When I heard that the commander of the Apollo Space mission and the first man to walk on the moon, had passed away, it made me recall an incredible visit I took to The Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, FL recently. Armstrong was just one of the many brave men and women who journeyed into space from the Kennedy Space Center and you can get a wonderful taste of it all by visiting the exciting and educational KSC Visitors’ Complex.
Let me just say up front that the admission price is not cheap, and then I'll tell you why it's so worth it. The entry fee is $50 and, yes, I know that can run into some real cash, especially for a family of 4 or more, but you get a lot for it .The KSC is not a replica of a space station but a working space launch facility. You will most likely see actual NASA astronauts walking around the facility. While they have many great visitor attractions, it also adds to the excitement to know that this is where the real action happens.
These are just a few of the attractions included in the admission price:
- The IMAX® space films – featuring amazing footage shot by NASA astronauts during actual missions, this complete sensory experience will make you feel like you are floating along with them.
- Shuttle Launch Experience – Do NOT miss this one ! It is very cool! Enter a six-story simulator that looks like the actual shuttle and strap into your seat for an incredible experience that immerses you in the sights, sounds and sensations of launching into Earth’s orbit and will make you swear you really took off.
- Rocket Garden – walk through this outdoor display of 6 real rockets; go aboard the Titan and Apollo rockets that first put NASA astronauts into space
- Several tours are available – Walk along the Transfer Aisle, an area used to move parts of the rockets among the building's four High Bays, visit the NASA Causeway, the A/B Camera Stop and the amazing Apollo/Saturn V Center. For me, the highlight of the trip was the Launch Control Center, where hundreds of NASA engineers and technicians, and directors monitored all of the 152 launches, including the space shuttle and Apollo programs. To be able to be right there, where it all happened, is truly awe-inspiring; an experience not to be missed!
The admission price also includes a second day free for use at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame if used within seven days to allow guests to get the full experience.
If you find you still haven't had enough outer space immersion, there are additional add-ons for extra cost. For $25 more, you can get the KSC Up-Close Tour, and although it’s a bit pricey, I would highly recommend it. For the first time in 30 years, the Kennedy Space Center is allowing visitors to go inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where those amazing ships were assembled for launch. The VAB, which also happens to be the tallest one story building in the world, is a must see.
For more information, check out their website. It is very informative and packed with all of the information you’ll need.