Hello, Yelp. This is my first ever review but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t register and warn you of the sham that is Space Camp. If it saves even one person the several thousand dollars and crippling disappointment I experienced, then it’s worth it.
As you all probably know, my birthday was in April. I was very clear with what I wanted this year: cash, gift cards, one of those massage chairs from Brookstone, three Xboxes (in case two break), and a trip to Space Camp. You can imagine my surprise when FOR ONCE, my parents didn’t fuck this up and came through. So, like, all in all, it was a pretty good birthday. (There was this weird thing with the catering but I’ll write a Yelp review for that business later.) After one of my dad’s employees set up my Brookstone chair and one of the XBoxes, I started playing Alien: Isolation to prepare for my upcoming trip to space. It was a really mature decision on my part cause I wanted to come to camp PREPARED. A lesser person would have fucked around with, like, Call of Duty and showed up at Space Camp like “Duhhhh … I don’t know what to do when aliens attack.” This was NOT gonna be me and my parents even gave me another Xbox to reward my initiative.
June 4, 2014 I woke up so excited I could barely eat my Fruity Truffles cereal (if you have to ask where you buy this then trust me, you can’t afford it). Today was the day I was going to camp in space. I packed up all the stuff I needed: pair of shorts for Mercury, pair of snow pants for Pluto, etc., etc. My grandpa was still asleep when I took his oxygen tank. “Sorry, bro, I might need this …” I whispered as I wheeled it from his bedroom. The whole ride to Teterboro Airport all I could think about was, “What will I see?”, “Who will I meet?”, “Where will I keep the meteor I’m gonna bring home?” Getting into my parents’ jet was the first realization that something was amiss. “This is your Captain speaking. Welcome aboard. It’s just a quick three-hour flight to Huntsville, Alabama.” “OK, that’s weird,” I thought. “My parents definitely know I hate layovers…”
I was too stressed out by the thought of visiting Alabama that I couldn’t even enjoy the in-flight entertainment. “Ya know what, just sit down, Bruno Mars. I’m really not in the mood right now.” I explained to him I was too pissed about this layover to wanna hear him sing. “To be honest, I’m not even a big fan of yours. I just had my parents book you cause of your space-y last name.” After we landed, I realized this was the least of my worries.
“Right this way to your car,” said my airport chauffer. “Um, it’s like impossible to drive to space…” I muttered as I got in the back seat. My driver started to say something back but I don’t know what it was cause I immediately rolled up the partition. “I just cannot talk to people right now,” I thought as I looked out the window at disgusting, disgusting, Alabama. So much trash. And that’s when I saw the sign.
“Welcome to Space Camp”
I’ll give you a second to let this sink in.
Yeah. Space Camp is not in space. It’s in fucking Alabama. AKA EARTH. In fact, you do not go to space AT ALL in Space Camp. “Welcome! I’m Astronaut Mike,” said a 17-year-old shit in T-shirt and cargo shorts. “You’re not an astronaut. You’re a camp counselor,” I replied. I entered “Mission Control” aka a lounge with some bug juice, and saw my fellow campers. Finally some people to get on my side. “Did you guys know space camp isn’t in space?!” THEY ALL ALREADY KNEW. I’m sorry but this is fucking illegal. It’s called “false advertising” and I know this because my Dad’s company makes “all-natural” energy drinks and got sued cause there was like cocaine in them or something. I searched around for the oldest looking authority figure I could find. (So basically, like … 19 years old, max.)
“I’m sorry, what exactly is SPACE about this Space Camp?”
“We simulate being in space.”
“Simulate … Okayyy...”
“And we have a lot of fun learning about math and science!!”
“Yet you didn’t think ‘Math and Science Camp’ was a more appropriate name?”
“I don’t think kids would want to go to that.”
“This was going to be my point, as well. I thought we were going to outer space.”
“Well we obviously don’t go to real space but we do have a super fun anti-gravity chamber you can float around in.”
“I ALREADY HAVE ONE OF THOSE AT HOME!”
If you’re assuming this is when the rest of the campers joined me in solidarity, you’re wrong. I know. I’m as shocked as you are. My battle cry of “CAMPERS GRAB YOUR MOON ROCKS” (aka regular Alabama rocks) went unheeded. I chucked a couple through a window while counselors yelled at me. “SORRY! IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM.” I pretended not to hear them and chucked a couple more.
Eventually I was taken down by some security. (Not to belabor the point but if I was in space with no gravity this couldn’t have happened.) I was returned home ON SOUTHWEST AIRLINES IN COACH because my parents’ G5 wasn’t expecting to pick me up till next Tuesday. That’s when I told them I’d be reentering the galaxy. I screamed the entire way back.
“We’ve now reached our cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.”
“WHO FUCKING CARES THAT’S NOT EVEN THAT HIGH UP!” I yelled.
Happy to be home but beside myself with the spectacular failure of space camp, I lunged onto my bed and cried for seven days straight. When I emerged from my room a week later, I was informed that because I stole Grandpa’s oxygen tank, he died.
I award Space Camp the same number of stars I was able to visit while enrolled there: zero.