Things to do in Orlando with a family: Kennedy Space Centre
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.
There is something about space travel which I find completely fascinating. I still can’t really process how the whole thing is really possible and I just find everything about it impressive and inspiring.
This summer we visited Kennedy Space Centre as a family. I think it’s fair to say we were all really excited. It’s certainly one of those places that makes you open you mouth a little wider as you stand in awe of everything space travel.
“Whenever I gaze up at the moon, I feel like I’m on a time machine. I am back to that precious pinpoint of time, standing on the foreboding – yet beautiful – Sea of Tranquility. I could see our shining blue planet Earth poised in the darkness of space”.
There is tons to do at Kennedy Space Centre, you need to plan to spend a full day there checking everything out. It’s a really easy place to navigate your way around because it is organised into ‘Mission Zones’. Attractions and tours are grouped by chronological era, so you can plan your day according to your interest area.
Standard opening times are 9 am until 6 pm, but do check before you leave for your day out. Buying tickets in advance can save you a huge amount of time, so make sure you get organised in advance of your special day of space exploration.
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small”.
One of the things not to miss is the Bus Tour. Depending on what you choose to do this can take 1-3 hours, so make sure you plan for that in your day. We were so pleased we did this, there is so much to see and do and you really get a sense of that ‘behind the scenes’ type of tour.
If you want to get even more in-depth, you could go for the Special Interest Tour – this does have an additional charge though. The standard bus tour is included in your ticket price.
By refocusing our space program on Mars for America’s future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it’s time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moons and then on its surface.
We all learnt so much from our day at the space centre. It was fascinating to get so close to space shuttles and rockets, to see equipment and see and hear stories from space. It’s fair to say that some things can leave you choked, the stories of failed missions and space disasters, alongside amazing stories of exploration and space travel, it’s all captivating.
The lunar flights give you a correct perception of our existence. You look back at Earth from the moon, and you can put your thumb up to the window and hide the Earth behind your thumb. Everything you’ve ever known is behind your thumb, and that blue-and-white ball is orbiting a rather normal star, tucked away on the outer edge of a galaxy.
We found it to be a really family-friendly attraction, and there were loads of things to interest us all. The attraction is pitched on so many different levels, with things for everyone to enjoy. The children loved the simulators, the little boys weren’t big enough for the Shuttle Launch Experience, but they were able to do the Astronaut Training, which they did over and over.
When little ones need to burn off steam there is an outdoor but covered play area, but then more focused activities to channel their energy as well. It’s the diversity of the attraction that makes it a great places for families with children of all ages.
I could have gone on flying through space forever.
Apollo 8 and The Firing Room was something we all really enjoyed. This is only accessible via the bus tour. Relive the launch of the first crewed NASA mission to orbit the moon in 1968 aboard the massive Saturn V rocket at the Firing Room Theater. Experience the countdown for Apollo 8 facing the actual consoles used during the Apollo launches as you see and feel the powerful Saturn V moon rocket lift off from the launch pad and blast into space.
This is such an authentic experience – don’t miss it!
If you want to do something extra special on your visit you can always look into one of the added extras. We didn’t have time for anything else during our visit but the one that really appealed was the all-new Astronaut Training Experience®.
You get to train like the next generation of space explorers who will travel to Mars. You can practice your docking skills, navigate the unique Mars terrain and experience the sensation of performing a spacewalk in a microgravity environment. Using exciting and immersive simulation technology, you and your team work together to solve real-world problems using authentic NASA science.
Times: 5 hour program, beginning at 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM
Trainees: Individuals or groups, ages 10 and older. Trainees that are ages 10 – 17 will require a paying, participating adult.
Price: $175 (plus tax)
Taking part in this would leave little extra time for anything else, so make sure you factor that in when booking!
We loved Kennedy Space Centre even more than we had hoped to – here’s a little taster.