This privately owned center, in Orsino, Florida, provides educational exhibits and activities at the center as well as tours to other facilities nearby. You'll see a 'rocket garden', an outdoor exhibit of an extensive assortment of rockets, capsules and engines that have been used for actual space missions. You can take a tour by bus of the Space Center where shuttles and rockets are launched, and you can even arrange to watch a launch when one is scheduled.
See the Mercury command center, salvaged from the now-demolished building from which the Mercury missions were operated.. And if you'd like to experience the sensation of participating in a shuttle launch yourself, the Shuttle Launch Experience is a realistic flight simulator that makes you wish you could climb aboard for the next liftoff.
There are plenty of informative films, photos, & other mementos ranging in size from what you could hold in your hand to slightly larger artifacts, like the 360-foot tall Saturn V rocket. Some of it is hands-on - you can touch a moon rock! Outside is a wildlife sanctuary, with a viewing gantry that provides a good view of the two nearby Shuttle launch pads and the occasional sun-bathing alligator.
IF YOU GO: Parking is free and kennels are provided for pets. Complimentary wheelchairs are also available. There is a small fee for viewing rocket launches, however, the center is located adjacent to some of Florida's finest beaches, which provide alternative viewing locations of the launches.
WHEN TO VISIT: Open every day except Christmas and on some of the launch dates. If you are planning to watch a rocket/shuttle launch, be aware that the actual lift-offs are often delayed so you need to be flexible with those plans. Launch information can be seen here.
JURISDICTION: Delaware North Companies Park & Resorts, Inc.
Information current as of November, 2010, last visit was December, 2009.
ADDRESS: SR 405, KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL 32899
Rocket Garden, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com - © Vladone