Rockets peek from behind the gate at the Kennedy Space Center — Photo courtesy of Aimee Heckel
You’ll know you've arrived when you see massive white rockets peeking above the green trees. If you’re lucky, you may see a real space shuttle launch into the sky from these very grounds!
NASA no longer launches shuttles from the space center, but private launches are regular enough to keep eager eyes on the sky. And even if you've arrived on a non-launch day, there’s still plenty to learn, see and do at this unique, educational amusement park.
The space center is a hot spot for families, offering activities and exhibits for all ages. For the full experience, make sure you set aside an entire day.
The space center’s website offers an interactive itinerary-building program to help you pick the best-fitting activities and schedule them to flow well. But also make sure you check the schedule the day you arrive for showtimes and other special events, like book signings by veteran astronauts.
Learn about the future of space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center — Photo courtesy of Aimee Heckel
It’s a great idea to start your exploration of the space center with a tour of the grounds, either guided or not, depending on your attention span and how in-depth you want to go. If you can swing it, sign up for a guided tour and you can get up-close views of the launch pads.
Or take the bus (One leaves every 15 minutes.) for an overview of the highlights. Follow your fancy; get off the bus to explore certain points. Best of all, this tour is included in general admission.
After the big view, get personal. Stroll through the rocket garden and marvel at eight vintage rockets, just feet away from your face. Climb inside shuttle simulators to imagine what space travel might feel like.
Kids love the space-themed character throughout the Kennedy Space Center — Photo courtesy of Aimee Heckel
At the other end of the garden is the children’s play dome. After the bus tour, your kids will welcome the opportunity to climb and run through mock spacecraft and rockets. Adults can grab a beer or coffee at a nearby cafe and reset in a different way.
After playing up an appetite, the best dining option is lunch with a veteran astronaut. The buffet offerings surpass standard buffet fare, and there are plenty of kid-friendly options, too.
While you eat, view photos and hear stories about space exploration from someone who’s actually been there. Questions are encouraged.
After lunch, check out interactive exhibits at Exploration Space, hunt for books and gifts at the shop and see if you can find the Spaceperson character walking the grounds. When your feet are tired, head to the 3-D IMAX theater, where you can watch jaw-dropping films about the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station.
Grab a bucket of popcorn, stretch back and prepare to be transported out of this world.