It is one of those days in my life that I will always remember exactly where I was. On January 28th 1986, I was in Grade 8 and was volunteering in the Kindergarten classroom when our Principal came in and told us that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded. That day will forever be ingrained in my memory. So when I knew we would be travelling to Orlando, I knew that visiting the Kennedy Space Center was one place I wanted on our itinerary.
I’ve watched a lot of movies and shows about space travel in my life, but until you have actually seen a real rocket or space ship in person, it’s really hard to imagine what astronauts actually travel in. At Kennedy Space Center, from the minute that you arrive, you are surrounded with actual rockets that have been used in space missions. There were quite a few “wow’s” to be heard from my son as we arrived.
I usually do a lot of research prior to visiting a place such as this so I know what to expect and what to bring. I spoke to friends who had visited before and looked over the Kennedy Space Center website but I obviously missed a few things.
- I thought it was more a museum style place and didn’t realize how much time we would be outside exploring. Bring water, wear your sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. I was not prepared enough for this but luckily, I was able to purchase these items in the gift shop.
- For some reason, I wasn’t convinced you could spend a WHOLE day at Kennedy Space Center. Let me tell you, there is so much to see and do, you can and we did.
- Part of the reason the you can spend the entire day is in addition the main complex, there is the Kennedy Space Center bus tour that is included in your admission and takes about 2 hours.
- If you are travelling from Orlando/Kissimeee, it takes a good hour to get there so take that into account when planning your day. Those 2 extra hours make a big difference, especially if you have little ones.
Regardless of these few things, we had such an amazing experience at the Kennedy Space Center and learned so much about the history of the space program. Everything was presented in such a way that it was enjoyable for all ages.
I think my favorite part of the entire complex was the Heroes and Legends Center. This was more the “museum” part that I was expecting and it also included a 4-D presentation and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. The presentations were really interesting and both my son and I learned so much.
The Astronaut Hall of Fame was very eye opening, I know that NASA has been sending missions into space since way before I was even born but I never really thought about all the astronauts that worked these missions.
Realistically, I could go on and on about our day, but aside from the few items above that I wish I had known, I was glad I didn’t know everything about what I could expect when we got there as it made the day that much more exciting and memorable.
When planning your next trip to the Orlando area, I would definitely dedicate a full day to exploring all things space related at the Kennedy Space Center.
Disclosure: Although tickets generously provided to us by the Kennedy Space Center, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.