Kennedy Space Center is situated on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge just an hour’s drive east of Orlando. It is the only place in the western hemisphere where humans are launched into space. It was from here, with the launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969, that President Kennedy’s dream of landing a man on the moon was realized. The center is the home of NASA, whose manned Space Shuttle can regularly be seen lifting off from one of the launch pads. With a scale and popularity comparable to Orlando’s other theme parks, the Visitor Complex informs and entertains. Like for other venues and theme parks, Orlando tickets for visitors can be bought in advance on the internet and it seems to be the best option if you’re not a fan of standing in long lines. It is estimated that each year more than 1.5 million visitors from around the world experience their very own space adventure.
Things to do at the Kennedy Space Center
- Lunch with an astronaut – these sessions offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet a veteran NASA astronaut and get their autograph as well as ask questions related to their personal space travel.
- Apollo/Saturn V Center – a Saturn V rocket, of the kind used by the Apollo missions, is the showpiece here. There is also a reconstructed control room where visitors experience a simulated launch.
- Rocket garden – you can walk through a group of towering rockets, each of which represents a different period of space flight’s history.
- KSC Bus Tour – a bus tour makes a circuit of the center launch pads, passing the Vehicle Assembly Building and the ‘crawlerway’, along which the shuttle is slowly maneuvered into position.
- IMAX Theater – it runs films about space exploration. Footage from the shuttle missions offers some breath-taking views of Earth from space. Top of the bill is ‘Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D’. Narrated by Tom Hanks, this film takes audiences to the lunar surface to walk alongside the 12 astronauts who have been there.