Hi my lovely readers!
What comes to mind when you think of Texas? Most likely the popular TV show Dallas, the famous words “Houston we have a problem” received at mission control in Space Center Houston and I guess oil and gas.
You might think the topic oil is not that interesting and normally I would agree, but a visit to the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum in Galveston, Texas might just shed a different light on that and might make you rethink.
This museum is a bit different from your standard museum. In fact the museum is a real drilling rig that was actively used in the past. Talk about out of the ordinary in terms of museums.
The Ocean Star is located in walking distance of Galveston cruise terminal and the city centre, which makes it a perfect sightseeing stop before or just after your cruise, which is exactly what I did. The admission fee is reasonable and it takes around an hour and a half to explore the museum.
The museum is fully dedicated to anything oil related and a visit will give you a good overview and understanding on how oil rigs work, what they do and how they operate.
The Ocean Star itself used to operate in the Gulf of Mexico from 1969 to 1984 before it was retired and transformed into a museum. It drilled over 200 wells and it is a so called jack-up drilling rig. This type of rig can be transported with all its machinery to any location. It is a mobile platform.
The museum has three levels of exhibition space dedicated to the oil and gas industry. You learn about the different types of oil rigs, how oil is drilled for, extracted and filtered, what drill bits are used for different soils and much more.
The museum is very visual and engaging with plenty of video kiosks and interactive displays spread across the site. One of the highlights is the oil extraction simulation, which is not to be missed. You learn so much during this simulation, I promise you will feel and be a lot smarter and knowledgeable after attending this simulation when it comes to oil.
The second highlight is a visit to the pipe deck and rig floor. Here you can see and find out more about the drilling equipment and function of the drilling machinery. As the Ocean Star was a working drill rig, you get to see the scale and dimension of the equipment and machinery, which I think is impressive.
The living spaces of workers cannot be viewed unfortunately as these were turned into the exhibition spaces. Still, there is a section on “life on a rig” in the museum to find out what daily life looks like when working on a rig.
Other topics that are fascinating talk about divers working on subsea structures, what the seascape looks like under water and of course more pressing topics related to health and safety and the environment.
Needless to say big oil companies have come under scrutiny with one of the worst spills since at least my lifetime being the Deep Water Horizon. The impact on wildlife and the community can still be felt even years after the disaster happened and the clean up efforts.
SHOP, RESTAURANT AND CAFE
The museum does have a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs. However, there is no cafe or restaurant onsite and food and drinks are not permitted in the museum.
There are plenty of food outlets close by though where you can grab a bite. And if you are about to go on a cruise, you can just wait until you get on board and eat on the ship. Food and drinks sorted.
The museum is fully wheelchair accessible. The entrance has a ramp so people can reach the rig and enter the museum. Throughout the museum there are wide open spaces for wheelchair users to navigate easily. An elevator gets wheelchair users to all three floors and even the rig floor and pipe deck can be navigated by wheelchair.
- Opening times: Open Thursday to Monday from 10 am – 5 pm
- Admission: Adults $10.00, Youth (ages 6 – 18 years) $6.00, Seniors $8.00, Children under 6 years Free, Military $8.00, Family Package $30.00
- For more information please visit: https://www.oceanstaroec.com/
- How to get there: By car and taxi – 20th Street & Harborside Drive, Galveston, TX, USA
FINAL THOUGHTS …
The museum is totally worth a visit. It is very engaging, interactive and explains everything so well that anyone can understand what oil rigs do and how they work. I left feeling a lot smarter and the admission price is absolutely reasonable and not expensive at all in my opinion.
Initially I was not particularly interested in this museum as oil is not exactly my thing and a topic I spend a lot of thought on, but I went as I thought my partner might be interested.
Again, I am so glad I visited this museum as it is very interesting and informative. Plus, you are not just visiting a museum, you are visiting an oil rig. And that is pretty cool.
For more sightseeing ideas and things to do in Galveston, I would recommend checking out my blog post Things To Do In Port: Galveston.
What do you make of this museum? Would you visit?