Kennedy Space Centre, Orlando
Visiting NASA Space Centre has always been on my bucket list ever since....
I have always wanted to see a rocket launch. Guess what? There just so happened to be a rocket launch on the day we visited. Ann and Charlie hadn't planned it that way, it just so happened.
How exciting!! :o)
However, the launch was delayed a day due to a problem with a valve...... :o( So sad....
But never mind, we had a fantastic day anyway and not only did we learn a stack of interesting stuff around rockets and space exploration, but we also got to feel what it is like at a rocket launch in the simulator so it was like I saw a real launch anyway :o) We even sat in a small crowd and listened to an engineer explain a bit about rockets etc and what he does. It was real interesting.
The next day at Disney, I was looking around the skies at the time it was set to launch and think I saw it! .... (see the photo). Charlie said it was just a plane.... but I am sticking by my theory ;o) Hey give me some slack and humour me..... lol.
Anyway, I would totally recommend that you go to the Kennedy Space Centre and spend a day there.
pictured is the launch of space shuttle atlantis after it has dropped it's booster rockets and is down range. it only takes this vehicle several minutes to cover the distance between florida and africa. a must see experience when visiting central florida. see my titusville florida pages for more information. sadly as of 2011 the shuttle program is now history but there are still frequent launches of military and scientific rockets which are worth viewing when in central florida.
WOW! We kind of added this stop almost because we felt we should since we were in the area. But we are SO VERY HAPPY we did. It was pricey, $41 adult/$31 child (ages 3-11), but we did get a full day out of it AND this isn't exactly the kind of place you can see just anywhere.
VARIOUS ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN ADMISSION TICKET
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Tour
Shuttle buses leave regularly (wheelchair accommodations available). This was our favorite part of the visit. They take you to an observation deck, which is ok. But then you go to the Apollo/Saturn V center. Various space vehicles, rockets, and lots of neat stuff about the US and its various space missions. The kids LOVED all the interesting stuff, and us adults loved remembering how important all this was in our past. GREAT photo ops. They also had a viewing area of people working on parts that would be sent to the space station.
The Shuttle launch experience is kind of a big simulator. A large group of people enter, sit, and strap in, and you are given a simulation of a shuttle launch. The video information creates an educational experience that is also fun. A little "old fashioned" by today's standards of thrill, older teens might roll their eyes, but I think they'll still have fun (they just won't want to admit it.)
NASA Rocket Garden
Very kewl, and gives a great perspective of size by standing so close to actual rockets. They were large, but considering the vastness of space (and the amount of explosives used to lift these things) no so very large after all.
Hubble Telescope 3D
What a beautiful universe. Worth a look.
Plenty more to do here, don't want to spoil all the fun. Be sure to check their website if you plan to go. Sometimes launches, weather, and security issues can change access and availability.
The only bad part of this experience was getting the admission tickets and the entrance. The staff was VERY VERY rude. The folks inside, after security, were great.
I had a great time at the Kennedy Space Center.
We drove out in the hire car from Orlando, which took us about 45 mins, an easy no hassles straight drive.
You'll need to spend all day here to get around to see everything.
We started with the bus tour which dropped you off at three locations on the vast complex. First stop was at the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gallery where you can take a look at the launch pads, the crawler and the Vehicle Assembly Building. Things here are on a huge scale.
The second stop was at Apollo/Saturn V Center where you get a chance to see the brilliant 365 foot moon rocket. It has to be seen to be believed. You also get to see a recreation of a Apollo launch. We had lunch here and tried to think of sensible questions to ask one of the retired space engineers.
Third stop on the tour was at the International Space Station Center, where you can get a close up look at all the things you need to live in space.
After the tour we met a real live astronaut in the shape of Bob Springer. He gave a really interesting talk on what it's like to go into space.
Then it was off to the IMAX theatre to see the moon in 3D.
At the end the day we spent some time in the very decent shop where we bought a few nic nacs for the folks back home. I went for the rather tasteful space shuttle money box along with the obligatory space pen. It can write in space don't you know!
All in all a great place to visit if you want to get away from the rollercoasters. I suppose it depends if rockets and space travel float your boat.
Time needed for the trip
2 -3 hours to do the bus tour and have some lunch
1 hour to take a look at one of IMAX films, of which there are two
3/4 of an hour for the Astronaut Encounter
3/4 of an hour for wandering around the shop
Then you have to take in the Rocket Garden and don't forget the Shuttle Launch Experience
Kennedy Space Center is really huge, we didn’t managed to watch everything for 4 hours, although our driver said it’s not too big and 4 hours is more than enough. They sell tickets the way you can visit the center next day free, and it’s reasonable. You need these two days to if you want to explore everything there. Center includes Visitor complex, international Space Station Center,LC-39 observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V center, US astronaut Hall of Fame. Wee had time only for IMAX Theater and Apollo center.
KSC is just a 45-minute trek from Orlando. It gives visitors an up-close peek at the facilities, where America’s space dreams come true. Apollo Center features an actual rocket that powered astronauts to the moon. We saw “Walking on the moon” 3D. Only 12 have walked on the lunar surface. We were next, but virtual tourists there. It’s very educational and interesting. You feel as if you touch the history of space exploration with all its ups and downs. You can meet and actually come face to face with one of few who has flown in space at astronaut encounter, one can walk through the rocket garden and see rockets from all eras stack up side by side.
Food is expensive there, but the Center is surely worth visiting.
pictured is the launch of the space shuttle atlantis, sept 9 2006. the kennedy space center is about an hour and a half drive from central orlando. if you are fortunate enough to be in central florida during a rocket launch it is an impressive experience. see my titusville florida pages for more information.
For those visitors who are here in October, you might be able to catch the launch of two rockets and Space Shuttle Discovery. Here is the current launch schedule, which is subject to change based on weather and ocean conditions:
Oct. 9 - Atlas 5 launch
Oct. 17 - Delta 2 launch
Oct. 23 - Space Shuttle Discovery
Nov. 2 - Delta 4H
Nov. 7 - Atlas 5
Dec. 6 - Soace Shuttle Atlantis
Just our luck, the launch of the Shuttle Atlantis took place just before we arrived in Florida, but that didn't stop us from visiting the Kennedy Space Center. What a experience...the history of space exploration and all the bells and whistles that go along with being in a place of history. Located on 140,000 acres, the KSC features actual launch pads, space shuttles, galactic spin-offs and a rocket garden with a collection of aerospace originals. One of the amazing things you can see/visit is the actual "mission control" room the launch of Apollo 11...the first launch to place man on the moon.
For the true enthusiast, expect to spend an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center: it is well worth the time if you have a loved one who is interested in aeronautics, engineering or science. It will fascinate them for hours. Current operating hours are from 9:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m.
There are several different levels of admission, and the maximum acess admission which we selected included a tour of the space center, all the IMAX films, exhibits and shows, but also the Astronaut Hall of Fame (you pass this along the way to the Center) for $38 per adult ($28 per child ages 3-11).
A trip to Kennedy Space Center is a nice break from the usual Orlando theme parks. It was amazing seeing the size of the space shuttles and rockets that NASA uses. There are 2 types of tickets that you an purchase, the Standard Access badge and the Maximum Access badge. The SA badge includes the tour of the centre and all the shows at the visitors complex. The MA badge includes all in the SA badge plus a visit to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and use of the simulators. In my opinion, it's only worth getting a MA badge if you have enough time to spend at Kennedy Space Center (eg if you were to drive there yourself). We went with a tour company called Gatortours, we went for the MA tour. They let us stay at the center until 3.45pm, then they had to take us to the Astronauts' Hall of Fame which is located down the road from the vistitors complex, and there were still a lot of shows that we were unable to see. The other tour passengers who had the SA badges got to stay at the visitors complex until 5.15pm.
The center does not allow you to bring food onto the premises, but we got our bottled water through security with no problems. Be aware that the food and drinks sold at the center is expensive, so you may want to have a big breakfast if you're going through a tour company, or if you're driving, then keep some food in the car (you're allowed to re-enter).
They've made a lot of effort here to make a very functional and useful station an attractive prospect to tourists, and their work has not been in vain. There are some astonishing features, and my only regret is that we weren't there to witness an actual space shuttle launch.
There's a number of exhibits, and old vessils to study, and you can also take an informative tour of the grounds. In addition, there are various attractions, such as a 3d mini movie about space travel. An fascinating and educational insight in to space travel is here for your viewing pleasure. :)
Another location that is well worth the drive if you're based in Orlando. Take the tour bus to see the launch pads and the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Marvel at the bravery of those guys who entrusted their lives to some heavyweight tinfoil which is what the lunar landing module appears to be made of.
Allow time to see one of the IMAX films. Meet an astronaut - the list goes on and there's much that I still haven't experienced there yet.
On my third visit I said we'd only spend a half day there and drive on down to Cocoa Beach but guess what - we spent a whole day there yet again!
KSC home of NASA and the Space Shuttle can be found on my Cape Canaveral page.
I have just put this on here because a lot of people associate it with Orlando and I just wanted to point them in the right direction..
As part of the Apollo/Saturn V Center exhibit you will come accross the space suit that was worn by the astronauts. Standing beside the suit is a very informative guide who will answer any questions that you may have in relation to any part of the centre.
The most common question....How do they go to the toilet?
The answer....A type of space nappy!!!!
NOW YOU KNOW!
While touring the Apollo/Saturn V Center you will come accross the entire Saturn rocket laid out in front of you. I was amazed at how large the was and just how small and cramped the command module is.