As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
It’s Tuesday and time for another one of my Trip Reports on “the other Orlando” If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can find them here:
- our experience with Busch Gardens Tampa
- our thoughts on Legoland Florida
- the girls’ visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Now it’s time to share our visit to Kennedy Space Center. Originally, when I was making plans for our week in the Orlando area, I built two “free” days into our schedule, thinking that we’d use them to rest and relax or go to Downtown Disney. However, thanks to my affiliation with the Chick-fil-A Moms Panel, I was fortunate enough to participate in a private online chat with Astronaut Jon McBride. As a result of that chat, I was one of the lucky winners who received a Family 4-pack of tickets to visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, take a behind-the-scenes tour, and eat lunch with an astronaut. Needless to say, this was way more important than resting, so we planned it all for Tuesday, March 3rd.
A Bit About Our Day
We arrived at the Visitor Complex and got a great parking place. We had to check in at the ticket center to swap our voucher for real tickets (simple process). After a little bit of “fun” getting through the turnstiles (Brian accidentally dropped/misplaced his ticket – fortunately, a kind worker found it and returned it to us – he must have noticed that we looked frustrated!), we were inside the complex and ready to go!
Right away, we all commented how neat and tidy the area was. As in “clean enough to eat off the sidewalk” neat and tidy. First impressions are always important, and we were all impressed! One of the first things you see upon entering is the “Rocket Garden”; you can do a tour of this area, but we didn’t have time for that (this time). We walked by during several tours, though, and it sounded interesting.
We wandered around for a little bit, trying to get our bearings and see where everything was. We took a trip through The Space Shop (a great gift shop with about everything you could possibly want for your souvenir collection). Outside, an employee approached to tell us about a special event that was taking place that day, so we decided to check that out. What an interesting presentation. Just listening to that astronaut talking about their findings in space was amazing. You can feel the excitement!
Next we went to check out the Atlantis Exhibits. Seeing the Atlantis up close and personal made it so real. It was amazing to see just how large it was and how it was constructed, along with all the many years of research and trial and error that went into its creation. We also participated in the Space Shuttle Launch Experience (which is comparative to a Mission:SPACE/Star Tours type of virtual experience). It was a lot of fun!
Next, it was time for our lunch. After Ian got over the initial disappoint that we wouldn’t be dining with Jon McBride, he got really excited for this part of our day! And, as it turned out. Astronaut Ed Gibson was also very knowledgeable and entertaining! First, we were seated at a round table in a small banquet room (I believe there were 9 or 12 tables) – we were seated with other guests. We were invited to help ourselves to the buffet which was well stocked with lots of delicious foods (and pizza for the picky eaters!) The dessert table was also quite full of goodies! Tea, coffee, and sodas were also provided. The servers were very kind and helpful. After we had eaten, Mr. Gibson was introduced. He talked to us awhile, sharing some of his experiences in space (along with some slides that were showing on a large screen at the front of the room). Then, he answered lots of questions from the audience. Ian asked him if floating in space felt anything like swimming ; he said the experience is similar, yet different! Afterwards, each family was invited to greet Mr. Gibson and have our picture taken with him. All-in-all, it was a “5 Thumbs Up” experience that we would all recommend!
After lunch, it was time for our Up-Close Tour. We were boarded onto a bus with a tour guide and were taken to various parts of the Kennedy Space Center to see the rocket launch locations as well as the building where the rockets are built. Our tour guide was somewhat hard to understand (he had a Southern accent and talked really fast); so we didn’t pick up on much that he was saying; but the sites themselves were interesting to see.
After the tour, we had to ride another bus back to the Visitor Center. We grabbed a few souvenirs in the gift shop and headed back to our car.
What We Liked
While I would say that the Lunch with as Astronaut was our favorite part of the day, we really enjoyed our visit to Kennedy Space Center.
We were impressed with the cleanliness of the complex.
All of the employees that we had contact with her very kind and helpful.
What We Didn’t Like
The only thing we were a little disappointed with was our tour guide. We just couldn’t understand what he was saying. He seemed very nice and knowledgeable though.
Will We Visit Again?
Absolutely! Our tickets actually included admission to the Astronaut Hall of Fame, which we didn’t have time for. There are other things that we didn’t get to do either – such as a IMAX Theater – so I can definitely see a future visit in our plans.