Exploring The Gateway To Space At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Last Updated on May 14, 2021

Why Visit The Kennedy Space Center?

Space has fascinated me since I was a kid. I love space and science because it is limitless. Against all the odds, dozens of people have climbed into ridiculously tiny and fragile rockets and blasted off into new and ever further reaching areas of space. How mind-blowing is the thought of doing that? When I think of space, I also think of the unknown. My mind starts to think about what could be beyond just our solar system. Beyond our galaxy. So, it was fantastic being able to explore the gateway to space at  NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Almost all of the launches were done here, either directly in the Kennedy Space Center or on the neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Here’s our highlights and tips from our visit to the Kennedy Space Center:

Family photo at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Quote at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Mission Zones

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is separated into Mission Zones —- grouped attractions and experiences reflecting specific periods of time and achievements. It helps provide a much clearer vision of its history over time.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

The Smallest Details

Space really is the limit for all your questions. There was no shying away from even the awkward questions that you have wondered about, such as how an astronaut would use the washroom. It was interesting to learn — and giggle about.

How do astronauts use a washroom?

Kennedy Space Center Bus Tours

You can go behind the gates and view the historic launch sights and working spaceflight facilities by taking a bus tour.  Catch some views of the legendary launch pads and up to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Learn all there is to know about the birthplace of American spaceflight.

Astronaut suit at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

The Atlantis Exhibit

We were most excited to see the Atlantis exhibit, so that is where we headed first. Through a couple of short films, you are told the story of NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program, before the last set of doors open to reveal the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Video at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Hanging in mid-air, the cargo bay is open for viewing and our minds were blown as we examined the size and possibilities that the space shuttle gave us. You can also walk around and try out many interactive exhibits and high-tech simulators within the exhibit room. The Atlantis is also one of only three remaining space-flown orbiters in the world.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Children at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Suitable Visiting Age

There were a few great play areas for the kids that really helped to keep them busy, but I would suggest that it may be best if kids are 7+. I’m still glad that we went, but we really had to take turns doing some of the exhibits as the other parent let the kids play and go wild. This made completing what we wanted to see take twice as long, but that is the reality of traveling with young kids. I would still choose to go over not, but beware that things will take longer.

I loved the day spent at the Kennedy Space Center, but I still want to know more, so we will definitely have to return when the kids are older.

Heroes & Legends

This is where you’ll learn about the thrills and dangers of the earliest space missions. You will learn about the heroes of space before you see who they are by visiting the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, a place to honor and remember the lives of astronauts.

IMAX Theater

The Kennedy Space Center had some great productions for us to watch during our visit. You’ll have two shows to choose from daily. The shows will really make you excited about the possibilities in space. Grab some popcorn from the concession and enjoy the show.

Family photo with an astronaut at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

A Hands-On Experience

The Kennedy Space Center is very interactive. Through hands-on exhibits and high-tech simulators, you will get a good understanding of space and the possibilities that are out there waiting to be discovered.

Little girl exploring at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Little girl exploring at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Play area at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Admission Prices

Single Day admission is $57 for those aged 12+ and $47 for children age 3-11. We suggest getting a multi-day admission and spend two days exploring the Kennedy Space Center.

There are some great add-ons a well. The Kennedy Space Center also offers guided tours ($20/person). If you have ever wondered what it is really like to train to be an astronaut, the Astronaut Training Experience ($175US) is sure to interest you.

Rocket Garden Tour

Another tour option is to learn about rocket science at the Rocket Garden. The garden features the Mercury-Redstone 3. It feels so surreal to walk among the magnificent rockets! Tours run daily.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Mars Rover

Since the 1970s, scientists have been sending spacecraft to Mars. Many different kinds have been sent to the Red Planet, all with different specialties. Rovers have wheels and specialize in moving around. They land on the surface of Mars and drive around to different spots, studying the different chemicals. These chemicals can tell scientists about the environments and changes can be tracked over time.

During our visit, there was a really awesome futuristic Mars rover concept. The vehicle was a great way to start the discussion of the history and future of space exploration and Mars missions.

The Mars Rover pictured below would surely be different from the Lunar Roving Vehicles that were used during Apollos 15, 16, and 17 in 1971 and 1972.  the LRV’s were 10 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 3.75 feet tall, with a weight of 463 lbs. The futuristic rover concept is 28 feet long, 14 feet wide, 11 feet tall and weights around 5,000 pounds; it would be like sending a pickup truck to Mars!

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center

So Much More To Learn

It is fascinating that we know SO MUCH, but at the same time… know SO LITTLE about space. Take a day out to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and you’ll likely leave with more questions than you came in with and will want to go back again.

 

Located a short 45-minute drive from Orlando, make sure you arrive early for this full-day experience!

 

 

What fascinates you about space? If you have been to the Kennedy Space Center, how was your experience?

 

Last updated February 2021