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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Orlando, FL
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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Orlando FL

Description

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a very attractive center with real rockets, lunar buggies, space shuttles, and exhibits showing the history and current state of space travel. It is fascinating and a lot of fun for all ages! I had no idea my daughter was so interested in space travel until we went here!
There are two Imax movies included in your admission and the best one is Space Station 3D. This one will really get your kids asking questions about life on the space station. Just watching the astronauts drink water up at the space station is entertaining! The rocket garden is another highlight. Located outdoors, it is a collection of giant rockets, some with black and white stripes. Plaques describe what the rockets were made for. Kids can climb inside the crammed quarters where the astronauts had to spend days and nights sitting in one position. Next to the rocket garden is a great playplace where kids can climb inside netting and slide down slides. It is outside but semi-sheltered. This is a good place to meet other kids, which might make your trip to the space center a lot easier. We went around the rest of the day with a family we'd met and our kids played with each other during the boring parts of the tour! The Early Space Center has interesting exhibits about how space exploration began.
The KSC Explore tour costs extra ($25, $19 for kids), takes two hours and shows you the gigantic buildings where the space shuttles and rockets are sometimes stored. The last stop on the tour is the Apollo Saturn V Center with a restaurant, gift store with expensive toys, and amazing moon rocket hanging overhead. Because Kennedy Space Center is in a wildlife refuge, you also have a good chance, while riding in the tour bus, of spotting birds like osprey, alligators (a ton of fun), and even a bald eagle nest as big as a king-sized mattress. I don't recommend upgrading to the KSC Explore tour because it was a little boring for kids (and adults, unless you're a space buff). The regular admission ticket comes with an abbreviated tour that is probably better for kids.
The Shuttle Launch Experience wasn't that amazing- it just reclines you and then shakes you in your chair. The sign said the wait time was 0 minutes but it ended up being about 45 minutes which I don't think was worth it. Also, the "observation" experience- for those with health problems or children under 44 inches- is way not worth the wait. You just sit and watch a blurry computer screen showing the others on the ride.
The Astronaut Hall of Fame at the entrance is beautifully presented. Everything is attractive and glittery and very exciting for kids! There are excellent exhibits on space travel, what astronauts wear, the accidents and tragedies that have happened, and the history of space travel presented alongside other significant events in history. One of my favorites was an exhibit on the dusty surface of the moon. It showed what the dust looked like with an astronaut's shoe print in the dust, and gave quotes on what the astronauts had said about the messiness of the dust that got everywhere once they returned to the shuttle.
There was a beautiful exhibit with images projected onto a large rotating ball, showing what planets look like. For example, Mars has a canyon that is huge compared to the Grand Canyon.
The highlight for my kids was the section of the museum where you can play simulator games. You can practise landing a space shuttle on the runway. There is also a G-force simulator but we skipped that one. Everyone who came out of the simulator looked elated, though. 
The restaurant at the complex is disgusting. We got food poisoning from eating a chicken fajita that was lukewarm and had been stored in the heater. Bring your own food if you can!
It takes about five to eight hours to see everything at the complex and take the tour. 
This is a very educational and unique place to visit- in what other place can you see some much history about outer space travel and the real gizmos that come along with it?! Also, this is such a beautiful natural area with such gorgeous views as you drive over the causeways that it just makes you want to come back asap!
Drive to Cocoa Beach for a swim at the end of the day. Or drive to Cocoa Village for a meal.

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Photo Gallery

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Orion crew capsule, at the entrance to the museum.
Orion crew capsule, at the entrance to the museum.
Satellite in space shuttle payload bay exhibit.
Satellite in space shuttle payload bay exhibit.
Hubble telescope exhibit.
Hubble telescope exhibit.
Exhibit hall.
Exhibit hall.
Space Exploration Vehicle.
Space Exploration Vehicle.
Mars Rover family.
Mars Rover family.
Playground's dome-shaped shade canopy and rocket garden.
Playground's dome-shaped shade canopy and rocket garden.
Rocket garden.
Rocket garden.
Frank Borman and Jim Lovell spent 14 days in this Gemini 7 spacecraft, unable to even stretch their legs.
Frank Borman and Jim Lovell spent 14 days in this Gemini 7 spacecraft, unable to even stretch their legs.
Apollo space capsule.
Apollo space capsule.
Striped rockets.
Striped rockets.
Picnic tables and splash pad at the rocket garden.
Picnic tables and splash pad at the rocket garden.
Tour to the launch pads and vehicle assembly bay.
Tour to the launch pads and vehicle assembly bay.
Impressive cranes in the rocket storage facility.
Impressive cranes in the rocket storage facility.
Pretty scenery on the tour.
Pretty scenery on the tour.
The tour takes you to launch pads in the wide open spaces surrounding the museum.
The tour takes you to launch pads in the wide open spaces surrounding the museum.
Rocket at the Apollo Saturn V Center.
Rocket at the Apollo Saturn V Center.
Moon lander at the Apollo Saturn V Center.
Moon lander at the Apollo Saturn V Center.
Constellations fountain.
Constellations fountain.
Exhibit about the dust on the moon!
Exhibit about the dust on the moon!
The Astronaut Hall of Fame is attractive.
The Astronaut Hall of Fame is attractive.
The G-Force Simulator and the brave people in line.
The G-Force Simulator and the brave people in line.
Lunar buggy!
Lunar buggy!
Kids enjoying the exhibits.
Kids enjoying the exhibits.
Large rotating ball with projections of what the surface of the different planets look like.
Large rotating ball with projections of what the surface of the different planets look like.
   

Directions

From Highway 95, exit at SR 50 and head toward the ocean. Turn right on SR 405 and go 11 miles to the visitor complex. It will be on your right. There are plenty of signs. Parking is free.
Open daily 9-6. Closed December 25 and launch days.
Cost for the tour, exhibits, Astronaut Hall of Fame, and Imax movies is $57 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $47 for children aged 3-11, if tickets are purchased online. Military save $7. You can also buy multiday admission tickets.

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Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.

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Last Updated: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 23:54:40 GMT