Touch a moon rock, launch into space in a lifelike simulator, or learn how astronauts eat, drink and live in space. Sounds pretty cool right? These are all things that visiting families have the opportunity to do at Kennedy Space Center. Sometimes overlooked in favor of larger theme parks, this hub of learning and exploration should definitely be on your list if you are making a visit to the Space Coast area or even Orlando. The boys and I made a stop at Kennedy Space Center a few days ago on our way to Tuckaway Shores Resort, and we couldn’t possibly have fit all of the educational fun that they have to offer into just one day. We did our best though, and had a great time. Plus, who can’t love a place that has astronaut ice cream?
10 Things You Must Do at Kennedy Space Center
1. Visit the Rocket Garden
See the rockets that first launched NASA into space, climb into the Gemini, Apollo and Mercury-Redstone capsules, and walk through the service arm of Apollo 11, literally in the footsteps of past astronauts. Be sure to stop and read, and you’ll definitely pick up an interesting tidbit or two. This is great for space enthusiasts or for those hoping to sneak in a little science learning.
2. Go To the Astronaut Encounter
If you can’t make it to lunch with an astronaut, be sure to stop by the astronaut encounter. Designated times are printed on the guide you can pick up when you enter Kennedy Space Center. The astronauts alternate, so chances are, you will have a new experience each time you come to visit. Learn from an astronauts personal experiences in space, and then have a chance to ask questions of your own.
3. See Space Shuttle Atlantis
There are few experiences as awe-inspiring as when you watch the curtain lift and reveal the Space Shuttle Atlantis in the Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center. Children’s faces light up with wonder as they view the gigantic shuttle suspended from the ceiling. Here, they can also find a wide range of interactive activities that put them behind the wheel of a space shuttle themselves and show them what it would be like to navigate inside a shuttle or the space station.
4. Take a Ride on the Shuttle Launch Experience
This is one of the most unique experiences available at Kennedy Space Center, and is definitely a “don’t miss.” Buckle up for a wild simulation ride with the Shuttle Launch Experience. See what it would be like to be an astronaut launching into space. Lockers for your belongings are available for free up to two hours while you check out this experience.
5. Hop on a Tour to the Apollo/Saturn V Center
Included in your general admission. Tour buses leave on a regular basis throughout the day until about 2 1/2 hours before park closing. During your tour, you will ride by bus and get a look at the launch pads, view the Vehicle Assembly Building or VAB, and check out the crawler which transports rockets and shuttles at a speedy rate of 1 mile per hour. Then, step off the bus and into the Apollo/Saturn V center to see one of only four on display in the whole world.
6. Touch a Moon Rock
One of the coolest experiences ever, this exhibit is located within the Apollo/Saturn V Center, and allows you to touch a real moon rock! Kids and adults alike love this, but plan to be patient if you want a photo, this exhibit is always busy.
7. Play Life Sized Angry Birds
Who hasn’t dreamed of doing this? Ever since the rather addictive Angry Birds game first came out, parents and children have been flinging birds to destroy the evil egg stealing birds. Now, you can do it in life size! While here, be sure to check out the mirror and lazer mazes too.
8. See a Space Film at the IMAX Theater
If you have not see the IMAX Space Station 3D movie, then you are missing out. It is the closest thing you will get to experiencing the real thing. The boys and I have seen it, and they would watch it every day if they could. IMAX Hubble 3D is also shown throughout the day at the Kennedy Space Center IMAX theater as well, and admission is included in the price of your admission.
9. Learn to Land a Space Shuttle
Within the Atlantis exhibit building, you will find a wide range of interactive simulation games for visitors of all ages to play. Here, you can learn how to perform all sorts of important space related tasks, including landing the space shuttle!
10. Eat Astronaut Ice Cream
No visit to Kennedy Space Center would be complete without a bag of astronaut ice cream. Sold throughout the park, children get a thrill out of eating this delicious treat.
Kennedy Space Center is more than just a park, it is an interactive learning experience for the while family. Tickets are $50 for adults and $40 for children, and the park is open daily. Learn more about the fun that awaits you there by visiting KennedySpaceCenter.com.