One of our Florida road trip’s main objectives, aka staycation, was to visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. It had been more than a decade since we had visited.
We did our research and saw that not only were we able to spend a fair bit of time exploring outside, but they also required masks of all visitors. We really like seeing their Trusted Space safety protocols.
Two For One
Another massive plus for us was the special pricing they are offering during their COVID reopening. For safety reasons, the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex’s bus tour, which includes visits to the Saturn and Apollo V Center, was discontinued.
So, for the regular admission price of $57.00 for adults (age 12+) and $47.00 for Children (age 3-11), we got their “Explore More.” This allowed us to experience the main visitor complex and get a complimentary admission ticket valid beginning January 1, 2021.
Heroes and Legends
The first building we encountered was the Heroes and Legends building containing the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Starting from the relief mural on the outside of the building, this exhibit hall was pretty impressive. It brought to life the stories of the pioneers of NASA’s space program.
The presentation of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame was incredible. The hall of fame was created by the Mercury Seven astronauts, and inductees are selected by a special committee.
From the artifacts to the Gemini 9 capsule, the information and displays were really engaging.
Located just outside of the Heroes and Legends building is the Rocket Garden. Which is WAY more impressive than when we visited years ago. The beautifully landscaped outdoor space includes rockets from the Apollo, Mercury, and Gemini programs.
NASA Now + Next
This exhibit is immense. We started with the IMAX Theater – even though for safety reasons (handling of the 3D glasses) they were not offering the 3D show, it was pretty incredible.
It’s a journey through space with interviews, training, and mission footage. A good portion features astronaut Chris Ferguson, commander of the final shuttle mission.
This was great to see as Mark was the wedding planner for Chris’ niece’s wedding and got to spend some time with Chris and his family that evening.
The theater leads into an exhibit hall with scale models of the NASA Space Launch System, the SpaceX Dragon Cargo Vehicle, and a working prototype of the Moon Express Test Vehicle.
They did a great job keeping crowds to a minimum and social distancing inside the theater and exhibits.
Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other
This building is fantastic, from the towering rockets outside to the close up of the Atlantis. The gallery has a ton of interactive exhibits – some were touchless and still open to the public.
The giant Hubble Space Telescope was interesting to learn more about and see just how big it is.
Be sure to check out the Shuttle Launch Experience. Even though we’ve never been inside a space shuttle, but this is supposed to come pretty close to the experience.
And, be sure not to skip over the Forever Remembered memorial. This display of personal items honors the astronauts who lost their lives during the Challenger and Columbia missions.
With some of the exhibits closed, there was still plenty to do outdoors.
The Space Mirror Memorial is a national memorial honoring fallen astronauts and the educational murals are both beautiful and informational. There is also an interesting Step. Power. Launch an interactive walkway that generates energy from every step you take across the panels.
We also got to see a Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator, and our timing was great that we got a quick selfie with an astronaut making a spacewalk.
It was a great day, and the COVID-19 safety precautions they had in place made us very comfortable with our visit.
We can’t wait to go back to the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex and visit again with our second pass!