I will be quite honest with you…I never really found ‘space’ that interesting. I was never fascinated by it like some people are. Maybe because I am more of a practical person and space just seemed so..far off? So when we were discussing what to do for our next vacation and the Kennedy Space Center was brought up since it is on my boyfriend’s bucket list, I knew we had to go. After all, the last couple vacations had really been focused on hiking.=) I am always up to experience something new, so we headed to Florida!
We had heard that there is no way to cram everything there is to see and do into one day so we bought the two day pass which totaled just over $80 per person. Honestly, for everything that is included in that price, I feel like we got our money’s worth.
I’ll share a few tips through this long post, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what to expect. My first tip is to arrive early! The park opens at 9, but the parking lot gates open at 8:30. Parking does cost $10. By getting there early, it allows you to experience a few of the park features before the gates actually open. First, snap a couple pictures of the iconic NASA globe without tons of people around.
After that, head over to the Information building and grab a brochure and browse the souvenirs. There is also a restroom outside of the gates, so head over there before entering the park. My next tip is to buy your tickets online! This will save time and you won’t have to stand in line to buy your tickets. As it nears closer to 9:00, begin to line up in front of the gates located under the EXPLORE sign.
One thing the park did every morning was it started the day off by playing the National Anthem. Once the song finishes, the gates open. Head through security and scan your ticket. There is a brochure stand right inside the gate so grab a Daily Schedule here. This will tell you the location and time for all of the events scheduled for the day.
We snapped a few pictures of the Rocket Garden since we were the first few people inside the park.
My next tip is to head straight to the KSC Bus Tour! The bus runs every 15 minutes and I have read that later in the day the wait can be up to 2 hours just to board the bus.
It was really cool because we were even able to see a rocket being built inside the VAB!
The tour ends at the Apollo/Saturn Center. Before you enter the actual exhibits, you watch two movies. One of my favorite experiences was the second “movie”. The actual Command Room sits below you as you experience the launch of Apollo 8.
You can spend as much time here as you like exploring the exhibits telling the stories of the moon landing.
I really liked the exhibit that featured space suits and even a moon rock!
We headed over to the Universe Theater to catch a couple shows. This is a great option if it is hot outside, you need to rest your feet, or you want to avoid the likely mid-afternoon routine Florida rain shower. We watched ‘Eyes On the Universe’, ‘Mission Status Briefing’, and ‘Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo’. I enjoyed the ‘Mission Control’ the best. But the program that I would recommend not to miss is the ‘Astronaut Encounter’. A real astronaut shares their stories of space travel, answers questions from the audience and then after the show, takes a quick picture with families. We saw John Blaha, an astronaut that flew 7 missions.
All of these shows filled our day from about 1:00 – 3:30. We then headed over to the The Space Shop to pick up a few souvenirs. At 4:00, the same astronaut signs autographs upstairs at The Space Shop so we did that as well.
That was our full Day 1 at the Space Center. While we packed a lot in, I was not overly tired. I think the best thing to do is to bring a backpack and pack drinks and snacks to keep you going throughout the day.
We started out Day 2 by heading straight to the Atlantis exhibit.
After watching two interesting movies about the space shuttle program, a wall rises and the space shuttle is suspended in the air. This is pretty cool!
Also on this floor is the moving tribute to the Challenger and Columbia. Take a quiet moment to reflect and pay respect to these brave individuals that lost their lives trying to further America’s space program.
We explored the Mars exhibit and then took in one more IMAX movie. On our way out, we stopped at the Heroes & Legends exhibit and then the Hall of Fame all within the same building.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Kennedy Space Center. I thought it was going to be like a museum where you walk around and look and read about artifacts, but it was so much more than that. The Space Center is so thoughtfully planned out and keeps the guest entertained. All of the short movies and multimedia presentations within the exhibits were amazing! The park was very clean and everyone was very friendly.
We headed back to our condo along the coast and enjoyed a nice night on the beach!
Have you ever been to the Kennedy Space Center? What did you think? If you have any questions, please ask below! And also, search for Planned Spontaneity Hiking on Facebook and follow me there!