A visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Florida’s Space Coast is the most interplanetary fun your family can have without leaving the ground.
Plan to spend an entire day exploring this universe of multimedia experiences located just an hour’s drive from Orlando. It’s so big you’ll need to take a bus to reach some of the exhibits. Space cadets of all ages will be fascinated with the interactive displays, IMAX 3D films, actual space vehicles and so much more.
Ground Control to Major Tom
Think you have the right stuff to be an astronaut? Find out at the new Heroes & Legends attraction featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The film What is a Hero?, shown on the 360° discovery bay wraparound screen, will get you wondering if you have what it takes. The exciting early days of the space race are brought to life through the stories of the first men and women who took a leap into the unknown. Explore interactive modules and the largest collection of astronaut memorabilia in the world in the Hall of Fame.
Field of Dreams
You’ll have to stretch your neck waaay back to take in the seven massive space vehicles pointing to the sky in the Rocket Garden. It’s a great introduction to the real-life work of NASA engineers and scientists. Kids will love a photo op in the little spaceship model before they run the length of the horizontal Saturn IB rocket.
Fly Me to the Moon
Grab a bus to the Apollo/Saturn V Center for a uniquely immersive experience. Feel the anticipation build as the original Apollo consoles blink and flash, then hear the rumble of a simulated final countdown to launch. When the doors open, you’ll see a completely restored gigantic Saturn V launch vehicle floating suspended in the hanger. Rockets like this 110.6 metre (363 foot-long) beauty launched Apollo lunar spacecraft from 1968 to 1972 and then landed in the sea. Luckily, this one remains on display, along with the Apollo 13 capsule, Alan Shepard’s lunar suit and a touchable moon rock.
This is no dusty museum. You’re right in the middle of the action. Just a few miles away space vehicles still launch into orbit and if you’re lucky you could witness a liftoff, either here, or at the main visitor complex.
Ready to Blast Off
Now that you’ve seen a real rocket or two, strap yourself in for the Shuttle Launch Experience where you’ll be shaken and stirred by a trip into outer space. Then get up close and personal with the actual Space Shuttle Atlantis complete with Canada’s contribution, the shuttle’s robotic appendage, the Canadarm. Docents who worked on the shuttle are standing by to answer all your questions. There are over 60 educational touch-screen exhibits and space-age simulators in this building including stories of the Hubble telescope and life on the International Space Station.
Hey – Mr Spaceman
Where in the world can you meet an astronaut? Right here at an Astronaut Encounter, of course. Bring your camera, a pen for autographs and your questions. Veteran astronauts from NASA’s Astronaut Corps are the nicest people on earth which might be why they were chosen to go into space. They will even share their lunch with you (and a great presentation on their personal experiences) at the Lunch With An Astronaut program.
There’s much more to see like the Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted exhibit and additional tours to the original Mercury and Space-X Falcon 9 launch pads. Buy your tickets online in advance to avoid lineups and blast off!