I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I don’t remember much about the city of Biloxi, Mississippi. We stayed at the Scarlet Pearl Casino for two nights, in a really big, modern room at a pretty cheap price, but didn’t do any gambling (it’s not really our thing). We had a nice view of the Gulf coast, and I made our Disney reservations there, which was really exciting, knowing that we would soon be in Orlando.
On our way to Biloxi from Lafayette, however, we discovered the INFINITY Science Center, thanks to the giant rocket stage remnant – the Apollo 19 Saturn V, containing five F-1 rocket engines – mounted on the side of the highway. The science center was all about space and earth sciences, and admission included a bus tour of NASA’s Stennis Space Center (second largest after the Kennedy Space Center) nearby.
The Stennis Space Center is a rocket-testing facility, and almost all the rockets that have gone into space have been tested there. The bus took us past the federal buildings and the testing range, where there were several huge testing stands that looked pretty much like launch pads. Because the Stennis Center is restricted, we weren’t allowed to get out of the bus, and even had to show our passports before boarding the bus (which Eric drove two hours to and from our hotel to retrieve for the tour!).
While we were in the science center waiting for Eric to get our passports from our hotel room, the boys and I had a look around and then hung out in the play area, where there were various building sets and books. One of the staff members wearing a lab coat – a young guy who might have been an intern or something – chatted us up, asking where we were from and if Fisher and Milo were into sports. I said they weren’t really, and the conversation kind of dropped and he left. He came back a second time and chatted with us again (it seemed like he didn’t have much to do, and we were the only people there at the time). On the third go around, he said if the kids were hungry he could sell me some candy. I guess he was trying to make a bit of money on the side, but the suggestion was weird, and felt even a tad creepy. I probably should have mentioned it to another staff member, but I didn’t. No matter, we enjoyed our visit to INFINITY and the Stennis Space Center anyway.