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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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Guide to Bahia honda state park-Florida Keys

Located on on the overseas highway right in the heart of the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the true beauty the keys has to offer.

Overseas Highway Florida Keys - TravelammoThe park is surrounded by award winning beaches both on the bay and ocean side which offer the perfect place to take a swim or just simply relax on the soft sands enjoying the year round sunshine. Blessed with a gentle offshore breeze the park offers the perfect venue to soak up the sun without over heating although please do bare in mind that the sun in the keys is extremely strong year round, it would be irresponsible of us not to recommend a good sun screen is used at all times.

Pick a shady spot in the car park and you car will remain cool for your return.

The entrance to the park is located at mile maker 37 on the left side of the highway if travelling towards Key West. Shortly after entering the tree lined entrance you will be greeted by a very friendly and informative park attendant that will take your entrance fee and point you in the right direction to the most suitable parking. Most of the parking is very close to the main beaches and marina as well as the main concession and amenities.

Located centrally to the park, next to the marina and only a minutes walk to the main beach is the main concession building which is home to rentals, gift shop, cafe, boat trips and restrooms. The cafe offers a delicious range of cooked meals, snacks, subs, ice cold drinks and ice creams as well as daily specials all at very reasonable prices. We recommend if available on the specials board you try the pulled pork sub, perfect for taking down to the beach for lunch.

Snorkeling trips to Looe Key marine sanctuary are a must.

If your looking for slightly more than sunning yourself from your visit then the rental office offers sit on top kayaks by the hour at very reasonable prices. The calm, clear waters around the key offer the perfect environment for a gentle paddle which is suitable for all abilities and if its your first time, help and guidance is on offer to get you on the water. Whilst out paddling don’t forget to look over the side for the chance to see an abundance of sea life, you wont be disappointed. The rental store also offers Snorkeling equipment and boat trips and we’ve always found all the equipment in excellent condition and well maintained.

Drift wood Bahia Honda Beach - TravelammoAside from the beaches and water activities the park also has miles of trails suitable for both walking and cycling, and from the trails you will find secluded beaches, mangroves and an abundance of wildlife and beautiful plants, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for nesting Iguanas dotted around the island. Unfortunately the chance to walk on a section of the original overseas highway is closed temporarily although it is still possible to walk the trail to see it close up.  Forget any worry about getting lost either as trail maps are located around the park to help you find your way at your own pace.

Bahia Honda Cabin - TravelammoBahia Honda also offers a small selection of rental cabins and some 80 camping pitches. Spending a few evenings away from the rest of the world under a starlit sky is a perfect way to enjoy the keys and with low levels of light pollution is a stargazers dream.

We thoroughly recommend Bahia Honda state park not be missed if your visiting the keys and if you looking for a beach day there is no better more enjoyable place to find it than here.

Key features and tips:

    • Park open from 8:30am till sunset daily.
    • Entrance is currently $8 for a car and 2-8 occupants.
    • $4  single occupancy car entry.
    • On foot/cyclist entry fee $2.
    • Boat slip rentals from $10.
    • Cabin hire from $120 per night.
    • Camp pitches from $36 per night.
    • Toilets and facilities on site.
    • Concessions available ( provided by Coral Reef Park Co )
    • Dogs allowed ( restrictions apply )
    • Accessible facilities.
    • Marina ( fees from $2 per foot, Min $30 )

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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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Fort De Soto park – Florida USA

Fort De Soto park, located on the southern tip of Pinellas County Florida is without doubt one of Florida’s finest beaches.

The State park is an area of five keys covering 1,136 acres and boasting over 3 miles of pristine coral white gently slopped beaches,  acres of mangroves and of not forgetting the historic fort it self, worth a visit alone.

De Soto Beaches are frequently voted among the best in north america

Whilst at the park there is more than enough on offer to keep everyone in your group happy from fishing on one of the two piers, walking some of the 10 miles of self guided  trails, kayaking,  exploring the fort or for the beach lovers looking to relax there’s an abundance of beautiful spots on the sands to relax and listen to the gentle waves lapping the sands.

The beaches of De Soto also play host to nesting loggerhead turtles

The park also plays host to a variety of wildlife both on and of shore. Dolphins are often seen cruising along the shore line or playfully leaping around the pier. Whilst on the beach and walking the trails you have a high chance of seeing some of the 328 documented bird species which are either visiting or native to the park.

If you wish to stay in the tranquility that little bit longer the park also has some 238 camping pitches along with all the amenities to provide a comfortable over night stay.

Fort De Soto Cabin - TravelammoFort De Soto  is a truly unforgettable place and we recommend anyone visiting the Tampa bayClearwater-St Petersburg area find time to visit. Bring along a picnic or even a cooler full of meat, shrimp and fish to cook on one of the many onsite BBQ pits free to use, just don’t forget to pack the charcoal and please remember to clean up and dispose of the ashes carefully following the parks guidelines. For even bigger family gatherings there are also  picnic shelters with seating and BBQ areas although these need booking during peak times.

For the more active members of the group why not rent a Kayak and explore the mangroves, 7 miles of shoreline and inner bays on offer providing the perfect setting to leisurely paddle away. Bike rentals are also available should you want to explore on dry land.

Fort De Soto is located at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 3371.

Driving times are approximately 45 minutes from central Tampa and 20 minutes from St, Petersburg.

  • Restrooms available.
  • Plentiful parking.
  • Bait, souvenirs and concessions.
  • Two Fishing piers.
  • Boat launch and floating docks ( Permits required ).
  • Suitable for all ages.
  • Dog restrictions in place ( Facilities provided ).

For more information, bookings and permits  please visit  Pinellas County Parks and Recreation.

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Tarpon Feeding at Robbies Marina – Florida Keys

One of the Florida Keys most popular attractions, Robbies Marina is a must stop off on your journey on, off or along the keys.

Located in Islamorada Robbie’s is home to the long time world famous opportunity to hand feed Tarpon. Yes hand feed these giant fish weighing over 80lbs  if your brave enough. When you arrive you will have the chance to buy a small bucket of food for a few dollars and then proceed to the jetty’s were should you have the courage, lay down with bait in hand and the Tarpon will leapTarpon Robbies Florida Keys - Travelammo out of the water and take the food straight from your hand. Be warned though, Tarpon have a huge mouth and will happily, if only momentarily, grab your hand also. They soon let go though as they much don’t care for hands as their lunch. Another word of caution, guard that food with your life. The birds although harmless and not to bothersome will do their very best to get fed before the Tarpon do.

Robbies is not just about feeding the Tarpon though. There is a vast array of things on offer to keep you amused for hours and countless return journeys.

After feeding the Tarpon, Grab and Ice cold Beer and relax overlooking the Marina.

There is a small market where vendors sell craft and food items many of which are hand made from materials and skills unique to the keys. Looking for lunch, well there is an onsite informal restaurant where you can grab a ice cold beer and over look the marina.

If you want a little more adventure and get the adrenaline flowing  then Robbie’s can offer this also. Kayaks, Snorkeling, Boat rentals and tours are just some of activities on offer whilst your visiting.

So how do you get there. Well Robbies Marina is located at mile marker 77.5 on the bay side of the highway. The marina itself is actually located on Lower Matecumbe Key and if driving onto the keys from the north is located on the right as soon as you come off the bridge from Islamorada.

For sat navs the address is: 77522 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

Driving times:

Robbies Marina is  approximately 1hr 45 mins from both Miami and Key West.

Quick Facts:

  • Open from 8am – 8pm year round.
  • Rest facilities available.
  • Free Parking on site.
  • Suitable for all ages.
  • Food and Drink available.
  • Kayaks and boats available for rental.
  • Boatyard Services.
  • Tours and Snorkeling excursions. ( booking advised )

Visit the Robbies site for more details and booking details.

Please mention you heard about Robbies with us when you contact them.

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  • Everglades Safari Park – Florida Everglades Safari Park Sign FloridaAirboat Tours, Alligators and the Everglades. These three things are synonymous with Florida and probably on many a visitors to do list. Well, if your looking to tick these off whilst tagging on some food and a days adventure to ...
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