Sometimes things don’t go as planned, ya know? On a recent trip to Florida the plan was to spend two days in Orlando and then head to St. Augustine for a week. After one day at a Disney park I asked my kids, “Which park would you like to go to tomorrow?” Their answer was quite surprising!
So without further ado we packed it up and headed east! Kennedy Space Center exceeded my expectations by far and we didn’t even get to see everything!
The first building we walked through was the History of Space Travel. This was set up like a typical museum, but we enjoyed reading all of the plagues that went along with each display. After that we walked around the Rocket Garden and had a great time taking pictures with the rockets.
You will definitely want to use at least an hour of your time for the two IMAX films that are included in admission. It’s so nice to go someplace where you don’t have to pay extra for the IMAX film.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis℠ building is absolutely the coolest part of the park. Here you do the shuttle launch experience, which was really cool. I can’t recall what the exact size restrictions were, but my 4 year old was too small. If you are here with small children you will want to take turns going, but don’t skip it! The attraction itself takes about 8 minutes and is worth the wait if any. It is a simulation of an actual rocket launch. It’s so real that your hair will fly back and your face will jiggle, but it’s not scary and is just a simulation. Once up in space the shuttle hatch opens and you can stare up at the stars and see Earth from afar. Also in this building is a giant slide for the kids and a lot of exhibits to see and touch. But the main event is the Space Shuttle Atlantis℠ itself.
Seeing the Space Shuttle Atlantis℠ was one of my most memorable experiences ever. Before seeing the actual shuttle you stand in this big room and watch a video about the shuttle. I really didn’t know much about it at the time, but the movie had me engrossed in the history. The video talks about all the work and dedication that went into her creation, when many people said it couldn’t be done. I didn’t realize that so many other countries lent a hand in her creation. At the conclusion of the film they talk about how the aircraft was brought to Cape Canaveral for retirement and then they announce, “Welcome home Atlantis℠” and this big screen opens and you can see the actual nose of the Atlantis through the screen. I got serious goose bumps and a very thick lump in my throat. I felt a surge of American pride in that moment that is indescribable. It was like welcoming home a war hero and the space shuttle is just amazing. Once you are done gawking there are some really cool interactive displays around the showroom that were fun to play with.
Your kids will also have some less educational fun (we call this a brain break) at the 4,485-square-foot Angry Birds Space Encounter. Here you will find the Eggsteroids Slingshot, a kiosk where you can create your own angry birds, a mirror maze and several other fun exhibits. My son had a lot of fun with the Red Planet Lazer Challenge. Kids have to work their way through the lazers by going over, under and sometimes through the lazers in search of mythical eggs.
There is more to do at KSC, that we just didn’t have time for. If you have another hour or two you can take the additional KSC Bus Tour which doesn’t cost extra. On that tour you go to the The Apollo/Saturn V Center, which allows you to walk under the massive Saturn V, which is as large as a football field and the largest rocket ever made. You will have the opportunity to touch moon rocks and relive the amazing story of the first moon landing of Apollo 11. When we return to Kennedy Space Center, and we definitely will, we are doing this first to make sure we get it in.
I can’t say enough about this experience. We all absolutely loved it . . . we preferred it to our day at Disney if you can believe that! If you are planning a trip to Kennedy Space Center we hope you love it as much as we did! Make sure to check their website before you go and you might get lucky enough to see a live rocket launch!