Being a native Floridian, it is so bizarre that in my 30+ years I have never visited the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. I am not entirely sure why we never visited, not even as a kid on a field trip. Lucky for me, I gave birth to a little boy who loves all things transportation – planes, trains, automobiles and well… space shuttles!
In preparation for our trip, I downloaded the official NASA, KSC app. I was able to plan out our day and read all about the attractions that we might want to visit and see. We arrived right at 9am when the park opened, we wanted to be sure to beat the crowd.
It was most important to me that we see the space shuttle Atlantis, so we headed there first. The space shuttle is HUGE! It had to be at least the size of a three story building (or bigger). It was surreal to look at a shuttle that had been to outer space and back; and there it was right in front of our eyes in real-life. It is so close, you can almost touch it.
Another area within the Atlantis building that was so touching to me, was the memorial for the Challenger and Columbia. I can remember watching the launch of the Challenger as a kid in school. It was such a traumatizing experience to see in real-time. Seeing a piece of the panel and being able to read about the brave men and women aboard that mission was very emotional. It was a very somber, yet proud feeling. I had a moment of silence for our fallen heroes. There is also a memorial wall for each astronaut, with personal items and photos.
On a lighter note, we had lunch with astronaut Sam Durrance. We didn’t know what to expect considering our kids are 5 and 3 years old. They were both SO into it! #nerdalert #proudmommoment My son asked Mr. Durrance if he had ever been to Mars, it was cute. Mr. Durrance was so polite in saying that he (my son) could be the first astronaut on Mars – his eyes lit up with excitement and optimism. I think as a parent, it is our job to nourish and develop the curiosity in our children; allow them to dream big and know that anything they can imagine is indeed possible.
KSC had so much to spark wonder and our inner child curiosity. There is a Rocket Garden with massive sized rockets, a Journey to Mars and also one of our other favorites was the bus tour to the restricted areas. We were able to see launch pads 39 and 40 and see the huge building that houses the rockets. That is the closest we could get to the launch pads. Watching it on television just doesn’t do any justice to showing the enormous size. The bus tour also takes us to the moon area where you actually get to touch a piece of the moon!
We really enjoyed our time at KSC and would recommend it to all ages. If planned out correctly, you can complete the entire complex in a day. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to have lunch with an astronaut; the prices are affordable… and honestly, when else will you be able to meet and hang out with a real astronaut?!
Have you ever been to KSC? If so, what was your favorite attraction? Sound off in the comments!