Kennedy Space Center

As part of my quest to promote things to do around Orlando besides go to Disney World, I am excited to tell you about the Kennedy Space Center.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but did you know it’s also close to a National Park with one of the best beaches in Florida?  Well, now you do.

If you love blasts from the past blended with the newest technology on the planet, the Kennedy Space Center is for you.  I loved seeing the origin of the space race to the moon, and seeing all the latest and greatest.  It was a day well spent.

Tickets are $57 a person, which may seem a little steep.  But, did you know that it costs $109 for one day for only one park at Disney World?  This doesn’t seem so steep anymore, does it?

One thing I love that they do here is play music throughout the park.  You seriously feel like you’re in a movie the whole time.  You’re walking around, looking up at giant rockets, and you hear this epic music sound track from a space movie.  Suddenly feel like Tom Hanks ready to board the Apollo.

Bus tour

Included with admission is a bus tour that takes you to some areas of the center that would normally be “off limits.”  You also get to go to to Apollo/Saturn V Center.  Here, you’re greeted with a 1960s soundtrack, and multiple exhibits that walk you through the first successful launch.

You get to see the original control room and watch a simulated launch.  It was really exciting to imagine being there and seeing video footage of people patiently watching the very first successful launch to the moon.

After that, you get to see this giant thing which makes you feel small (and stupid) for how little you actually understand rocket science.

Shuttle Launch Experience

Also included with your admission is the Shuttle Launch Experience.  This is where you have to get a locker to put all your belongings “that might fall out” before getting on.  You get strapped in, tilted back and shook for a few minutes so you get to feel how terrifying it would be to get shot into space.  Spoiler alert: at the end, they open up the top and show you the stars.  It was really pretty cool.  Aside from the screaming teenagers who were with me on my launch experience, I would highly recommend doing this.

Atlantis Space Shuttle

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Space Center, without a visit to see Atlantis. This shuttle is massive.  I can’t believe there have been 33 missions on this baby.

There are some great exhibits in this building as well.  We learned all about the incredible amounts of heat and ice that these shuttles have to withstand.  Honestly, I don’t think my brain is big enough to comprehend any of this.

I remember watching Hidden Figures and wondering why there were so many people doing math all the time.  After visiting here, I no longer wonder.  Literally everything to do with the space program is a math equation.  In one of the exhibits, it said that there are over 1 million systems in place for a space shuttle launch to space.  Amazing, right?

Be sure to check out the gift shop to see some of the awesome things they sell.  I particularly loved seeing NASA “Barbie.”  Finally, a role model for young girls other than “beach babe” and “generic business lady.”

Canaveral National Seashore

We ended our visit to the Kennedy Space Center by driving to Canaveral National Seashore.  It’s part of the National Park system, so if you have an annual pass, bust that baby out.  Otherwise, you pay $15 for a 7-day pass.

This would be an amazing place to watch the shuttles launch, and many locals said they come here to view them.  One local told us that this is the best beach in Florida.

His reasons were that it closes at 6pm, its managed by the parks system and nudity is allowed.  So, there are no homeless people, no late-night partying, no garbage all over the place, and of course, topless women.  If you’re thinking “no way they allow nudity”, you’d be wrong.  There is a big sign as you pull up to prepare your eyes for what you might see.  Well, it says “Warning: Sunless bathers” or something like that. Either way, it really was a beautiful beach.  I would love to come back here and sit at this beach to watch a shuttle launch.  Jared and I decided to add this dream to our bucket list of adventures.

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