~I received tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions and stories are my own.~
I have always had a deep love and fascination with anything involving space. Growing up I especially loved reading books about space and watching movies and television shows about space. There is just something so magical about how large it is and how little we know about it. I am hoping to teach my girls to have a love for space as well and there is no better place to go than the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex right here in Central Florida. When it comes to space travel and basically anything involving space they are the experts and this place is an all day adventure for the whole family.
It is only about a 45 minute drive from the Orlando International Airport towards the space coast. The whole complex is pretty big and you will be doing plenty of walking between building so wear comfy shoes and use lots of sunscreen because the heat here in Florida is intense.
Upon arrival I was already getting into the space kind of mind set. The giant NASA ball is right out front of the ticket counter and as soon as you enter the complex you are greeted by giant rockets. Now when it comes to actual space knowledge my information is limited, my husband knows more of the hard facts than I do. That didn’t matter though because there is plenty of information to be found about all the exhibits throughout the whole place.
In the Rocket Garden you can see examples of the rockets that put men into space including a massive Saturn V. It is hard to really appreciate both how huge it is and how small the crew compartments were unless you can see them in person.
There are originals as well as replicas of many different rockets and space capsules and you can sit down inside a bunch of them right outside. Of course they are the replicas and do not have any of the equipment inside them but I could not fathom sitting in such a tight space for days at a time.
There is even a massive children’s play dome with tons of fun things to play on. It is space themed and therefore the coolest play area ever.
There is the ever popular Angry Birds Encounter with games, mazes and even a laser challenge that made my daughter want to be a spy. She didn’t even touch one laser beam while going over and under them Mission Impossible style.
The biggest and most amazing part of our day was the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit. You enter the big building thru the boosters and external tank of a shuttle and ascend a series of ramps. From there you watch a brief video on the history of the shuttle program and its development. The video really highlights the personal commitment of the NASA employees who worked on the program. It gives you a better understand of what all it took to get the shuttle into space. A second video truly shows you how amazing space is with a 360 degree visual display all around you, as if you too are floating in space. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you but it was one of the best displays I have ever seen in a museum and really brings the shuttle to life. You are then welcomed into the room that houses the magnificent Atlantis. It may appear small in my photos but I promise you it is huge.
You then head downwards passing several displays that teach you everything from how astronauts went to the bathroom to actually climbing in some tubing and walkways to see how tight it was to have to move around in the Space Station.
Between one set of levels is the biggest slide I have ever seen. It teaches you about how the shuttle ended it’s missions by flying back to earth. It is very fast! You might be thinking, I want to go on that too! You are welcome to as many adults including myself went down the slide. Take the stairwell behind it to go back up and slide down again and again!
This is super important if you are taking small children with you…there is a splash pad….I repeat there is a splash pad. It was so incredibly hot and had I known I definitely would have brought swimsuits for my girls so they could splash around and get cool. There is a sign saying no diapers so make sure to pack a swim diaper for when they are playing in this.
Everything I went to was included in my ticket. There is also a tour where you get on a bus that takes you to the launch pads and the Saturn V center but my 2 are still a little young for such a tour. You can do other add-ons for an additional price including lunch with an astronaut and a more up close and personal tour of the firing room with a guide which I hope to do with my girls one day. There are so many more exhibits and presentations that we saw but I tried to stick to the highlights. I do suggest getting Space Dots or you might know them better as dippin’ dots. No space adventure can be done without this tasty treat.
They sell plenty of awesome space merchandise so that your little one can take home a reminder of the great time they had there. The costumes would be great for play dress up or Halloween!
After we left the visitor complex, right down the road is the Astronaut Hall of Fame which is included with your ticket. It is worth a stop for sure so that you can learn about the brave men and women that have made a contribution to science involving space. There are displays on every stage of America’s exploration of space. It also features interactive displays that kids can enjoy it too.
By visiting the Kennedy Space Center it gives me a whole new appreciation for all the people that spent countless hours working on the technology to make space travel possible. The place is especially kid friendly with so many hands on exhibits to give kids a little more information about space while also having fun. All the staff we talked to were extremely knowledgeable and they seemed to really love their jobs. My family had a fantastic time!