If you’ve ever wanted to tap into your inner astronaut, strap on a jet pack and head to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Orlando in Central Florida. There’s nothing second-rate about this hands-on (and sometimes full-body) experience with big-time, big- size exhibits and right-there-with-you 3D movies. Float with an astronaut, experience weightlessness, or stand in awe as you count down to lift-off. To say the least, it’s a blast!
Start with a Tour!
Good advice from the ticket-taker-upper: Do the tour first. Ride in air-conditioned comfort, look out your window at launch pads and construction sites, and listen as a down-to-earth expert tells you what happened where. No need to be a rocket scientist to understand — it’s all in plain English, and right-on for history buffs (like us) who remember names like John Glenn, Gus Grissom, and Walter Schirra as well as the nail-biting Apollo experiences.
Get the experience!
No matter what you choose, you’ll wish you had more time. Go early so you can stand close, really close, to Space Shuttle Atlantis. Or get in line for a Shuttle Launch Experience — you can feel weightlessness and hear sounds of lift-off (and/or the person next to you screaming in real time!)
It’s all part of the Atlantis experience that begins with a jaw-dropping reveal of the full-size shuttle suspended from the rafters and spanning two floors.
Other experiences available at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:
- IMAX Theatre with images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope
- Lunch with an astronaut and photo session, too
- Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted with multimedia experiences, giant simulators, and talk of our next space frontier: Mars. Really.
With all that touring, you’ll want to take time for lunch at Apollo/Saturn V Center where you can stand and gaze upward at the mechanics of space travel by looking at the featured 363-foot moon rocket.
Or wander around to check out artifacts like space suits that have evolved over time for better protection and greater ease for travel. Or parts of rockets left open for inspection — and awesome gazing.
Whether you’re wandering through the Rocket Garden or passing by the entrance to Space Shuttle Atlantis, you may need to stand clear and stretch your neck back to get a picture. Historic rockets on display will leave you gaping and snapping pictures — even if it’s only a nose cone shot you can fit into your iPhone!
Our only mistake in visiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was not arriving early. We had no idea there was so much to see and do — from 3D movies to bus tours to well-documented exhibits. So come early. Stay late. You’ll want to do it all.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Website — General Information: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/information.aspx
Hours of operation: Open year-round, seven days a week beginning at 9:00 AM; closing time varies by season. https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/information/hours-of-operation.aspx
We found Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to be very accommodating regardless of your age or physical abilities. (Click here for ADA Services.)
- Excellent balance of outdoor and indoor exhibits
- Air-conditioned buses, exhibit halls, and 3D movie viewing rooms
- Sidewalk accessibility throughout the complex
- Shuttle from parking lot
- Several rest areas, benches, and cafes available for breaks
Note: With numerous, informative exhibits, allow plenty of time for the day or schedule two days. Times of heavy visitation will, of course, increase wait time and processing time for crowds. Also, be prepared to walk — the complex is huge — and stand, especially in the 3D theatres where seating is limited.
*Boomer Travel is a feature of Oh, the Places We See that adds additional information to enhance your visit to a travel site. We’re mindful of your needs, since we’re Boomers, too!
Bert and Rusha Sams