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Is Kennedy Space Center an educational-only attraction that’s boring? Absolutely not! NASA is an icon of space history and innovation but also one of the most exciting family vacation attractions our family has ever visited. Let me share with you just 7 of the amazing things you can experience at this Florida attraction that your family will never forget (and that every American needs to see in their lifetime) …..
(We received complimentary media tickets, but as always, you get my honest, Southern opinion).
I still can’t get over all the super cool stuff we got to experience. If a Wifey my age is completely giddy over it, can you imagine how kiddos will react? Let’s get to those must-see activities, shall we?!
1. Hangout 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.
Before you go: Kennedy Space Center Checklist
- Opens at 9 a.m. and closes at different times depending on season
- Open seven days a week (check for holiday changes)
- Restaurants and Food info (several dining options)
- 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
- Find a hotel nearby in Titusville, Florida
- Allow several hours to explore because there is much to see and do
- Eat lunch as an “intermission” in between the most active activities
- Another fabulous “break” is the air-conditioned, bus tour so plan to ride it when your fam needs a breather
Do you have your Kennedy Space Center tickets yet?
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This looks so cool. My girls would so dig it. My father was a huge shuttle enthusiast and I know he’d have loved visiting here, too.
I have lived in Florida my whole life and have still never been to Kennedy Space Center!! It has been on my bucket list for a while!
I went as a kid, but I’d love to bring my family now. Thanks for the information for planning a visit!
We visited a few years ago and it was so much fun! Atlantis shuttle was awesome to see. We live in Houston so we have the twin, Houston Space Center here. Both are very different and have different exhibits.
Wow! The Kennedy Space center was not on my list of family vacation destinations, but now it is. My favorite part is being able to meet an astronaut. This would be such an awesome experience for my girls.
I visited almost 30 years ago and it looks like a completely different place. I’ll bet the “Forever Remembered” gallery was touching – I remember both those events. Anyway, looks like it’s time for a revisit! Loved this.
Thanks for sharing all that information! I regret to say that I’m one of those that thought the center was an educational place only. This sounds like a lot of fun! We are headed down to Florida next month, and now I”m going to see if you can swing by the Kennedy Space Center! It’d be so cool to meet an astronaut!
My husband was there for the very first shuttle launch. He managed to get a signed photo. Unfortunately it’s not Neil Armstrong. He has had it hanging on his wall since he was a child.
Wow! That’s awesome.
This looks like such a fun tour..Id love to got there, great tips!
I went as a kid, but I’d love to take my boys now. Thanks for the all the detailed information for planning a visit! There is so much to do.
This is totally worth the trip. It has been awhile since we last went, but we did the VAB tour where you went inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Atlantis was being readied for launch. Super fun and they add new things all the time. My mom got to take a special tour with a group and got to go into places they don’t allow visitors to go. (It required a lot of security screening, fingerprinting, etc. before the trip.)
Sounds like a blast! Thanks for sharing your trip 🙂
When my boys are a little older, I would LOVE to take them there. It looks like the perfect blend of adventure and education.
This is pretty cool. I think I would enjoy going inside the rockets. #anbloggerslinkup
We go to Florida often and have been wanting to check this out!!! Great tips I pinned for later!
My son would love to go here, We’ll have to do this someday!
I used to love going there as a kid! We did a sleepover under one of the shuttles one time too! Which was super fun!
This is so cool! I would love to check this out, even as a grown adult 🙂 Looks amazing – thanks for sharing!
I’m so glad you shared this information. We’ve lived in Florida for almost 8 years and have never visited Kennedy Center. My son wants to go, but I thought all the touristy stuff had closed. We’ll definitely be going now. This is awesome! 🙂
Wow, this sounds like a ton of fun and how cool veteran astronauts come by and give autographs!