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Florida

Kennedy Space Center

Each year, more than 1.5 million guests from around the world experience their very own space adventure by exploring the exciting past, present and future of America ’s space program at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Built in 1967 as a means for NASA astronauts’ and employees’ families to view space center operations, today the Visitor Complex is one of Central Florida’s most popular tourist destinations.
Since 1995, when Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts, Inc. began managing the Visitor Complex, every aspect of this 70-acre facility has been entirely redeveloped and enhanced. From larger-than-life IMAX® films to live shows, hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes tours, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers guests an educational, entertaining and comprehensive space program experience.

Directions
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located 45 minutes east of Orlando on State Road 405, six miles inside the Kennedy Space Center entrance. From Orlando, take State Road 528 east and follow the signs to Kennedy Space Center. From Interstate 95, take exit 212 northbound or exit 215 southbound. From Merritt Island or Cocoa Beach, take State Road 3.

Operating Hours
Opens daily at 9:00 a.m. Closing times vary according to season. Open every day except December 25 and certain launch days. Guests should plan to spend the day for a complete experience.

Launch from Pad 17-B in Cape Canaveral
Launch from Pad 17-B in Cape Canaveral

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Experience a day of fun, a lifetime of inspiration at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Float beside space-walking astronauts during the new IMAX® film Hubble 3D.
Become part of the future of exciting possibilities at the new Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted exhibit and show.
Tour NASA’s spaceport facilities, launch into space on Shuttle Launch Experience, meet a real astronaut during daily Astronaut Encounters and walk among towering rockets.
Admission includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® featuring astronaut memorabilia, simulators and the new Science On a Sphere®.
The Visitor Complex is open daily except December 25 and certain launch days.
Admission: please see website of the Kennedy Space Center (link to be found further below).

Tours

KennedySpaceCenter Tour: A must-see experience, this tour takes guests on a narrated, video supplemented bus tour of Kennedy Space Center. The first stop on this go-at-your-own pace tour is the LC-39 Observation Gantry where guests enjoy a panoramic view of Kennedy Space Center and the Space Shuttle launch pads, as well as the rocket launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A short film and interactive displays demonstrate how the launch pad is constructed and how a Shuttle is launched. Buses then drive by the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the Space Shuttle is stacked for launch, and where the Apollo/Saturn V rockets were once assembled, as well as the Orbiter Processing Facility where the orbiter is examined and maintained after each mission.

The next stop is the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where dramatic multi-media shows and numerous hands-on displays provide visitors with an inspirational and exhilarating look into America’s quest for the moon. Guests relive the historic launch of Apollo 8 at the Firing Room Theater, then marvel at a monstrous 363-foot long Saturn V moon rocket, the most powerful rocket ever built, and one of only three Saturn V rockets in existence. Finally, the Lunar Theater provides a rare look at the harrowing final moments before man landed on the moon. The Apollo/Saturn V Center is also home to the Moon Rock Café, the only place in the world where guests can dine next to a genuine moon rock.

A separate bus takes guests to the International Space Station Center. Visitors view an informational briefing on the International Space Station and walk through full-scale mock-ups of space station modules. An elevated observation room overlooks the actual processing facility where visitors may witness actual components of the Space Station as they are checked out, processed and readied for their trip into orbit.

Exhibits

  • RocketGarden: The ever-popular Rocket Garden is a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex hallmark. The outdoor garden features eight authentic rockets from the past, including a Mercury-Atlas rocket similar to the one used to launch John Glenn into space in 1962. Elements include dramatic lighting, water features, “climb-in” Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsule replicas, seating and informative graphic elements.
  • ShuttlePlaza: “Explorer,” a full-size orbiter replica, allows guests to picture more clearly what it’s like to live and work in space. Full-size, genuine solid rocket boosters and an external tank are also on display, representing all three components of a Space Shuttle. The Launch Status Center features live briefings on space-related topics.
  • Early Space Exploration: Highlighting the Mercury and Gemini space programs, this facility features artifacts from the first manned space flights and houses the original Mercury mission control consoles. This exhibit is located adjacent to the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility, a state of the art meeting and event facility overlooking the Rocket Garden.
  • Nature and Technology: This exhibit showcases the unique balance between technology and nature at Kennedy Space Center, which shares a common boundary with the 140,000 acre Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Robot Scouts: This walk-through exhibit highlights NASA’s unsung heroes, the unmanned planetary robot probes that pave the way for human space flight. Through humor and creative story lines, this attraction provides an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
  • Astronaut Memorial: Dedicated in 1991, the Astronaut Memorial honors the 24 U.S. Astronauts who gave their lives for space exploration.
    The 42 ½ foot high by 50-foot wide “Space Mirror” brilliantly illuminates the names cut through the monument’s black granite surface.

Further information
For more information please see the official Website: www.kennedyspacecenter.com (you'll find a link further below under WebLinks).



 
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GPS Coordinates

1 -- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center
Decimal Lat: 28.52624239 / Lon: -80.6792713
Degree

 
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Document Information
Source: Kennedy Space Center; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20100709
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