I fell in love with the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, when I was a little girl. I’m pretty sure it was the freeze dried astronaut ice cream that did it, but it also might have been the impressive nature of the great American dream of travelling to the moon. Space is indeed the final frontier and as dream like and unobtainable to the average person as deep ocean diving or flying. And yet, at the Kennedy Space Center you get to feel like you are actually an astronaut and could ride a space shuttle to the moon.
The Kennedy Space Center has some exciting attractions including the Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Astronaut Training Experience and the most exciting of all to me: the Space Shuttle Atlantis building which includes the Shuttle Launch Experience ride. I highly recommend giving yourself an entire day to see and do everything at the Kennedy Space Center!
When you first enter the Kennedy Space Center you walk through the Rocket Garden. It’s an impressive introduction to how massive these rockets and space shuttles really are. Seeing them on tv just doesn’t do them justice.
From the Rocket Garden you can learn about NASA’s early space programs at the Heroes & Legends museum, learn about the race to the moon at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, take in an IMAX Movie and learn about the future of the space program and the journey to Mars and of course you cannot miss the newest attraction: The Space Shuttle Atlantis.
The first thing you see when you enter the Space Shuttle Atlantis building is a movie about the shuttle, how it was used in space and the international space station. But it’s not just any movie. It is shown on numerous screens which cover the front of the room and rotate up and over you on the roof. So you feel like you’re inside the shuttle and international space station. At the very moving end of the movie the screen becomes see through and the actual space shuttle appears right in front of your eyes. It’s an incredible experience. Then the screen rises and you walk into a huge building with the Space Shuttle Atlantis hanging in the centre of a three story high opening.
It’s incredible impressive. There are so many interactive elements inside the Atlantis Exhibit. You can go inside the cockpit of a space shuttle and test out all the buttons that make it work:
Or ride down a slide made to mimic the speed of re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere:
And the Shuttle Launch Experience was the best part of our whole visit! It is a ride where you get strapped into a simulator that rotates 90 degrees up and simulates the eight and a half minute launch into orbit. It’s incredible! My cheeks shook while we went through the first stages of the launch and then when we left earth’s atmosphere it felt like we were floating in zero gravity.
And just in case you’re wondering…yes, they do still have Astronaut Ice Cream!
Disclosure: I was given two media passes to the Kennedy Space Center, but they did not ask me to write this review and all opinions in it are my own.