro Space Center. Otherwise, you'll miss it, like we did! 

THINGS TO DO AROUND / NEAR EURO SPACE CENTER
From Horse cart ride at Hatrival to Sheep Farm at Acremont to Redu, the village of books to the most interactive art museum of Mudia to the Nutons hiking path for kids in Libin there are quite a few unique things to do around Euro Space Center! Read all about them in my article on things to do around Euro Space Center.

HOW TO REACH EURO SPACE CENTER BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Is it possible to reach Euro Space Center by public transport?
It is quite tricky to reach Euro Space Center by public transport. There's just 1 bus, LeTEC Bus Route 61 that runs on this route and it isn't a very frequently running bus. This bus connects Libramont and Redu, so you'll have to reach Libramont Gare by SNCB-NMBS Belgian Train and then take this bus. So if you entirely depend on public transport, precise planning is necessary. 
Check out here to know how to get cheap Belgian train tickets.
ONE DAY (WEEKDAY) ITINERARY AT EURO SPACE CENTER WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT 
If you want to go on a day trip to Euro Space Center depending on public transport, definitely choose a weekday during school vacation. During regular school days, Euro Space Center is closed to the general public and is open for only school groups and birthday parties. Saturdays wouldn't work for a day trip to Euro Space Center as you'll get only 1 hour to spend at Euro Space Center effectively which is pointless and on Sundays, the bus doesn't operate at all! 

Only during school vacation (summer/winter/spring/autumn holidays):
Take the 7:37 IC train from Brussels Central which reaches Libramont at 9:52. Catch the 10:15 bus at Libramont Gare which will reach Euro Space Center at 10:57. There are only 3 buses throughout the entire day so you really cannot miss this bus. For returning take the 15:04 bus (that's the last bus) from Euro Space Center which will reach Libramont Gare at 15:45. The 16:09 IC train at Libramont reaches Brussels Central at 18:23. Do check the timetable of the day you visit to avoid any surprises like road block or cancelled buses!

TWO DAYS (FRIDAY-SATURDAY) ITINERARY AT EURO SPACE CENTER WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT 
If a school vacation seems far away and you'd prefer to go as soon as possible, the only option is to stay in Redu, a nearby town which is the last stop of the LeTEC Bus Route 61 that passes by Euro Space Center. Read my other post on the things to do in Haute-Lesse (Libin & Redu).
There is an option to stay in Euro Space Center itself. That package is called Orion Mission Mini Trip. This is available only on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) and since there are no buses on Sundays, this won't work if you depend on public transport! This can be chosen if you have a car. 
There are 3 buses that reach a day that reaches Redu from Libramont. Take any and stay at Redu on Friday night. On Saturday morning, catch the 8:51 bus at Redu which will reach Euro Space Center at 9:04. There are only 2 buses on Saturday, so don't miss this! After enjoying Euro Space Center, take the 13:04 bus at Euro Space Center, in the same direction, towards Libramont. (that's the 2nd of the 2 buses of the day, so don't miss that as well!) This would reach Libramont at 13:45. Direct IC Trains run once every hour (14:09, 15:09, 16:09..... and the last train at 21:09) to Brussels. Either take the 14:09 train to Brussels or explore Libramont and take a later train.

Mars Village at Euro Space Centre Space Training activities

Mars Rover at Euro Space Centre Belgium
Photo clicked by Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Ultimate travel guide to visit Euro Space Centre Belgium

Ultimate travel guide to visit Euro Space Centre Belgium

ONE/TWO DAY ITINERARY AT EURO SPACE CENTER WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT (+ Biking)
Bring your bike on the train till Poix St.Hubert and bike to Euro Space Center located about 7km away. For a 2 days itinerary, stay at Euro Space Center or Transinne or Redu and return in the same way. Bike 7km till Poix-Saint-Hubert railway station and take the train.

TWO DAYS (ALL WEEKEND) ITINERARY AT EURO SPACE CENTER WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT (+ Long Hike)
If you really cannot go on a weekday, the next best option is to stay overnight at Redu or Euro Space Center itself. But this is effectively possible only if you can hike 10+ km easily. This would also include the kids with you. So, only if your child is about 10+yrs old and can walk/bike the distance themselves this would work. 
Saturday: On Saturday morning, get the 8:37 IC train from Brussels Central to Libramont Gare. Get the 11:15AM bus at Libramont Gare which will reach Euro Space Center at 11:57. 
Accommodation in/near Euro Space Center: Book for the overnight stay at Euro Space Center itself (OR) at the end of the day take the 17:27 bus in the same direction and head to Redu. You'll reach Redu at 17:39. Stay at one of the Redu hotels.
Sunday: The next day explore Redu and start hiking through Saint Hubert Forest via Transinne & Smuid to reach Poix Saint Hubert railway station. This hiking distance is about 11km. 
Here's a 62km hike route that connects Redu, Libin, Poix St-Hubert etc, if hiking is something you love to much!
The SNCB-NMBS train route L at Poix Saint-Hubert goes to Rochefort-Jamelle. This train runs once every 2 hours - 15:04, 17:04, 19:04 and the last train at 21:04. From Rochefort-Jamelle direct trains are available to Brussels once every hour - 13:33, 14:33, 15:33 etc.... and the last train at 21:33. 

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Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

9 comments:

  1. I would certainly be interested in visiting the Euro Space Center if we ever get to Belgium. Both hubby and I are space geeks and would not pass this by. I love how many interactive displays there are. I would certainly like to try walking on the moon! Thanks for the help in planning a visit by public transit. Linda (LD Holland)

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  2. What a place - one that allows you to explore space without actually going there. The Mars walk for me was the most interesting. The combination of virtual reality and the 3D space would have made the experience surreal. Pity that you missed the hiking trail owing to Winter but knowing you, you might just get back for it.

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  3. What a great experience to inspire a young mind about what is possible. It looks like a great family friendly outing.

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  4. I like visiting planetariums so I think I would enjoy the Euro Space Center. The Space Travel Training section would be my highlight, experiencing what a rocket launch feels like would be amazing!

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  5. Euro Space Centre is really cool! I would like to experience the Rotor, Free Fall Slide, and the Mars Walk. My husband and son will love this place. You are right to take your daughter after she understands it, just like when we took our son to Air & Space Museum in DC. And we spent all day there.

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  6. I so want to take a picture with that massive rocket! I really want to try all of these activities! However, Rotor and Free Fall Slide are my top two picks. I'm sure Atyudarini had a good time on this trip.

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  7. I love all things connected with space exploration, but have never been to the Euro Space Centre. I have to change that in the near future!. The Moon Walk and the Space Rotor must have been fun - a bit scary also.

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  8. This is fantastic! My boys has been crazy with space stuff and wanted to be an astronaut someday so, this is exactly their thing. Hope we live nearby and can visit. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  9. Great Post ! I have read your other posts which are really informative for any traveler before arriving on euro space center Belgium.
    Thanks

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