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  • Writer's pictureLauren Diaz

A Day at the Kennedy Space Center

Even as a Florida-native it had been over 15 years since I had visited the Kennedy Space Center and it was so much fun to experience again as an adult! It's a great day trip from Orlando or a great pit-stop before/after taking a cruise out of Port Canaveral. Here's some information/tips about the Visitors Complex from our recent visit.

As a disclaimer the Kennedy Space Center kindly provided my party with 2 tickets and parking to visit. Nonetheless, these are my genuine thoughts, opinions, and recommendations.

You can absolutely spend the entire day here and you will have an abundance of things to do. We were here for about 4 hours and saw the highlights which I will outline below! If you are spending the full day they conveniently have several restaurants/snack stands on-site as well as a Starbucks.

Anyways, here we go!

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex

We started our day at Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex. This large building focuses on the future of space exploration with items like mockups of the Boeing Starliner capsule and spacesuit as well as some SpaceX components including the SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage Rocket Booster that actually flew to space. Here you can also participate in a virtual reality experience that mimics shooting up to space in a rocket! Make sure to download the KSC app to be able to reserve a time for this experience and others. Inside this complex you can also visit Spaceport KSC. This is an immersive video/ride where you can choose from 4 different "journeys" to partake in: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet, and Uncharted Worlds.

Rocket Garden

The Rocket Garden is right next to the Gateway and you can't miss it. Upon entering the Visitor's Complex you'll see a bunch of rockets standing tall and you can actually walk among them in the Rocket Garden. Most of these rockets are models/replicas and were not actually used in flight but they were very cool to see and make for a great photo op! You can also even do a guided tour of the garden included as part of your admission. We opted to move through on our own as each rocket has an information card with details of what you are looking at.

Apollo/Saturn V Center

This was one of our favorite parts of the Kennedy Space Center and it taught us so much about the campus. You catch a bus in the main part of the Visitor's Complex and you'll get a ride/tour that drops you at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. On the way there the bus will drive you through some restricted parts of the KSC that you wouldn't be able to see otherwise, including the Vehicle Assembly Building where they used to assemble the spacecrafts before flight. The drive is accompanied by commentary telling you more about the history, the location, and that the Kennedy Space Center even serves as a wildlife refuge. As an added bonus, you might even see an alligator along the way.

Once you reach the Apollo/Saturn V Center you'll get a glimpse into the control room that was actually used when rockets were being launched in the moon landing era, and you'll get to see Saturn V, the world's largest rocket. This exhibit had a lot of information, videos, and artifacts about moon exploration from an actual Apollo spacecraft to Alan Shepard's spacesuit. If you take a step outside you are also able to see some launchpads in the distance!

Space Shuttle Atlantis

The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit takes the cake as my favorite. Here you'll start with two video introductions about NASA's space shuttle program. The last video ends in a dramatic reveal of the Space Shuttle Atlantis that was actually used during this 30 year program. I don't know why but these space shuttles are so mind blowing to me because they look so similar to airplanes but go all the way to space. This exhibit was so much fun and had a lot of interactive elements like a slide, a miniature version of the International Space Station that you can crawl into, and astronaut simulators among many others. Here you can also do the Shuttle Launch Experience which simulates how you would feel sitting inside the shuttle as it rises into space. You can spend hours inside this exhibit alone.

Heroes & Legends

Finally, to wrap up our visit we stopped by the Heroes & Legends exhibit. This area does a deep dive into some of the most famous astronauts and is also the home to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. You can also see some artifacts like the Gemini 9 capsule.

Base tickets are currently being sold at a promo rate of $69.50 on the Kennedy Space Center website. They include the main Mission Zones inside the Visitor Complex and the bus ride to the Apollo/Saturn V Center (everything I mentioned above is included).

Hopefully, this post inspires you to visit the amazing Kennedy Space Center and if it does I hope you have an amazing time!


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