AREA 21: Preparing and Connecting America's Gen-Next Innovators

Explore the future at the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology's (SAMSAT) interactive STEM career exhibit—AREA 21.

AREA 21: San Antonio's new tech museum (2022-12-21) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

The San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology operates AREA 21 at the Boeing Center at Tech Port, where it showcases the region's top industries such as aerospace, medicine, robotics, cybersecurity, 3D printing, space exploration and AI.

Students experience technologies developed in their community that are making the world a safer, more productive and more resilient place. Along the way, they are inspired to pursue educational and career paths as the next generation of innovators.

AREA 21, A Place for Robots and Humans (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio


San Antonio is one of America's leading robotics innovations hubs, and AREA 21 is a central gathering place for our growing community of enthusiasts. 

On a regular basis, students showcase their remote-controlled robots here and even compete with one-another.

Andy Robot

An exhibit developed by the nationally acclaimed artist/roboticist features two industrial robots programmed to move large digital screens and an array of videos in sync to different types of music.

In addition to being fun, it makes students realize that there are important places in technology for people with artistic interests and backgrounds.

Autonomous Vehicle Exhibit at AREA 21 (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Where humans and AI collaborate

In San Antonio the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is working on smart vehicle technology that can drive vehicles and other safety systems. 

SwRI's exhibit shows a car that drives itself using robotic technology and artificial intelligence (AI).

AREA 21's Autonomous Vehicle Exhibit (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Students learn about AI and robotics technology that steers this car without a human driver. Humans, however, play a major role as they develop technologies that allow cars to detect pedestrians, street contours and surfaces, and ensure safe, efficient transportation.

AREA 21's Lego City and Cybersecurity (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Protecting our digital world

Students also learn how cities use computers to keep water, power, and even traffic lights working around the clock. 

Hands-on demonstrations show students how to protect a community against hackers.

At AREA 21, students take part of real-world examples in a cybersecurity simulator that is very similar to the ones professionals use. 

Cybersecurity specialists work at a Security Operations Center or SOC to ensure everything works as it should in a city or company.

Moon Colonization and Space Travel Concept. (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Beyond Earth

AREA 21 shows next-generation technologies that will allow humans to harness the space domain  —  from building factories and habitats in orbit and on the Moon to new technologies that can supply endless energy to Earth.

Lunar Rover Exhibit at AREA 21 (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Scientists often build a working model called a prototype to test if it works. Local college students worked on this lunar rover prototype for NASA to test their design.

Lunar Habitats (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Space exhibits also show projects created by other students, including a scale model of lunar habitat.

Wex Foundation (2021-09-06) by Port San Antonio and 2018Port San Antonio

In the near future, robots and large 3D printers can be deployed to use moon rocks to build houses, factories and other structures well before humans arrive.

Boundless energy from space (21st Century) by NASAPort San Antonio

Boundless energy from space

The lunar exploration showcase at AREA 21 is focused on space based power. Mining operations on the Moon would support construction of massive satellites in orbit that capture solar energy, convert it to electricity and transmit it wirelessly back to receiving stations on Earth.

To show students how electricity can be transmitted without the use of wires, AREA 21 features one of the world’s largest arrays of musical Tesla coils.

Soaring high

Boeing, which operates the company's largest aircraft modernization complex just down the street from AREA 21, announced in early 2023 that it will build a major exhibit in AREA 21 to showcase innovations in aerospace and space exploration. 

The museum has three state-of-the-art flight simulators—both military aircraft and commercial jets can be flown.

Topographic Sandbox exhibit (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

By students, for students

Several exhibits at the museum were created by area students. Among them, a topographic sandbox created by a local Girl Scout integrates a projector that shows changing contours as visitors to AREA 21 "build" mountains and rivers.

Students Explore AREA 21 Exhibits (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Building futures

At the new AREA 21 space, museum organizers plan to host over 100,000 area students each year with exhibits and exciting programs. These first-hand experiences will inspire them to be a part of that future and be the next generation of innovators.

Building Futures, One Computer at a Time

In the spring of 2023, Port-affiliated nonprofit Kelly Heritage Foundation contributed over $200,000 and worked alongside SAMSAT as part of an exciting computer build program. 

During the course of a day, 100 deserving area students worked with mentors to build state-of-the-art systems by EK Fluid, which they got to keep and take home. The effort shows students how they, too, can be part of an exciting future in advanced technologies.

LAN Gaming Center (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

AREA 21 is located just down the hall from one of the world's leading LAN facilities: Tech Port Gaming. There,  students participate in an array of esports competitions. The same space also delivers different educational programs provided by SAMSAT and other partners. 

Boeing Center at Tech Port (21st Century) by Port San AntonioPort San Antonio

Hope to see you soon!

Admission to the museum is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sundays.

Credits: Story

All media credits courtesy of Port San Antonio, home to San Antonio's largest technology and innovation campus. Visit SAMSAT's free Area 21 exhibit, where students learn about autonomous driving, critical infrastructure and cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing technology, aerospace and space innovation, augmented and virtual reality, and other careers of the future.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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