Hello, there! Since I’m slowly coming out of my post-vacation/post-sickness fog, I thought it was time to start to recap some of our trip! In an effort to not just redo the same vacation that we took last year, Ryan and I agreed that we would spend a day at Kennedy Space Center. It’s an easy hour drive from Orlando, so it was the perfect day trip!
Ryan thought he was really cool with his NASA shirt, ha!
I struggled a little to write this post because I learned so much during our visit to Kennedy Space Center. It’s hard to put into words! Neither Ryan or I had visited Kennedy Space Center since we were kids, so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. You just can’t fully grasp or understand the magnitude of the space program until you make a visit. My head was somewhere else most of the day because I was feeling insignificant. Standing next to some of these shuttles and rockets and thinking about where they go, what they do and the people that they (sometimes) carry is a humbling experience. It also made me sad that John F. Kennedy created the dream of landing on the moon, and he never lived to see it happen.
We arrived bright and early shortly after the center opened for the day. It’s a good thing we did! There is so much to do and see that this easily is a half-day to full-day trip. Lucky for us, the weather was beautiful and the crowds were minimal.
Fun fact: did you know that the Kennedy Space Center countdown clock is one of the most-viewed timekeepers in the world, second only to London’s Big Ben? That’s just one of the several things that I learned during this trip!
We decided to head straight to the bus tour of the NASA grounds and Apollo Center. If you’re planning a visit, I recommend that you do this first thing! Buses run around every 15 minutes, but the lines can get very long. Plus, this whole tour takes around two hours so you want to plan accordingly.
The drive around the NASA grounds was so interesting. You can’t even fathom how large the launch pads are! And, to think about the history and events that occurred here is mind blowing. I didn’t get any pictures from the bus because I was too busy looking at everything!
A tour of the Apollo Center is the last stop of the bus tour. From here, we were able to wander and explore for ourselves. I was eager to see or read about anything related to Apollo 13 for obvious reasons (hello, Tom Hanks movie circa 1995). It also was neat to see the spacesuits up close – one is still covered in moon dust. We even touched a piece of the moon! Spoiler alert – it just feels like a smooth rock. 😉
Another fun fact: Snoopy is the NASA mascot for space safety. How stinkin’ cute is he as an astronaut?
Once we got back to Kennedy Space Center, we wandered a bit and made sure to pay our respects at the memorial.
Then, it was time to head into the relatively new Atlantis space shuttle exhibit. The whole trip is worth it for this exhibit alone! We were in there for a little more than an hour, but you easily could spend two or more.
I actually was lucky enough to see Atlantis launch back in 2009, so I couldn’t believe that I now got to see the actual space shuttle! Pictures don’t do it justice – it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.
It’s hard to explain the amount of detail that Kennedy Space Center provides in this exhibit. It walks you through almost everything whether it be technical, what the astronauts experience and so on. One of my favorite areas of the exhibit was different setups of how the astronauts sleep, prepare their food, and go to the bathroom (hey, it’s actually fascinating and requires a lot of training/practice!). Again, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures because I was trying to absorb the ridiculous amount of information in front of me.
Ryan and I also tried our hand at some space shuttle simulators. All I can say is that I was not cut out to pilot a space shuttle landing!
I fully admit that going into this part of our vacation, I wasn’t overly excited. But, I was won over by the time we left! It’s a fascinating experience, and it’s incredible what all these people do and accomplish.
If you’re visiting Florida and within an okay driving distance from the coast, I highly recommend a trip to Kennedy Space Center. You will learn so much, and it’s not something you’ll soon forget!