Is Kennedy Space Center an educational-only attraction that’s boring? Absolutely not! NASA is an icon of space history and innovation that no one can be bored with – we were blown away by what we saw and experienced. I love it when family vacations turn out to be even more fabulous than I dreamed.
KSC is such a unique travel attraction that you will never experience anything like it anywhere else and your family will never forget it! It’s one of those places that every American needs to see at least once in their lifetime.
Allow several hours to explore (ideally at least six) because there is much to see and do as a family at Kennedy Space Center. I suggest eating lunch as an “intermission” so that you can have a few hours before lunch and a couple hours after lunch (there are several dining options) to see it all without wearing anyone out. Another fabulous “break” is the bus tour.
Don’t Miss These:
1. Hang out with Astronauts
The Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Encounter show gives everyone time to listen to, chat with, and photograph a veteran astronaut. They’ll talk about their experience and then you will have a chance to ask your burning questions! Don’t forget to bring your camera because after the live presentation, you can catch a quick photo with your new astronaut friend.
Every day at 4 p.m., the astronaut of the day signs autographs on the second floor of the Space Shop, which is the world’s largest store with space-related memorabilia. You can also have Lunch with an Astronaut while they talk about what space is really like as y’all eat from an incredible buffet provided.
2. Get Up Close & Personal with Atlantis
Space Shuttle Atlantis is suspended at the exact angle in which it flew, so get up close and personal with this vehicle that flew 146 different astronauts in space from 1985 to 2011. The cargo bay is opened up for your family to stand underneath in awe at the sheer size and innovation of this incredible aircraft. Nearby are sixty exhibits to try out your family’s own astronaut skills.
3. Remember the Lost but not Forgotten
Within the Space Shuttle attraction area, there is now a permanent memorial that is dedicated to the crew members that lost their lives during the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle missions. Something not-to-miss, “Forever Remembered” showcases both flight crew’s personal items that reveal their individual personalities and passions. Also included in the memorial are pieces of recovered hardware from both flights.
4. BE an Astronaut
For those who are itching to know the reality of a real launch, the Shuttle Launch Experience is the next best thing. Experience the simulation of events, sights, and sounds that lead up to takeoff, how it feels to thrust into the skies at hyper speed, the views you see, and how it feels to land. Are you ready?
5. Snoop Inside Rockets
Find out what the inside of rockets look like at the magnificent Rock Garden that holds replicas of rockets used for many great missions. Signage explains which one helped launch NASA’s first satellite, which one was used to launch Apollo 11, and more. When the sun goes down, you can experience the lighting effects added to give special attention to this awesome site.
6. Visit Launch Pads and a Moon Rocket
Recharge and get excited about visiting launch pads and the launch site of Apollo 8, and the same place where the launch to mars will happen. An entertaining driver makes the trip fun as you also see the vehicle assembly building (where the space machines have been constructed) and the Apollo/Saturn IV Center (my personal favorite place).
7. Go Through Elite Astronaut Training
The Astronaut Training Experience allows you to go through a half day of the rigorous skill training that begins with a briefing about your upcoming mission and questioning from veteran astronauts. You’ll even “graduate” when your physical and mental training is complete and you are congratulated on your accomplishments.
Things you need to know about Kennedy Space Center
- Opens at 9am and closes at different times depending on season
- Open seven days a week (check for holiday changes)
- Restaurants and Food info
- Discounts are available for Military, Seniors, and packages
- Wheelchair, electric scooters, and stroller/double strollers can be rented
- General admission includes Space Shuttle Atlantis, IMAX films, all exhibits & shows & Bus Tour
- There’s general admission, multiday, annual, and promotional tickets, as well as package choices
- Tickets online are the same price but exempt you from standing in ticket lines upon arrival
- Bus tours leave every 15 minutes
- The last bus tour of each day is always 2 1/2 hours before closing
- Type “Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex” into GPS to find best directions
Do you have your Kennedy Space Center tickets yet?
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