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Family Travel to Kennedy Space Center

Take your kids to see a piece of history – and maybe have lunch with a NASA astronaut.

In 1969 a riveting moment in history took place. Although only 5 years old, I remember it well. July 20, 1969 was a cool evening and a large group of family and friends huddled around a small television screen to witness one of humankind’s most impressive feats. Astronauts had stepped foot on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were the “Steve Jobs” of their time, holding a high level of admiration in the minds of the young and old alike. 

Before your kids grow up, educating them about the cultural significance and impact of this moment and many other efforts put forth by NASA’s space program will likely leave a lasting impression on them—-to believe in what might seem impossible and to recognize that hope and dreams are vital to progress.

NASA’s primary space center and launch facility is located in Cape Canaveral, Florida. And, a trip to The Kennedy Space Center enables the history of space flight to come alive with a bang. The complex is an out-of-this-world education and entertainment venue, affording an up-close and personal look at the complexities of space travel. Simulated launch rides, access to the innards of a real shuttle, views of retired mammoth rockets and even the chance to dine with a real live astronaut are all there for your enjoyment. Plus, hands-on activities, narrated group tours and 3-D IMAX movies provide further opportunities to explore and pay tribute to the space program.

Easy Access

We visited the complex in March 2011, following a Royal Caribbean Cruise to the Bahamas, which left from Florida’s Port Canaveral. The cruise line offered an excursion that tied in to our cruise itinerary.

The space center is located only an hour east of Orlando, so it might be a great side trip while visiting Disney World or Universal Studios. And, don’t forget, while in the Cape Canaveral area, there are lovely beaches to enjoy. Also, you can further highlight your jaunt by checking out the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and historic Cape Canaveral Lighthouse.

Visitor’s Passes

Kennedy Space Center offers several attractive visitors’ passes such as:*

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Admission Ticket

Visit the exciting Kennedy Space Center and learn everything about our travels in space. Tour Kennedy Space Center, see IMAX space movies, and view all of the exhibits and shows KSC has to offer. This tour also includes the Astronaut Hall of Fame and interactive space-flight simulators. From: $45.53

Kennedy Space Center All-Access Space Pass

This is the ultimate ticket for visiting the exciting Kennedy Space Center. Learn everything about our travels in space. Tour Kennedy Space Center, including the Astronaut Hall of Fame. You’ll have lunch with an astronaut. Also included is the Discover KSC: Today & Tomorrow guided tour. Do everything in one day, or split up your visit over two days within a 7-day period. From: $94.28

Kennedy Space Center Discover KSC: Today & Tomorrow Tour & Visitor Complex Admission Ticket

Each guided Discover KSC: Today & Tomorrow tour is narrated by a space program expert, who shares in-depth and often little-known space facts during the 90-minute “mission” past the following areas: Space Shuttle Launch Pads A and B, The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), Shuttle Landing Facility, Crawler Transporter and Crawlerway. From: $67.79

Kennedy Space Center Tour from Orlando

Location: Orlando Duration: approximately 11 hours

Visit the exciting Kennedy Space Center and learn everything about our travels in space. This tour departs daily and includes transportation to and from Cape Canaveral, as well as admission to the complex. From: $98.95

Kennedy Space Center Lunch with an Astronaut & Visitor Complex Admission Ticket

This is one of the most popular programs at the Kennedy Space Center. “Lunch with an Astronaut” gives visitors a one-of-a-kind experience to meet a member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps and have their picture taken. This tour includes the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Admission Ticket. From: $72.02

So, the next time you think about taking a trip to sunny Florida, blast off to the Kennedy Space Center and don’t miss the chance to teach your kids about the allure and importance of the space age. After all, less than 50 years ago, space travel was merely a dream. Let’s not let it appear that it has become even remotely ordinary.

*all details and descriptions of visitors passes drawn directly from www.kennedyspacecentertours.net, as of October 12, 2011

Kennedy Space Center & Cape Canaveral 2012 Launch Schedule

One of the greatest thrills uniquely available to visitors of the Kennedy Space Center is the witnessing of a real live launch. Although the well-recognized NASA shuttle program has ended, other launches are planned for 2012, so you might want to arrange your travel plans around these dates. Scheduled launches include:*

January 19, 2012 • Delta-4 WGS-4–The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft built by Boeing. This will serve U.S. military forces.

February 2012 • Atlas 5 • MUOS 1–The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will launch the first Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for the U.S. Navy. Built by Lockheed Martin, this U.S. military spacecraft will improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move.

April 2012 • Atlas 5 • AEHF2–The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will launch the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite built by Lockheed Martin. This U.S. military spacecraft will provide highly-secure communications. 

April 12 2012 • Falcon 9 • DRAGON C3–The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the third Dragon spacecraft, called Dragon C3 to resupply missions to the International Space Station. This particular mission will demonstrate rendezvous and berthing capabilities of the craft with the orbiting lab. 

June 2012 • Delta-4 Heavy NROL-15–The United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. 

June 12 2012 • Atlas 5 • TDRS K–The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will launch the TDRS K communications and delay relay satellite for NASA. The satellite will connect mission control with the International Space Station and other orbiting satellites. 

August 23, 2012 • Atlas 5 • RBSP–Built and managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, this mission includes two spacecraft to fly in highly elliptical orbits to study Earth’s radiation belts and probe the influences of the sun. This launch was delayed from May.

*as of October, 13, 2011, courtesy of www.spacelaunches.com.

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