FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 26, 2013) -- Soldiers and their Families can explore the universe without leaving town during a day at Columbus State University's Coca-Cola Space Science Museum.

Celebrating 15 years, the center encourages active imaginations with resources about astronomy, technology and the history of space exploration with hands-on activities, movies and more for all ages.

I was immediately drawn to the 1-ton space shuttle main engine nozzle located near main entrance of the center, one of several million-dollar artifacts donated from NASA's shuttle program. The nozzle is part of a shuttle that has traveled in space several times.

Guests can also view other items, including flight suits worn by NASA astronauts and foods they would typically eat in space. With an active imagination, you can operate an actual biomedical console from the Kennedy Space Center, deliver weather forecasts for the local news or challenge friends in an intergalactic battle in the Cyber fighter interactive game.

The Omnisphere Theater features daily planetarium shows complete with surround sound and a full dome screen that makes the planets and stars seem close enough to touch.

Although the film I viewed, Secret of the Cardboard Rocket, was targeted for children, it reminded me of a few facts about the solar system I had long forgotten since grade school.

The center is also home to the Mead Observatory, one of only a few public observatories in the state used for various scientific research projects, and mission simulations at the Challenger Learning Center.

For more information, Call the Coca-Cola Space Science Center at 706-649-1477, email or visit