I Can’t Believe I Almost Missed That!: On nearly skipping the Kennedy Space Center and why you shouldn’t

(c) ABR 2017

This December I took an epic road trip through Florida, during which I drove from Jacksonville, all the way down to Key West, and then back. I was focused on seeing the state’s national parks (and I saw all but two!), so the Kennedy Space Center was originally an extra attraction that I slapped into my itinerary at the end of one particularly long day of sightseeing.

When I found myself sitting on the beach in the Cape Canaveral National Seashore after waking up early, visiting two different forts maintained by the National Park Service, and walking around in the historic city of St. Augustine, I realized that I wouldn’t make it to the Space Center in time to see it. It didn’t help that tickets were $50 and parking was $10- if I’m paying $60, I’m going to take my sweet time. So, I gave up on the idea, feeling disappointed that I hadn’t managed to get it into my packed schedule.

(c) ABR 2017

At that point, I figured that I simply wouldn’t visit, and I didn’t think about it again until I was staying in a hotel outside of Orlando. I was planning on spending my last day in one of the Disney parks, but it ended up making me feel too sad, since it is a family tradition to visit Disney together. Dismayed that I was feeling unenthusiastic about one of my favorite places, I eventually came to the conclusion that I should spend the day at the Kennedy Center instead. It is unique to Florida, and I wouldn’t feel too guilty about visiting without my folks.

In retrospect, I am so grateful that I made this decision. I would not have known what I was missing, but it would have been very unfortunate to not visit here. When I first got into the park, I wasn’t sure how things worked, but it turns out that there are two main things to do on an average day here, take the bus tour, and explore the visitor’s center.

(c) ABR 2017

The bus tour takes you to see launch pads, the massive building where shuttles used to be built, and a museum that houses an Apollo ship as well as some very amazing relics. I have to say, this little tour was very emotional for me; getting to see so many places that I had seen in movies and read about in American history was amazing. There is also a recreated space ship launch experience, in which you get to sit in the old launch control room.

(c) ABR 2017

Once you get back to the main park, things are a bit more immersive, but no less amazing. The shuttle experience is extremely well done, from the movie covering the story of the shuttle program’s creation, to the reveal of the Atlantic, and the shuttle experience ride. Seeing the Atlantis may be one of my favorite memories from Florida; it is such a marvel of human ingenuity and imagination.

I would highly suggest visiting the Kennedy Space Center, whether you love history, space, or just a great time. It isn’t to be missed and it is nowhere else in the world.

(c) ABR 2017


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  1. Amy M

    Looks amazing! The fact that we are able to travel to space still blows my mind. Technology has progressed so far. Astro Tim Peake is an awesome person to follow on Twitter – he posted some beautiful photos when he was up there!

  2. Ro

    so cool you got to see this in person. ever since i was a kid, its been a dream of mine. total science geek here 🙂

  3. Loved Kennedy Space Center! I went there on a 2nd grade field trip & it was sooo boring. Now it’s wow- I took the kids there last year and had such a great time! They’ve come a long way!

  4. That looks fascinating! I used to be a planetary scientist so I have a soft spot for KSC, plus now I have a space-obsessed 5yo. We’ll definitely add this to our east coast travel list.

  5. Ava

    My dad worked in aerospace and worked on building the fuel tank for one of the space shuttles. I would love to visit here!

  6. It looks so cool and fascinating!

  7. Amber

    We want to do this the next time we’re in Florida! It looks so awesome. I know I’d love it.

  8. I plan to visit someday! I love the pictures you took.

  9. caseyp1110

    Glad you didn’t miss it either! What an awesome experience!

  10. I visited there when I was a kid and we loved it. My four year old is super interested in Space and planets, I can’t wait to take her there when we get down to Florida!!

  11. chavamazal

    I remember wanting to go badly as a kid. Looks fun!

  12. I loved the Kennedy Space Centre! It is such a thrill to see the rockets and it is great for kids.

  13. I lived in FL for over 30 years and never made it. But I didn’t make the same mistake when I moved to TX already hit the space enter here. Our kids had a blast. I need to go to Kennedy the next time I visit my dad in FL

    • I missed that when I visited Texas, but it sounds super cool. I am sure you will love the Kennedy Space Center when you finally make it back. 😀

  14. Ahhh this looks like such a great activity to do, especially with your family. Next time I visit Florida, I need to try this out!

  15. Wow your post is one of the unique travel stories i’ve read recently. Visiting a space center? OMG this is a dream come true for me.

  16. I can sometimes let the cost of things stop me from seeing them. This sounds amazing and like something I would have to budget in.

  17. I was lucky enough to live in Florida for a few months when I was little and the space centre was my absolute favourite! So glad you enjoyed it too 🙂

  18. I completely fangirled out just reading this XD I am a complete nerd and I am so glad (and jealous!) that you included this place on your trip 😀

  19. Very interesting blog post. I haven’t seen much of the US yet and never considered a visit there. But Florida is on my list and I will extend the list for Florida now.

  20. Wow this looks like something our 5-year old would enjoy so much! He´s currently totally into rockets 😉 Will definitely visit when we visit Florida!

  21. 😱😱😱 This is definitely going on our itinerary for FL! I know we would enjoy this so much!

  22. travelerettenyc

    The Kennedy Space Center really does look amazing. The Space Race is such a fascinating part of history. I hope to go to Florida some day and see it for myself!

  23. Wow this place looks like a great place to take the family to and visit! I’m a huge fan of the space exploration so this would not be removed from my bucket list if I were in the area!

  24. Roads and Pages

    Wow! The Kenny Space Center is really a must visit most especially for those Science Fanatics. I would love to see it in real as well.

  25. I think it must be awesome to visit this place! It’s such an unique destination you probably won’t see twice in your life. I think I would feel so small seeing all those shuttles and launch pads. Incredible what people can create actually.

  26. I love the kennedy space center!! Definitely a great place to go!

  27. I never like ruling out any place that comes on my list. It’s a good thing that you ended up going there. It looks amazing from your pics.

  28. I’ve never been to the Kennedy Space Center, but always thought it would be such a cool experience!

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