LOCATION: Merritt Island Florida.
This post is part of my Miami Trip Series. This is the end of the series.
The Kennedy Space Center is the only working space shuttle site in the United States, so it makes since that this would be a wise bucket list choice. I’m not usually the type that likes museum events. I would rather be told historical and informative facts rather than read them on walls. However, knowing that I had a chance to see the actual launch pad definitely peaked my interest.
I was scheduled to fly home later that afternoon, so my trip needed to be short. The KSC offers a visitor complex, general tour to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, and various tours that can be purchased as upgrades. I left Miami early in the morning to make it by opening. Once there, I spent about 20 minutes walking the entire visitor complex. The area contained a rocket garden, shops, food vendors, IMAX Theater and simulation launch ride. There was also an education center, but it was closed on holidays so I was unable to go. Considering I paid $63 to get in ($10 parking and $53 ticket with tax) I was not too impressed with the lack of “museum-ish” quality. Finally I was able to take my general tour to the Apollo Center. The ride to the center was very eventful as it passed by the LC39 Observation Gantry. This was basically a 60ft tall building, which housed the Launch Control Center, and the 39A and 39B launch pads directly behind it.
Seeing the site where the shuttles throughout history have launched from was very interesting to me. I think this is a major reason I’m not into museums that much, as I would rather see something in person and hear grand stories about it. While I would have loved to stop and get out to get some great pictures of the launch center, the bus would only drive by it. *sad face*
We finally made it to the Apollo/Saturn V Center where I was hoping that some really great action would take place. I was very disappointed though. The first room we were sent to had a short 10 minute video of the Apollo space program and introduced the trials towards getting man into space. The second room was set up like mission control and simulated the 3 minute countdown into the Apollo mission. The third and final room contained a museumesque quality by containing artifacts and information on various shuttle programs. While I assumed this museum would be big, it wasn’t. It took about 15-20 minutes to walk and read everything in there.
What I was hoping for in the KSC was to see shuttles and hear really great stories, but it simply did not deliver. There was an astronaut hall of fame building about 6 miles down the road that was included with the ticket, but I didn’t have time to check it out. The Atlantis will be making its final destination at the KSC in July 2013 which would be worth checking out, but until then I’ll stick to the great displays at the Air and Space museum in DC.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?:
Only if I was able to see and do more at the Launch Control Center. They do offer tours, but it is an additional amount of money and you have to choose if you want to do the Launch Center or the Launch Pad, which would each be $75. Seems like a steep price if you want to do both. I also really want to experience a launch, but that can be experienced outside of the KSC Visitor complex from various lookout points.
HOW TO DO THIS:
When going on the bus tour to the Apollo/Saturn V Center sit on the right side of the bus. It is the only side that actually views the Launch pad and center. The left side never actually gets a good view for photos.
Admission: $50 plus tax. Parking $10. Open 9am-5pm