Friday, March 28, 2014

Space Camp

Space Camp...the gluten free, allergy free way!
Space Camp - Huntsville, Al
 It's been a dream of mine to attend Space Camp since I was a kid. When I had the opportunity to chaperone a field trip to Huntsville, Alabama I jumped at the chance to go. However, for those of us who are gluten intolerant and have food allergies, travel isn't always so easy.   

Space Camp - Graduation Morning!

According to the Pathfinder Program literature (at the time of my trip) it stated that all dietary needs must be notified 60 days prior to arrival. As with any travel, planning and preparation is key. I called the phone number provided and was pleasantly surprised that our dietary needs could be met. They suggested we inform our team leader of our dietary restrictions before our first meal.
We were assigned the most wonderful team leader.
Special Dietary Needs - Space Camp

Before each meal, we were placed at the head of our group line and walked to the "Special Dietary Food Processing Unit." The Pathfinder program includes room & board during your stay.
We needed both gluten free and tree nut free foods.
Space Camp - Dinner the first night
The first day included dinner in the cost of the program. We were served rice, green beans and beef tips. A couple of the items were served gluten free off the regular line and some items were prepared and stored separately. The also had a salad bar available for lunch and dinner. I did decide to have a salad a few times after I watched them fill up the containers. I stayed away from the dressings, meats etc. and any items that were in proximity of the croutons! 
Space Camp
 All of the food counters are located in the same room.
Fountain drink machines with Coke products and juices were offered as a self serve option.
Also they had fresh fruit (oranges and apples) located in the tray area that made for a nice snack.
MAT Simulator
 Since I've waited for years to go to Space Camp, I wanted to take advantage of every single activity to as available...I felt like a kid again!
Breakfast Day 2 & 3
 For breakfast they served gluten free waffles, maple syrup, eggs and sausage.
Lunch at Space Camp

 For lunch we were served gluten free pasta with marinara sauce, gluten free bread and a salad. They had a station with pre-made sandwiches, including a couple marked gluten free. I couldn't receive a clear answer on the gluten free status of the sandwiches. To avoid cross-contamination, I decided on the pasta option. 

Space Camp Dinner #2

The final dinner consisted of grilled chicken, rice, green beans, salad and an apple. Next time I'll remember to bring my individual salad dressing packs. This would have been extremely helpful! The grilled chicken was surprisingly moist. We felt great eating at camp...experiencing "camp food." 

There are several vending machines at the facility that had a couple of gluten free options in them. We did pack our travel bag with some snacks and bottled water. We left this in our car, in case of a food emergency. We had plenty to eat and didn't need anything except our water!
Ready to launch the rocket I built!
 For me Space Camp was all about the experience and less about the food. Let's be honest though...when you're gluten free it's always about food. 
We were so grateful that they were willing to accommodate our dietary needs.   
Space Camp - Pathfinder - Huntsville, AL
I could write for days about the knowledge I gained about NASA, how exciting it was to take advantage of the simulators and how much fun this experience was. However, I won't spoil all the surprises...
Mercury Capsule
Space Camp offers many different options including family and adults programs. For more information you can visit the Space Camp website


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