The California Science Center, by contrast, mounted a low-key effort that emphasized its 1.4 million annual visitors and estimates that nearly 2 million a year would visit the shuttle.
Some are wondering whether Houston might still have a shot at a shuttle if the cities selected have trouble raising the money to pay NASA's $28.8-million price to decontaminate and transport each orbiter and the millions more to build a facility to house one.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker wasn't optimistic that Houston could change NASA's decision.
She said at a news conference this week that if Bolden "could overlook the history of human spaceflight here in Houston, if he could overlook the fact that we have been the home to the astronaut corps since its beginning, if he could overlook the fact that the memorial services for the Challenger and Columbia disasters were here, … I don't know what else we can do to convince him."
Houston, as a consolation prize, will receive flight deck pilot and commander seats for display.