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John F. Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral)

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5 Reviews

The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the NASA space vehicle launch facility (spaceport) on Merritt Island in Florida, United States. The site is near Cape Canaveral, midway between Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. It is 34 mi long and around 6 mi wide, covering 219 square miles. Around 17,000 people work at the site. There is a visitor center and public tours and KSC is a major tourist destination for visitors to Florida. Because much of KSC is off limits to development, the site also serves as an important wildlife sanctuary, with only 9% of the land developed. Mosquito Lagoon, The Indian River, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore are also features of this area. Operations are currently controlled from Launch complex 39, the location of the Vehicle Assembly Building. 3 mi to the east of the assembly building are the two launch pads. 5 mi south is the KSC Industrial Area, where many of the Center's support facilities are located and the administrative headquarters. Kennedy Space Center's only launch operations are at Launch Complex 39. All other launch operations take place at the adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) which is operated by the U.S. Air Force.

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    5 Reviews
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      10.09.2012 23:59
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      The Kennedy Space Center is a day out for improving knowledge and not as a family visitor attraction

      I can hardly believe that it was 5 weeks ago today (6th August 2012) since my family (wife, 2 daughters, son and partner) jetted out from London Gatwick Airport on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, USA.

      Booked through our local Virgin travel store we would stay on the Port Orleans (French Quarter) of the Disney Riverside resort with 14 day ultimate Disney tickets and 14 day passes to Universal Studios and all their other parks. Also included as part of our package was car hire and coach trip to The Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.

      This was my first trip outside the UK, indeed the first anywhere and being afraid of heights I wasn't sure how I'd react to 40,000 ft but I needn't have worried although we did have a few children that had been sick from the turbulence. As we descended over the Florida coast I saw what appeared to be a massive site hugging the coast and surrounded apart from a very straight road by water. From its size I could only assume it was some kind of military base and I could see the odd tower structure that reminded me of shots I had seen of space rocket launches. I could recall that it took 10 minutes or so from there to our final destination at Orlando (Mickey) International Airport as our pilot called it.

      The Kennedy Space Centre was a last minute addition that I had suggested because it was a never to be done again visit and thought it would give us a break from the daily Disney and Universal parks. There are a variety of tickets available including having lunch with an astronaut and /or airboat adventure / safari dependant on which day of the week you choose varying in price from £25 (adult) and £20 (child) for entry to the Space Centre complex to £95 for an Astronaut Training Experience (adults only) there were a number of option to choose from. We chose The Kennedy Space Centre tour which included transport and entry to the US Astronaut Hall of Fame - £47 (adults), £44 (children). Apart from the holiday itself this is the only time we had to specific in choosing a date when we originally booked the holiday - Monday, 13th August. I'm not sure about you but I don't know what I'm doing the next day let alone 6 months in advance! We were however to find that this was not the only time that bookings had to be made more than 6 months in advance - this was a bare minimum if we had wanted to dine with Disney characters in the main Disney resort restaurants (or the popular ones at least).

      A few weeks before we set off for Florida Virgin posted our tickets and after reading discovered that when we arrived we would need to ring the coach company providing transport to The Kennedy Space Centre at least a couple of days before our scheduled visit to confirm details and arrange the departure point. From our resort we drove to Downtown Disney which was only a short drive and from where we collected the coach - in the car park near to the Cirque du Soleil. The coach driver made 2 more stops on International Drive before we set off for Cape Canaveral although there are actually 10 scheduled as part of the route.

      As soon as we hit the interstate our driver (who we later found could be a contender for Mastermind on anything connected to space) subjected us to a series of dvds including the space shuttle (narrated by Captain Kirk) and NASA's plans for the future of space exploration. Cape Canaveral is located within a national park and as we entered the park our driver would direct us from side to side of the coach where he would have spotted an alligator, manities or dolphins in their native habitat. We would also learn later that the Space Center was also home during Winter months to the American bald eagle. Entry is through gates manned by air force personnel.

      The Kennedy Space Center is open from 9am until 6pm and can be accessed by car - parking charge $10 per car. The driver came with us to the Space Center and gave us a quick run down on what we would see and timings and most importantly told us that they are very hot on any metal objects - eg pins which they will not allow you to take into the site and their security scan also includes credit cards! I was however puzzled to find they sold pins etc in their shops!

      We had no idea what to expect at The Kennedy Space Centre and to an extent was probably a good thing. The coach driver had said not to spend time at the IMAX theatres as you would miss something and we did stick to this although when the temperatures is a sweltering 39 degrees a nice air conditioned theatre does feel appealing.

      Having left our resort to be at our collection point for 8am we were starving by the time we got into the main complex and we immediately went to the restrooms and subsequently walked to the Orbit Café where we wanted to partake in breakfast, only to discover that the café didn't open until 11 and it was only 10am! There was a small van as we entered the complex and we decided to buy some drinks, breakfast croissants and Danish pastries, not what we wanted but it would do.

      The Rocket Garden was our first real stop and we spent a while walking over to the rockets that towered into the sky and looking at the various plaques that were next to them. A couple of us also climbed in to a module where you could put your feet into the position astronauts would have used for launch but we didn't spend very long because the temperature was becoming uncomfortable. Next to the Rocket Garden is a children's play area which we might have utilised with more time and if it were cooler. The Rocket Garden however has a more sinister past - the rockets are all ones that have been used to develop space discovery but were originally designed as part of the USA's nuclear arsenal for launching at the USSR (and probably the UK!).

      Like most things America likes to boast of their exploits and how they've developed this or the first to do that and this is one of those that they certainly like to show off. What they seem to forget is that it was actually Germany that were developing rockets first and that the USA rather ceremoniously transported the engineers and scientists over to their country and turned them in to US citizens.

      We visited the Robot Scouts building where we were walked through an exhibition of robot technology that NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has used on previous missions and what they are using / planning for the future including their missions to Mars and what difficulties they have encountered. This was approximately 20 minutes.

      Apart from rather an extensive look in the Space Shop where we bought fridge magnets, a book, pens, key ring and a USB stick with 20 photos on it our only other visit on the main visitor complex was to Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted where you could try a range of hands on experiments and equipment which included trying to dock a space ship in space and sending ourselves e-mailed photos of ourselves in space suits either on the moon, Mars or the International Space Station - where the main benefit was it was from NASA!

      The prices for T-Shirts in the Space Shop were approximately $25-$30 although this was dependant on design. We spend approximately $35 but it would have been quite easy to double or if not triple without trying and we didn't look at their sale items on the 1st floor.

      As we walked to the Bus Boarding area we had photos taken that we would later purchase as we arrived back from our guided tour around the site on their own buses that ran roughly every 10 minutes. There were 2 stops - to the LC39 Observation Gantry where you can view right the way round the site and with binoculars etc would be able to see much of the site. The 2nd stop Apollo / Saturn 5 Centre where you can see a full size copy of one of the actual rockets and the actual control room used in 1969 for the launch of Apollo 11 and its most famous crew members Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

      There is a lift at the Observation Gantry that take you to the main viewing area where you can see the Atlantic Ocean and waterway that makes Cape Canaveral virtually an island and you can see some of the various bird populations that exist in a very placid environment. There are also numerous buildings used over the 50 years of space exploration missions that have been launched from Cape Canaveral including the 7ft gravel roadway they used to transport the rockets. There is a small snack shop providing food and drinks.

      At the Apollo / Saturn 5 Centre you are met by a closed door as you leave the bus which seemed to take an age, and you enter into the launch room of 1969 where you see exactly what was going on during the launch. The presentation doesn't last very long and on exit you are met by a rocket. It was vast, so big in fact that it was too big for the single shot on my camera. The rocket however is made up of parts that had been used to develop and test the actual rocket. There was a second presentation that we didn't visit, nor did we visit the shop as we realised that we were running short of time.

      The bus tour takes quite a while and although we had given ourselves 2 or 3 hours we were extremely short of time as we needed to be back for the coach for a visit to the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. On arriving back at the main complex we viewed (and purchased) our photos for what I believe was $30, but we felt devastated because we had no time left to do the one thing we really fancied - The Shuttle Launch Experience where you can go on a simulator where you can experience a shuttle launch. Of everything on the site this was the one thing we all wanted to do and with only 15 minutes left and an hour wait was impossible.

      The coach took us to the US Astronauts Hall of Fame which was located on the opposite side of the waterway we had crossed to enter the main site. You can buy tickets for this "attraction" separate to The Kennedy Space Centre. The majority of this site has a museum feel apart from a simulator that my youngest and I went on that tried to suggest how it would be to land on Mars - the gentle version that is! There was a shop which most of my family visited while we were on the simulator but by this stage I think we had all lost interest.

      We left the Hall of Fame to return to the Kennedy Space Centre where a few groups had been on a different tour (paid for lunch with an astronaut and a specialised tour), but on leaving the Hall of Fame the driver stopped briefly to allow us to get out and take a photo of the Space Shuttle (replica) and as we drove off left 2 passengers behind - and nearly ran over by cars behind us. We did not get out as a thunderstorm had gathered while we were entering the Hall of Fame and was now right by us.

      Our tour over the coach headed back towards Orlando over an hour and a half away only to be engulfed by lightning from all sides and we could see in the distance a fire amongst the trees - where they had been hit by the lightning and fire truck sped past us. For the first 20 minutes of the journey the driver seemed to rely on knowing where the road should be because he certainly couldn't see it!

      As we arrived back at Disney the driver diverted our attention to an unexpected visitor - a 4 ½ foot alligator in one of their waterways!

      Apart from the simulator and a new building that is under construction for the Space Shuttle I'm not sure if it is a location I would recommend for a family. It is certainly interesting particularly for the more intellectual or for Americans. At £260+ for my family I don't think we got enough out of the visit. If you do plan to visit Florida it is essential you plan your stay in advance and if you do include this location you need to decide what bits are most important to avoid disappointment as it is a vast place.


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        03.11.2010 20:18
        Very helpful



        An unusual day out.

        We have just returned from a family trip to Florida and we were lucky enough to fit in a trip to the Kennedy Space Centre. My husband has always been very interested in the Space Programme so he was like a kid in a candy store but I was surprised to find that we all really enjoyed the day.


        Kennedy Space Centre is located on the East coast of Florida on Merritt Island and is an easy one hour drive from the tourist centre of Orlando. I think the tolls came to about $1.75 each way but the road was straight and relatively traffic free and the Space Centre is reasonably well sign-posted.


        The current admission price is $41/ £25 and a ticket gives an additional days entry within a 7 day period and it also gives admission to the Astronauts Hall of Fame which is a separate attraction a few miles away from the main centre on the route back to Orlando. We purchased our tickets before we went with Attraction Tickets Direct and I was pleased with the price and the quick delivery. The Centre opens 9 until 6 most days of the year, it is shut at Christmas and on some launch dates, and the Hall of Fame stays open until 7.

        This is government property and they are strict on security. Large bags are not allowed to be brought in and all bags are given a thorough search and you also have to go through a metal detector the same as you do at airports.

        Upon arrival you can collect a map and a timetable for the day's activities. It is very difficult to schedule everything in so it is best to select the things that appeal most and fit the rest of the day around those.

        ---Shuttle Launch Experience---

        One of the newest additions to the Space Centre is the Shuttle Launch Experience ride. I had heard that this can get very busy so we headed straight for this attraction as soon as we arrived. No bags are allowed on board so they had to be placed in a locker at the entry point, I am sure that these were free, we used a Quarter to lock it but I am sure it was returned when we collected our stuff. We then proceeded to a Pre-launch room as there was no queue; here we watched a film about the launch of the Shuttles and Shuttle astronauts recounting their experiences. We then walked through to another room and had to stand on a spot whilst we waited for the doors to open. We seemed to wait a long time so I imagine queues must back up pretty quickly when the centre is busy. We were eventually led into a simulator which probably held about 50 people. I do tend to get a bit claustrophobic but I found that I was OK on this. We were then strapped in via a lap belt and were sent on our Shuttle Launch. The noise and the effects were good but when the forces came into play it really did become a unique experience, your seats were tilted back and you could feel the skin on your face moving under the pressure, truly bizarre but memorable! The simulator probably takes about 5 minutes but the whole process took about 40 minutes to get through. On the walk out there are plaques commemorating every shuttle launch and memorials to the two fatal missions.

        ---The Tour---

        At 10 o'clock the buses start leaving the Visitors Centre to take you around the whole complex. The centre runs a fleet of over 40 buses. They are wonderfully air-conditioned and since we visited when the temperature was well into the 90s we did appreciate that, they are also disabled accessible.

        The first leg of the bus tour takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the LC-30 Observation Gantry. A film was shown on the bus about the workings of the enormous Vehicle Assembly Building that you drive past. The scale of everything at Kennedy takes some getting used to, the site is huge and the VAB is so tall that it could accommodate the Statue of Liberty. On the side of the building is a painting of the Stars and Stripes and each star is 6ft across. This building is where they put together the component tanks for the Space Shuttle; it is then loaded onto a crawler and taken the relatively short distance to the launch pads. Due to imminent launch of the Discovery Shuttle the crawler was out and once again the size is surprising, it travels at half a mile an hour when moving the shuttle to the launch pad and the drivers are frequently changed due to the tedium.

        On arrival at the LC-39 Observation gallery we found that there were restrooms and refreshments available. There was also a video presentation about how the various Shuttle parts are transported and put together and then moved. We then climbed to the top of the viewing gantry which was three stories high; there is a lift available as well. From the top there were magnificent views of the Florida countryside and the sea in the distance. The whole of Merritt Island is classed as a nature reserve which seems a little bizarre with all the high technology but a lot of care is taken of the area and we saw several alligators and even a Bald Eagle nest whilst we were there. The Shuttle Discovery was actually on the launch pad on the day we visited so we were just able to see the tip of the fuel tank above the launch apparatus. The main reason to stop at LC-39 is to appreciate the size and scale of the whole operation and to enjoy the views. Once you have had enough you can hop back on to the next bus that comes along to take you to the Apollo/Saturn V centre.

        On arrival we were once again taken into a video presentation which lasted about 10 minutes in total about the first rockets and men in space. We then walked out into a massive display hall which contains a full size rocket which stretches over 350ft. I was amazed at the size of the thing and even more surprised when I saw how small the actual area the astronauts had to live and work in. There are lots of informative displays and even moon rock for you to touch. The centre has moved the original Apollo control centre fittings to the site and there is a recreation of an Apollo launch in one of the theatres. I was far more interested than I thought I would be as I looked at the antiquated equipment and computers and thought what they had accomplished. There is another theatre which tells the story of the first moon landing which is also interesting. I am not a conspiracy theorist and so I like to think that man did land on the moon even though no-one could really prove it to me.

        The Apollo centre also contains several other exhibits and also has a restaurant, shop and more restrooms. However like all of the US the place was air-conditioned but some parts were so fiercely air-conditioned I was not able to stay in them very long as it was almost painful, I would certainly recommend taking a jacket!

        Hopping on one of the buses again we headed back to the visitors complex which probably took another 20 minutes.

        ---The Visitors Complex---

        The visitor's complex is spread over quite a large area. Near the bus stop was a full-size mock-up of a shuttle and you can climb up to have a look at the living area and cargo bay. These are still cramped but are positively spacious compared to the Apollo missions.

        There are two IMAX cinemas showing different 3D presentations. We only had time to see one so we ended up seeing Hubble 3D about the powerful space telescope. It started out ok and was talking about the launch and then it started showing pictures it had taken in space. At this point I think I started to nod off as the thought of looking at pictures of stars for half an hour was too boring to contemplate. However it then moved on to the mission to correct the problems with the telescope and that was really interesting, especially seeing how the astronauts were training. The 3D effect was very good too. The narration by Leonardo DiCaprio also probably helped hold my attention! The other film is about the Space station but we weren't able to fit that in.

        Even though the weather was almost unbearably hot we did take a walk around the Rocket garden which shows different rockets used on mans quest to visit the stars. There are several full size mock-up re-entry modules which you can try out for size; you certainly couldn't be claustrophobic to be an astronaut. Behind the rocket garden there is an exhibition hall about early space exploration. This was quite interesting but once again it was excessively cold and after a quick photo call in a space buggy we had to leave to warm up.

        The centre has a couple of shows running, we were unable to visit Exploration Space but we did get to Star Trek Live. At this point I have to own up to being a Sci-fi fan and my whole family love Star Trek so this was a must. It was a jolly interactive show and the highlight for us was my son being picked to be the "cadet". Ever the performer he entertained everyone by juggling Tribbles (if you don't know I am not telling you!) and hunting high and low for the enemy. At the end he was awarded a photograph as a memento which was nice.

        Every day the centre organises an Astronaut Encounter where you have the chance to ask questions of someone who has been in space about their experiences. If you are lucky you may get a quiet time and it feels more like a chat than an interview.

        The centre houses the world's largest store devoted to Space merchandise. Compared to the products available at Disney I thought these were a reasonable price. Several years ago we had watched a Shuttle Launch from near Cocoa Beach and I was pleased to be able to get the children sew on badges of that launch and they were less than £5 each. My husband had a little spending spree but he seemed to get quite a lot for his money.

        There is another restaurant, a snack bar and ice-cream vending around the main plaza. We had huge ice-creams in cups (these were small, there were large ones available too!) which filled us up so much that we didn't use any of the restaurants so I can't comment on the quality or the prices.

        ---Final Thoughts---

        Overall I would recommend visiting the Kennedy Space Centre. I know some people hate it and find it boring but I thought it was fascinating and also educational. The educational aspect made me feel less guilty about taking my children out of school during termtime and they both seemed to gain a lot from it so it was definitely worthwhile.


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          26.10.2009 16:48
          Very helpful
          1 Comment



          Must Visit!!!!!!!

          The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is NASA's space vehicle launch facility and Launch Control Center and is located Merritt Island Florida. The site is near Cape Canaveral and this is why the site is sometimes called by that name. The name Kennedy Space Center was given to the centre following President's John F. Kennedy's assassination There is a visitor center and public tours at KSC.

          The site has been the focal point of space explaration since it was built. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects all launched from here most famously Apollo 11 (Which took the first human to land on the moon) At the present time KSC's only launch operations are Launch Complex 39, Pads A and B.

          The KSCenter Visitor Complex is home to a number of museums, a simulation ride two IMAX theatres, and a range of tours allowing visitors a closer look at various restricted areas that would otherwise not be possible.

          You are able to take a bus to an observation gantry on the grounds of Launch Complex 39. If you are lucky enough and go when a shuttle or rocet is on the pad this is the best time to do this. You also can get to the Apollo-Saturn V Center which is a large museum built around its centerpiece exhibit, a restored Saturn V launch vehicle.
          The Visitor Complex also includes in hounor to the fallen people in space explorationThe Space Mirror Memorial. This d huge black granite mirror through-engraved with the names of all astronauts who died in the line of duty.

          This is an amazing place to visit and you get a sense of excitement knowing that this is where rocets & space shuttles are being have have been made and launched. Knowing you are in the place that the impossible became impossible is mind blowing. The best part I thought was seeing a full sized Satern 5 rocket laid down for you to look at. Thee admission is $38 which is grreat value for what you get to see and do.


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            04.01.2009 15:58
            1 Comment



            Great day out even if you don't have an intrest in space

            While on holiday in florida we hired a car for the whole two weeks to enable us to cram as much of the sights and parks as possible. So we set aside a day to go to John F. Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral). It took about 1 hours drive from our resort. the parking facilties were very good. We walked into the entrence hall and were really suprised to see aligators basking in the sun shire in the water areas around the site. The site is huge, we were taken to where the launch vehicle is built and attached to the rockets. Then followed the route that the the launch vehicle follows the tour guide had great ifomation not just about the rockets but about the wildlife that they share. The building that holds most of the exhibits is masive, with mock ups of mission control, luna landing vehicles and various display cases encluding "moon Rock". There is a great outdoor play area for younger child which my children loved as the were a little board by the end of the visit. As adults we thought it was a site and very well put together an worth the drive.


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              17.02.2005 13:50
              Very helpful



              Having 3 weeks in Florida, we thought we had all the time in the world to cover every place we wanted to see. In reality, we struggled, and missed out on a lot of places.

              One place we didn’t miss though was the Kennedy Space Center. Located on the Atlantic Coast on Merritt Island, it took about an hour to reach in our 12 seater minibus from Kissimmee along the Beeline Expressway. The Space Center is well signposted, and you shouldn’t have any problem finding it.

              The Space Center is set in a rural area, and we played spot the alligator with the kids as they were getting bored. The alligators can be seen in the water at the side of the road as you drive on the Island.

              Parking was free, and spaces plentiful, although we did pick the last week in December to visit. The tickets cost us $27 for the adults, and $18 for the children, but we bought them from one of the discount ticket web sites. Normal admission prices are $30 for adults, and $20 for children aged 3-11. For maximum admission, the cost goes up to $37 and $27. With the exchange rate we got, this worked out at about £18 for a standard adult ticket, but remember to add your tax – the Americans don’t add tax to anything until you come to pay!!

              Lunch with an astronaut can be booked for another $19.99 for adults and $12.99 for children.

              As we had pre-booked tickets, so we just went straight past the ticket booth queues, and were held up only to have our bags checked, and wander through a metal detector. We even had to turn on our cameras to show them that the cameras were real I assume, and not hiding anything within. Security is tight, and has to be so. Kennedy Space Centre is a working government facility.

              We didn’t know anything about the Space Center when we arrived, and I hadn’t researched it, so the first thing we did was head for the busses to go on a tour.

              We boarded one of the big coaches, naively thinking we were going on some sort of guided tour around the base, with a view to arriving back at the centre in about ½ hour. How wrong was I?

              What we had done was jumped on the KSC Tour, lasting about 4 hours! First stop was the 60-foot-tall Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry. The ride there took a while, and there was a video commentary which was interrupted occasionally by the driver to tell you about places we were passing.

              As we disembarked, we headed for the gantry. There is a lift available for those who should need it, and also steps climbing to each platform. From the top, there is a 360 degree view of the 2 shuttle launch pads, the crawler transporter and the launch control centre and the enormous vehicle assembly building. It’s the sort of view you could look at all day, with a flat plain between you and the sites, it was amazing. This is about as close as you will get to a launch pad. As you come down to the lower platforms, there is a shuttle engine mounted in the centre.

              We were really lucky the day we went. There was a booster retrieval ship coming in. It is amazing how slowly these things move.

              Once you’ve taken in the views, there is a little café selling a limited selection of food and drink, but be warned, they really cash in on the fact that you are miles from anywhere.

              After this we went into the theatre presentation which gives you a behind the scenes look at what it takes to launch a Space Shuttle. Afterwards, you come out into an interactive area, with models of the Space Shuttle on its launch pad, and a short video presentation.

              Having had enough, we headed back to the bus. Next stop Apollo/Saturn V center. This was quite bizarre. The bus dropped us off outside a building with closed doors, and left. There we waited for the doors to open. We walked into another presentation. The Apollo/Saturn V Center is a tribute to the Apollo Astronauts, and coming out of the presentation, it takes you into a massive hall, where a real Saturn V rocket is mounted above you. A fitting tribute. This really brings home the sheer scale of these massive beasts.

              In another presentation, you will get to see the actual control centre where the mission was launched from, and feel the windows rattle as a virtual take off happens in front of your eyes, giving you a feel for the tension just before lift off.

              Within this hall is a café, a piece of moon rock you can touch (about the size of a penny – bit of a disappointment), the capsule the astronauts used to return to earth in, and there is another presentation, this time with a difference. By this point, I felt like all the presentations were blurring into one, and some of the information was repeated, but out of all the presentations, this was the best, with actual moon buggy etc lit up when appropriate to the story rather than just a piece of film.

              We did have some lunch in the café here, and although it was priced over the odds, I wouldn’t say it was any worse than any of the theme parks, and the food was OK. The plastic cups they serve your soft drinks in are yours to keep as a souvenir.

              We were here for quite some time, and I felt the day was almost over, so we headed back to the bus once more.

              Last stop, the Visitor Center.

              This is where we came in. Within the complex itself, there is a lot to do, and I don’t think we even broke the ice here.

              Early Space Exploration is a museum type exhibit, which we didn’t manage to see, but to be honest, I’d pretty much had my fill at this point, due to all the shows/presentations.

              The Rocket Garden is amazing, and you can see Titan, Atlas and Redstone, and even climb onboard Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. My husband deduced that he is too tall to be an astronaut.

              The Space Walk of Honour was another area we missed due to lack of time. It is basically as walk around a lake with recognition given to supporters and pioneers of the US space program.

              The Astronaut Memorial is a huge mirrored monument to those who died in the name of space exploration.

              There are 2 IMAX theatres, and details of these shows can be found on the web site. This is something else we didn’t get to see.

              Exploration in the new millennium is an area where you can learn what is planned for future space travel, and what they planned with regards to Mars.

              Astronaut Encounter is an area where you can meet a real astronaut. There is a daily briefing, and then you can have your photo taken with them. The kids had their photo taken with Sam Gemar.

              Mad Mission to Mars is another thing we missed. This is a show which puts the audience in the position of astronaut trainees. With 3D animation, artificial winds, and water effects, it takes you on a journey through space.

              Robot Scouts is another show where the Robots talk to each other, and I wasn’t too impressed with this. It is basically the probes talking about their interplanetary adventures.

              The NASA store is the largest in the world for NASA memorabilia, and I could see why. Part of the reason why we didn’t see everything was the amount of time everyone took in the shop. Pin badges, sweatshirts, light up necklaces, freeze dried space food (ice cream in our case) and other gifts were carefully chosen to take home.
              Last but not least is the Space Shuttle Plaza. Here is a full sized Space Shuttle Explorer replica. You can go into the shuttle and see inside the living areas which are extremely cramped. Also in the same area is the huge fuel tank and rocket boosters used to launch the shuttle.
              Although we missed several areas in the Visitor Complex, I don’t think we’ll be going back. I was REALLY fed up by about 4.30pm, and felt that a lot of the shows repeated themselves.

              The children were not kept entertained enough, and at 9 and 5, maybe they were a little young for this sort of attraction.

              Well, having reviewed the centre, and gone along there with an open mind, I have to say that they haven’t fully convinced me it is all real. The replica of the shuttle looked to me like it would have fallen apart coming back through the atmosphere, and I cannot see how those suits the astronauts wear can possibly protect them from the radiation. Hmmm……I’m still sceptical.

              Kennedy Space Centre is open all year round except for Christmas Day, and also certain launch days (so check the internet before you leave home!)

              We bought our tickets at http://www.mapleleaftickets.com/


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