It's been 50 years since Americans first landed on the moon, and the wonder of space exploration continues to capture our collective imagination. From the first unmanned space missions to the historic Apollo program to the Mars Rover to the International Space Station, the past, present, and future of space exploration come together at the Kennedy Space Center. This active facility, which is still launching rockets today, is also an interactive museum and a multifaceted educational and research center. As such, it offers engaging exhibits and programs that will appeal to history buffs, astronomy fans, science enthusiasts, and those captivated by thoughts of exploring galaxies far far away. Here's how to make the most of your visit to the Kennedy Space Center.
Kennedy Space Center Must-See Highlights
The Rocket Garden
The opportunity of getting up close and personal with the majesty of real-life rockets is an ever-popular draw. The Space Center's Rocket Garden includes vessels from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Space Programs, and allows visitors a sense of the power, the technology, and the history of each.
Heroes and Legends
Taking an in-depth look at both the evolution of technology that rendered space exploration possible and the brave astronauts who crewed the missions. The Heroes and Legends exhibit combines biography, artifacts, and 4D multisensory theater to provide visitors with a complete look at history in context. Explore the missions, and then find the astronauts who made them possible in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Who could pass up the opportunity to shake hands and have a picture taken with a space explorer? Every day, astronauts who fulfilled a variety of roles in previous space missions take part in the Kennedy Space Center's Astronaut Encounter Program. Check the event calendar to learn who you'll meet during your visit.
NASA: The Future and Now
For those fascinated by the new horizons of space exploration, NASA provides a whole variety of exhibits that approach the next frontier, including Journey to Mars, which explores NASA's future in deep space, and Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator, an impressive and cutting-edge mobile lab.
Kennedy Space Center Special Attractions
Depending on the timing of your visit and the time you have available to explore the extensive Space Center, a tour might include one or more of these extra options:
- Watch a Rocket Launch: Timing is everything with a launch, but, if all goes according to plan, you can witness a Kennedy Space Center Rocket Launch from the closest possible viewing, providing you with a unique experience to see the power of rocketry in action.
- Kennedy Space Center Explore Tour: For those who want all the details in the hands of experts, the Kennedy Space Center Explore Tour provides behind the gates access and unique photo opportunities.
- Astronaut Training Experience: For those who dream of a meaningful hands-on learning opportunity, the Astronaut Training Experience offers a 5-hour immersive program that allows participants to experiment with docking, navigate unique terrain, and experience the sensation of a space-walk, all while staying solidly on planet earth.
Where to Dine
Whether you choose to dine with an astronaut or grab a bite between exhibits, you'll need to take time out of your day to refuel. The complex conveniently includes four restaurants and three snack stands. Menus include staple favorites along with specialty fare, such as vegetarian and gluten-free dining.
Where to Stay
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