Disclosure: I took part in an all-expense paid (excluding travel) media retreat on Florida’s Space Coast. All opinions are completely my own.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
During my recent trip to Tuckaway Shores and the Space Coast, I visited the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This was my first visit to KSC, even though I’ve lived in Central Florida my entire life. How I’ve never visited before is beyond me, but I’ll definitely be taking my family back on my next trip.
From the Rocket Garden to the actual Space Shuttle Atlantis, from Lunch with an Astronaut to our guided tour the entire experience was emotional. Watching the shuttle launches from my front yard throughout the years and watching the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 from the steps of my grade school are moments that have stuck with me all these years. It’s amazing to see Space Shuttle Atlantis was absolutely incredible. After watching a film about the evolution of Space Exploration, the side wall opens up to reveal Atlantis right in front of you. Absolutely breathtaking and I may have teared up a bit. Looking at the photos, even now, I’m reminded of that feeling.
We had a guided tour of the Visitor Complex and attended a Lunch with Astronaut John-David Bartoe.
Karen took us through the History of Space Exploration and we got to see featured artifacts from the first manned spaceflights and the original Mercury mission control consoles. It really is incredible to watch how space exploration has changed over the years and to see how far we’ve come. We experienced the Shuttle Launch Experience (absolutely a must-do!) and visited the Rocket Garden. I could have spent many more hours exploring the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and I can’t wait to take my kids. They love learning about space exploration and they loved seeing all my pictures.
The Rocket Garden
The actual rockets from Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
The Moon Tree
This tree was planted using seedlings that had traveled to the moon with Astronaut Stuart Roosa during the Apollo 14 mission. You can read more about the Moon Tree and the mission here. It is a beautiful tree that has an amazing story.
Entrance to Space Shuttle Atlantis Experience
Stand nose-to-nose with Space Shuttle Atlantis and become immersed in true-to-life spaceflight. Celebrate the people and accomplishments of America’s incredible 30-year shuttle program.
Lunch with an Astronaut
I love hearing from Astronaut John-David Bartoe because he was actually on a 1985 Challenger mission, the year before the tragic Challenger mission.
There were about 100+ people attending the Lunch with an Astronaut with us and it still seemed like an intimate crowd. I had time to eat my buffet lunch and then John David-Bartoe walked into the center of the room and introduced himself, told a little of his story and then asked for questions from the audience. He answered questions for about an hour, mostly from the elementary and middle school students in the audience. Those kids really knew the questions to ask…first question “how do you use the bathroom in space?” you know kids have no filter and aren’t afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions. 😉
When my kids get a little older, I’d like to take them to Lunch with an Astronaut because I think they’d both enjoy learning more about space exploration from an astronaut.
I’m going to leave you with one more picture of Space Shuttle Atlantis because it still makes me tear up every time I look at it. What a magnificent experience.
For more information about Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex visit their website.