When my husband mentioned that he wanted to visit the Kennedy Space Center while we were in Orlando, Florida, I wasn’t expecting much. I’m not very interested ‘space stuff’ so I figured it would just be a nice treat for my husband and an educational experience for my daughter. Surprisingly, all three of us enjoyed our visit.
We began our day by taking the bus tour. Each viewing area was fairly far apart so we watched a brief video in between stops. It was a bit hard to get anything out of it with the tiny screen and inaudible sound so we just tried to enjoy the ride, which was actually pretty nice. At the first stop, we got a chance to see how the shuttles were transported (via Crawler) and a 360° view of the launch pads. The exhibition area was great with a motorized model of a shuttle launch.
We hopped back on the bus to head toward the next stop, the Apollo/Saturn V Center. This was our favorite in terms of exhibits, information gained, and, to top it off, it was fully air-conditioned – yay! Though we knew in theory that these shuttles and other space exploration equipment must be big, we had no idea just how huge they were until seeing them up-close. Here you could touch a moon rock, compare different variations of spacesuits, learn the history of how Snoopy became the NASA mascot, and much more.
By reading the stories and seeing actual items from the Apollo missions, our interest was intrigued. The reenactment of the Apollo 13 event from the control room was so exciting with real video footage and great light and sound effects. When we returned home from our Florida trip, we soon after rented Apollo 13 and watched it with keen interest. The first time I saw the movie it was boring but this time I could really imagine how dramatic the situation was.
After the bus tour was done, we decided to finish up by exploring the Visitor Complex. The Shuttle Launch Experience is the only ‘ride’ in the center but we found it to be kind of standard with just a bunch of loud noises and shaking. We may not be experts in what a real launch feels like but we enjoyed the space attraction at Epcot better. The Explorer shuttle was basically a walk-in, walk-out exhibit and not too interesting.
For those really wanting to get a full ‘space’ experience more was available from IMAX films to meeting veteran astronauts. As the sun began to set we were pooped and finished our visit at the Space Shop (souvenir store). We got a few interesting pictures of the grounds including the Rocket Garden (pictured below) and a glimpse of a wild gator before we started on our way back to the hotel. This was a great way to break up the Disney days and we had a great time.