Category Archives: Orlando

NASA – Kennedy Space Center – Florida

The wonder of exploring the universe and space flight is something that never fails to intrigue everyone. You can guarantee that no matter what age or gender this statement is true, and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is about the closest most of us can get to exploring space travel.

Museums, exhibits, tours and thrill rides are all part of a visit and you are even offered the chance to have lunch with an Astronaut.

The Main Visitor Complex:  This is where you will arrive, park up and purchase your tickets if you’ve not already got them. Upon entering the complex you will find various attractions including, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Rocket Garden which is a collection of past space rockets of all shapes and sizes, IMAX theater offering amazing 3D shows and Space Shuttle Atlantis the ride, a launch simulation which is a must do attraction. This main complex is also where you will be able to board a bus for your included tour which will take you out to see some amazing close up sights and a stop off at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Whilst at the main complex you will also be able to experience many dinning options and shop for souvenirs in the vast shop.

Apollo/Saturn V Building: Only accessible by taking the included tour, the building is really the main and largest exhibition of the whole complex and you should allow a decent amount of time to see all it has to offer. Home to an amazing array of exhibits including a full size Saturn rocket, Moon buggy, Apollo capsules and hundreds more genuine space exploration artifacts.

The Saturn center is also jam packed with interactive exhibits and experiences which are an absolute must especially the launch control simulation. Whilst at the center try and find time to speak to the staff, you will find that many of them are retired engineers from the space programs and have a vast wealth of knowledge to share.

The NASA Visitor Complex included tour: The most basic of tours offered but still a must, if you fail to take this trip you will miss the main exhibits offered at various stops along the route.

The tour starts off by exiting the main Visitor Complex, going though the security gates and entering the main NASA site. From here you will take a slow drive passing the Vehicle assembly building and onto the Saturn Building. You will leave the bus at this point and spend as much time as you wish exploring the exhibits and once your finished, you can re board one of the frequent buses at your leisure for the return trip. Whilst on the tour bus you will be show information videos and the drivers will point out all sort of interesting things including the wildlife. Look out for rockets which may be standing on the launch pads. SpaceX currently use the original Shuttle pads and these are often view able whilst on the bus.

Dinning and shopping at the Kennedy Space Center: The complex offers a selection of snack bars within both the main visitor area and the Saturn building as well a few restaurants. The opportunity to dine with an astronaut is also offered but this must generally be booked in advance. The are several areas where souvenirs can be purchased but the main offering is the large shop close to the entrance where you can buy everything from space food, clothing, memorabilia and souvenirs to take away with you.

Optional Tours, Extras and Events at the Kennedy Space Center:

Whilst at the Visitor Complex there is often the opportunity to take extended tours which will get you even closer to things such as the launch pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building. Tickets can also be brought for upcoming events such as viewing areas for Rocket launches, dinning opportunities and other special events.

Obviously, this is a working and operational complex and tour offering, extended tours and events are always subject to change.

Getting to the Kennedy NASA Visitor Complex:

Located west of Titusville across the Indian River the Visitor complex is accessed by crossing the NASA causway on the NASA Parkway. Only 10 minutes off the I95.

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Ideas away from Disney when visiting Orlando

Vacationing in Orlando spending two weeks in the theme parks may on the face of it seem like the perfect holiday, often more so for the children in the group than the adults. What most people fail to do is take that rental car they spent so much on and explore further afield.

With so much in reach within a short drive it really is a must to get out of the city. The kids will never forget a day at one of the nearby beaches or a blast though the water looking out for alligators with an air boat ride. Of course this is also the perfect excuse for the adults in the group to relax a little.

Our personal recommendation is to at least hit one of the larger state parks like Fort De Soto located 2hrs away just south of Clearwater. State parks often are extremely inexpensive days out with fabulous amenities, the best beaches and what can beat kayaking around the mangroves then back to the shade of the trees to have a BBQ.

Lets not forget, the chances are you have spent a decent amount of your hard earned money on this trip, probably spent many hours travelling here and to not spend a few days exploring some of the great beaches, sights and city’s that Florida has to offer is a waste of an opportunity.

So lets list some ideas of whats within various drives of Orlando:

Within 30 to 60 minutes drive of Orlando:

  • Boggy Creek Airboat rides. – One of the most popular Air Boat tours within easy reach of Orlando’s theme parks.
  • NASA Visitor Center – Who wants to be an astronaut? everybody were sure. The NASA visitor center at Cape Canaveral offers the ultimate space experience on the planet, at least without leaving earth.
  • Cocoa Beach – Right at the end of the beach-line express way, this is the easiest of beaches to get to if you do not fancy a long drive.
  • Kissimmiee Rodeo – A great evening out soaking up the atmosphere of the rodeo in the open air, always a great show.

Within 1hr – 2hrs drive of Orlando:

  • Fort De Soto State Park – Vast state park south of Clearwater with miles of white sand beaches, clear waters, kayak rentals and more.
  • Clearwater Beach – Everyone has heard of Clearwater Beach, with good reason, not only is the place one of Florida’s best but its also super family friendly.
  • Cyrstal River State Park – State park with as the name suggests gin clear spring water streams offer tubing adventures and more.
  • Daytona Beach – Another of Florida’s famous beaches and the best bit, you park on the beach, perfect for a family beach day.
  • Daytona Speedway – One of Americas most famous Opal speedway tracks, hosts tours and check out race dates for the ultimate day out.

For a little longer adventure or an over night stay away from Orlando you could try the following:

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