Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

3 Ratings: 4.3
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I am always looking for an educational experience for my daughter, and this summer I think that I found the perfect thing. That is a trip to the "Kennedy Space Center" to see the final space shuttle "Atlantis" liftoff. NASA is located … see full wiki

1 review about Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Excellent Field Trip For Your Family to Visit the Kennedy Space Center.

  • Jul 21, 2011
Rating:
+5
I am always looking for an educational experience for my daughter, and this summer I think that I found the perfect thing. That is a trip to the "Kennedy Space Center" to see the final space shuttle "Atlantis" liftoff. NASA is located on the east coast of Florida, in Cape Canaveral. We own a time share in Orlando Florida which is only 45 minutes away from the center, and we are always looking for different things to do. When I heard of a chance to get tickets to see the last and final shuttle launch "Atlantis" I started the wheels rolling. I took over a month to finally get any kind of an answer but we finally got to go to the "Kennedy Space Center". The "Kennedy Space Center" is located in Titusville Florida on 140,000 acres of a national wildlife refuge called "Merritt Island". Along with seeing the space center the is a lot different types of wildlife that you will be able to see, whether it be in the water or in the air.

What's to See
There is quite a bit to see, so you may want to spend the whole day at the visitor center. We have found that the best way to experience the whole space center, is by going on a guided tour. They have two different types of tours that they offer and they are: a 2.5 to 3 hour tour (Discover KSC- Today and Tomorrow) and a 3.5 to 4 hour tour (Cape Canaveral- Then and Now) each of these tours cost $21.00 for adults and $15.00 for children (ages 3-11). The first tour will show you what it takes to launch a shuttle in the present day and this tour has several departures a day. The second tour shows you the 50 year history of the space exploration, from the start of the Mercury launches (the birth place of the manned space program) until now, and leaves at 12:50 p.m. daily.

One if the places that you will get to see while on The “KSC” tour is the “LC 39 Observation Gantry”. This is a 60’ tall structure that will allow you to have a 360 degree look at the two shuttle launch pads (39A & 39B). You will get to see the launch control tower, the crawler way and vehicle assembly building. Inside of the LC 39 you will be able to hear what the briefings are and what it takes to launch a shuttle. All of this is included in the price of one admission ticket.

Along with guided tours you will also have a chance to have lunch with an Astronaut, you can also purchase a pass to the Commander’s Club Annual Pass Program, there is also a “ATX Experience” which is a virtual reality Astronaut training experience, plus there is a 10 day kids camp at the Kennedy space center. 

While we were there, the first thing that you have to go through, is of course is the security and metal detectors. Once you are through the security, you will go into the visitor center, on the way to the inside, we also saw the rocket garden on the left. This rocket garden is so large, that you will see this from quite a ways away. While we were in the garden they had a large screen that would show updates of the Atlantis launch and previous launches. At night this is so spectacular, they will use very dramatic light show that light up all of the features on the rockets. These light are the highest technology that NASA has to offer. The blue and orange lights will light up the engine compartments making it look like the engines are actually lit up. You will see the famous rockets such as the Redstone, Atlas, and Titan all of which were the first rockets that NASA put into outer space. You can then also see the first Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules that the Astronauts had to live in for all of their space missions.

When you enter through the gates you will see one of the large shuttles and rocket boosters at the entrance. Inside you will see the “Hubble Space Telescope” which will allow you to see the best images that they have taken with the Hubble Telescope Exhibition. This telescope is viewing nebulas and galaxies that are orbiting 350 miles above the earth and this is the most powerful telescope known to man. This is included in the price of admission.

You will have several showings during the “Eye of the Universe” and there is also the "IMAX Space Station 3D". Along with this you will be allowed to see the “Hubble 3D” and “Space station 3D” all of which is included in the price of admission. If you purchase an additional ticket you can get into see the “Transformers: Dark Of the Moon”. The Star Trek Live is also showing but does not need any additional tickets. You will also be able to have an encounter with and Astronaut Show.

They have a walk through building that is called: “Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted” with live shows every thirty minutes. This will allow you to have interactive experiences and live shows and see large scale presentations of all of NASA’s equipment. This area will let you see that there is more to NASA than just high tech gadgets. The main show is called “Explorers Wanted” and runs every thirty minutes. You will get to see the “Robot Scouts” and there will also be an opportunity to have a photo taken with a spaceperson. One of the other things is in the IMAX west pavilion is the LEGO “Build the Future” Event.

Don’t be overwhelmed with everything that you see, that is why I said it is better if you go on one of the tours, because they will guide you through the whole NASA program falicities. There are plenty of places to shop and eat, such as the Orbit café (which serves more than just snacks). Inside of the main building you will also see all of the early space exploration which will highlight the Mercury and Gemini space programs. Next to this facility you will be able to go into the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Conference center. This is a state of the art event facility looking out over the rocket garden. This is also included in the price of one admission ticket.

The main part of the Kennedy Space Center is the "Apollo/Saturn Visitor Center", which houses several exhibits and tributes to all of the astronauts and all of the machines that helped them achieve their objectives. They also have all of the Apollo treasures gallery that such things as Alan Shepard’s spacesuit, and a collection of different gear and moon walk suits and emergency repair books and check lists. Again all of these exhibits are included in the price of one admission ticket.

Another thing that is included in the price of your ticket is you get to visit the "Space Shuttle Plaza" which exhibit’s a full size shuttle replica. You are able to walk inside of the cargo bay and walk into the area behind where the pilot and co-pilot sit. Along side this shuttle you will be able to walk all the way underneath the body of the shuttle and get a close look at the booster rockets and external fuel tanks. You can also experience the space shuttle launch experience and experience the sounds of a real liftoff and mission sounds.

As you walk around the facility you will be able to see the "Astronaut Space Mirror Memorial". This was dedicated in 1991 by George Bush and Congress. All of the fallen astronauts from the space shuttle Columbia, Challenger, and Apollo and inscribed in this. Just to give you an idea at how big this is, it is 42.6’ high x 50’ wide, and is made of black granite.

If your kids are not amazed by all of this, NASA has built a "Children’s Play Dome" for all Junior Astronauts. My daughter went inside and she got to climb a moon, rock wall, lift off in a spacecraft, and crawl through rocket tunnels and slide to the base of a moon. There is only one stipulation for your child to be able to go into this dome and that is that they must be 48” or taller to enter. No extra tickets are needed for this exhibit.

Another facility that is part of NASA, but is separate from KSC, is the "Astronaut Hall of Fame". This is open from 12 to 7 p.m. everyday. This has all of the collections of rare artifacts and tributes and all of the astronauts accomplishments. There is also a G-force trainer, that will show all of the pressures that the astronauts put their bodies through during liftoff and re-entry. As you walk the hall of the hall of fame, they also have a “Science On a Sphere” exhibit, which allows you to see a different view of earth from outer space. This shows all different types of weather conditions, such as hurricanes and a three dimensional view as the earth turns.

After all of this you and your kids will probably be a little hungry. So, they have strategically place several different kinds of eateries throughout the complex, (10 to be exact) and they are: Orbit Café, Shuttle Launch Experience Snacks, Coffee/Snacks shop, Milky Way, Snack Port, G-Force Grill, inside the Rocket Garden they have Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, a shuttle launch experience tent (this also has Sonny’s Bar-B-Q), Mila Tent, and a Moon Rock Café located in the main Apollo/Saturn V Center. Just to let you know that this is not included in the price of admission so take your wallet.

Conclusion
After spending all day at NASA, we learned a lot and the grounds are efficiently clean and the bathrooms are kept up to the NASA standards. There was enough wildlife on site, we even saw a live alligator in the pond around the Memorial. Everything was beautiful and clean, if you have any problems with anything they had enough staff to tend to your needs. At the end of the day, before you leave is the best time to do a little shopping, so that you do not have to carry your packages all throughout the whole day. All of the souvenirs’ are not cheap, but there are plenty of them to go around. If for some unknown reason, you do not see something in the space shop then you might be able to find it on their website. They do have different stuff on line that they do not have on site. The website is
http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/.

You really need to take your family to see the KSC at least once in your lifetime, but this is so big that it may take you a couple of visits to absorb it all. Five stars for cleanliness and being very informative and efficient. You will not be dissatisfied with your day at the Kennedy Space Center. There is a lot more but you would have to believe it to see it.

Recommended:
Yes

Best Suited For: Families
Best Time to Travel Here: Mar - May
Excellent Field Trip For Your Family to Visit the Kennedy Space Center. Excellent Field Trip For Your Family to Visit the Kennedy Space Center. Excellent Field Trip For Your Family to Visit the Kennedy Space Center. Excellent Field Trip For Your Family to Visit the Kennedy Space Center.

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July 27, 2011
I wanna be there!!
 
July 27, 2011
good write up bonz......
 
July 27, 2011
This sounds like a lot to see in one day.
 
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