The Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral — Photo courtesy of Steve Mott / Exploration Tower
This seven-story tower, which opened late 2013, stands out with its unusual architecture – an almost Dr. Seuss-like pointed top and sides nearly covered in windows. For visitors that means one thing: stellar views of the ocean and port.
The Exploration Tower features two decks with unique, panoramic views of the coast and the famous Kennedy Space Center.
On the Space Coast, great views naturally come hand-in-hand with the chance to watch a space shuttle launch. Here, you can enjoy a delicious lunch at the cafe and then head to the seventh-floor outdoor deck to watch a rocket blast into space, an experience of a lifetime.
The seventh-floor deck is one of the best places to watch a shuttle launch. (We are also partial to the view from the sandy shoreline, with our toes in the water.) Guests can use high-end telescopes to view details of the rocket and the launching process and then, later in the evening, use the telescope to keep their eyes toward the skies and explore the stars.
Watch space shuttle launches from the seventh floor of the Exploration Tower — Photo courtesy of Exploration Tower
Needless to say, the tower is popular among families.
In fact, the Exploration Tower offers hands-on activities and interactive, educational exhibits to learn more about science, technology, history, nature and the Space Coast region. Kids will love the interactive table and map. Then, they can relax in the auditorium (and out of the heat) and watch a unique movie about nature on the port on the big screen.
The outdoor views are the scene-stealer, but the inside of the facility is clean and beautifully decorated, too. Enjoy space-themed art and galleries throughout.
Each floor is home to a different adventure. Parents can fuel up on the first floor at the cafe; don’t forget to swing by the gift shop on your way out to pick up a souvenir, too.
The second floor is home to interactive exhibits and oversized maps that teach about the port and its environment. Bring a camera to take pics of the marine-life sculptures made out of recycled material.
You’ll find the theater on the third floor. Private events get the fourth floor. Pretend you’re driving a cruise ship with the simulator on the fifth floor. Learn about the space center and gaze at it from the windows on the sixth floor. (This is a great precursor to visiting the space center itself.)
The Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral — Photo courtesy of Exploration Tower
And, of course, the seventh floor is the famous observation deck.
The tower also can be booked for special events, including weddings, family reunions, parties, meetings and more. It’s a popular destination for kids’ groups, too. It also is regularly involved with special Space Coast events, including the art festival in November, as well as concerts.
You can find free parking adjacent to the tower.