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  1. Photograph: Genevieve Hanson
    Photograph: Genevieve Hanson

    Space Program: Mars

  2. Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH
    Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Mars rover at “Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration”

  3. Photograph: Jim McDonell
    Photograph: Jim McDonell

    Human Sling Shot at Coney Island Luna Park

The space-cation staycation: Experience the wonders of space travel

Boldly go into the great beyond on this space-themed staycation, including a simulated flight to Mars.

We’re betting that after seeing the arrival of the Enterprise space shuttle in New York, your mind has turned to moon landings, men from Mars and space travel. Before the Enterprise opens to the public on July 19, scratch that intergalactic itch with a space-cation staycation, including an exhibition that looks at the future of space exploration.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of staycation ideas

We’ve got about a month before we can ogle the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum; until then, simulate a flight to the red planet on the Upper East Side. In conjunction with Creative Time, Tom Sachs’s Space Program: Mars has transformed the Armory’s 55,000-square-foot hall into an odyssey of sculpture. The artist is closing out his month-long exhibition with two special events on Saturday 16: At “Breakfast with Mars Scientists” (11am), Sachs will talk with three academics about Mars exploration and their experiences working in the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. That’s followed by an endurance demonstration (noon), during which Sachs and his studio team will set out to reenact an actual journey to Mars over a 12-hour period. The artist has built a spacecraft, a mission-control deck and a setting fit for New Yorkers who dream of one day boarding a private flight to another planet. • $12, seniors and students $10, members and children 10 and under free.

Before you stare up at the twinkling, burning bodies of gas in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, tour “Beyond Planet Earth,” the AMNH’s engrossing exhibit about the future of extraterrestrial travel and research. Check out a model of a proposed lunar elevator, hang out on an asteroid, give some new space suits the once over and pick up a few impressive cocktail-party factoids (moon rocks, apparently, smell like gunpowder). • $25, seniors and students $19, children 2–12 $14.50, children under 2 free.

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Coney Island
  • price 1 of 4

If NASA has perpetually dismissed your astronaut-training application to the trash, zoom out to Coney Island and catapult yourself through Luna Park’s Scream Zone. The Human Sling Shot, one of the recent additions to the theme park, will shoot you 150 feet in the air at more than 90mph while you’re strapped to a neon-colored circular harness. If you don’t get abducted by the aliens you’ve been e-mailing for the past few years, the thrill ride will allow you to free-fall back to the ground. (See our Beach-cation for more on Coney Island.) • Admission free, rides from $1; weekdays unlimited rides $26, Sat, Sun $30.

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