If you??ª?re bringing your family to Orlando you will no doubt visit Disney World and the other theme parks in the area, but why limit yourself to theme parks, when you can also visit the fascinating and educative Kennedy Space Center located at historic Cape Canaveral? Here is a brief guide to some of the attractions currently on offer at the Kennedy Space Center.
Meet an Astronaut
The center has arranged for various astronauts to meet visitors and talk about their missions in space. Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programs are scheduled to take part throughout the year.
Simulated Shuttle Launch
If you want to get an idea of what an astronaut feels during liftoff, then the Space Center??ª?s launch simulator is the best way to do it. The room vibrates and roars and when the engines shutdown participants get to view the earth, as astronauts see it when they reach their orbit.
Early Space History
This is a walk through exhibit showing the background of today??ª?s space program. One of the highlights is the actual control panel which was used to guide the astronauts of the Mercury and Gemini space programs. Mercury and Gemini capsules are also on display.
Viking Mars Mission
In 1976 a U.S. unmanned craft landed on Mars and took the first pictures of the red planet??ª?s surface. This exhibit takes you on that journey and visitors also can see and touch a piece of Mars as well (in the form of meteorite that fell to earth many years ago).
IMAX 3D Theater
With the help of giant screens, five stories high, you are taken on an awesome journey into space. The films contain dramatic footage taken by astronauts during their space missions and you get a feeling that you are right there with them.
Saturn 5 Center
The Saturn 5 was the huge rocket that took astronauts to the moon and back in the early 1970s. Featuring an actual 363-foot, 6.2 million pound Saturn V moon rocket, this exhibit takes you on a trip to the moon with a recreation of the first Apollo mission to the moon. There is also a hands-on exhibit.
LC 39 Observation Gantry
This is a 60 foot tower which will give you a great view of the space shuttle launch pads. There is also an on-the-ground exhibition which includes films of the Shuttle program, showing the actual process used to launch a Shuttle into space.
Space Center Guided Tour
This is a bus ride all around the Kennedy Space Center. It stops at the important places and the bus tours depart each day (except Christmas Day and certain launch days) beginning at 9:30 a.m., and leave continuously throughout the day, with the last bus leaving approximately four hours before closing.
The Space Shop
Are you fascinated by space memorabilia? Then this is the place for you. The Center??ª?s gift shop has more than 8,000 space-related items that make perfect souvenirs or additions to your serious space collection.
This is only just a small part of what you can see at the Kennedy Space Center, so if you want to treat your kids to an out of this world experience be sure to add it to your list of ??ª?must-see??ª? places when you make your next Florida Vacation.