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Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

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A day at Kennedy Space Center is one of our favourite things about going on holiday to Florida and we cannot wait to go again in the summer. It’s a really immersive, educational day out and a must for any space fan. Even if you have just a passing interest in space exploration you will love Kennedy Space Center. You can read about our first visit here.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Kennedy Space Center isn’t in the main tourist area. It’s a good drive Orlando and can seem a bit of a daunting prospect when you’re on vacation. So I thought I would put together a post of tips and advice to help you plan a trip to Kennedy Space Center.

I’ll cover how to get there, where to buy tickets and all the added extras you can do. I’ll tell you what’s not to miss, the best bits for kids and really how to make the most of your trip. So here goes:

Our advice when visiting Kennedy Space Center

When is the best time to visit Kennedy Space Center?

Unlike many attractions in Orlando, there isn’t a Kennedy Space Center crowd calendar. However, there is never really a bad time to visit KSC. Most of the attraction is indoors making it a great place to visit even on rainy days and there’s plenty of air conditioning on hot days too! You may just find it busier when there’s a rocket launch – check the Kennedy Space Center launch schedule for details

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Booking tickets to Kennedy Space Center

Should you book admission to Kennedy Space Center in advance or get tickets on the gate? I’d advise booking them in advance as, like with most Florida days out and excursions, Kennedy Space Center can be a really pricey trip. If you book in advance you can make the most of special offers and discounts.

So where do you book tickets? You can book direct with Kennedy Space Center which gives you the option of having a two day ticket as well as the standard one day admission tickets. They also offer discounts for anyone in the military and seniors – anyone over the age of 55.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

But, you can always get Kennedy Space Center tickets cheaper than the standard price on the Kennedy Space Center website. On our last trip we bought our tickets from Orlando Attraction Tickets who had a special offer of adult tickets for children’s prices. =

But, this time we have booked through Undercover Tourist who were offering tickets at the standard price but with lunch included – an added $15 bonus per ticket holder. It’s worth checking prices during the Black Friday sales as that’s often when the best deals can be found.

Here are some of the places we’d recommend when booking Kennedy Space Center tickets:

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Kennedy Space Center upgrade experiences

Like with most days out, Kennedy Space Center offer a variety of upgrades to really make the most of your visit that can be purchased ahead of your trip.

Kennedy Space Center KSC Explore Tour

The Explore Tour lets you go beyond the standard Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour, included with admission. On this extended tour, there are stops to capture photo opportunities and view icons of NASA spaceflight operations. 

Chat with an Astronaut

Sit down in a casual, small-group setting and enjoy a variety of food and drinks whilst asking a NASA astronaut your most pressing questions. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Land and Drive on Mars Training Stage

Navigate the Martian surface in this full-motion simulator where you are in the Commander or Pilot seats! Hone your skills and drive over rough Martian terrain. This simulator gives everyone the opportunity to  drive on Mars. 

Walk on Mars Training Stage

Walk on Mars through immersive virtual reality with the help of your crew. There’s nowhere else on Earth where can you explore Mars quite like this.  

Microgravity Training Stage

The Microgravity Simulator lets you train for weightlessness and conduct your own spacewalk! You and your crew work together to complete a series of training challenges needed to set you on a path to Mars, all while in a frictionless environment.  

You can see full details of all the Kennedy Space Center upgrades here.

If you have half a day to spare, you could also take part in the Astronaut Training Experience or ATX where you will get as close to training, living and working on the Red Planet as possible without ever leaving Earth. Find out more here.

Launches and events

As well as standard tickets and add on enhancements, Kennedy Space Center also has a wide range of special events through the year and a whole calendar of launches too. What could be better than seeing a rocket launch for yourself?

There are opportunities to meet an astronaut, have a shuttle launch experience with an astronaut, see rocket launches and hall of fame inductions – plus so much more. 

You can see the up to date Kennedy Space Center events calendar here.

How to get to Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located in Cape Canaveral, on Merritt Island in Central Florida but there are no public transportation is available for the visitor center. However, Gray Line Orlando, Viator and Real Florida Adventures offer transportation to the visitor complex. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

You can also drive to Kennedy Space Center. Car parking at Kennedy Space Center could not be easier. There’s plenty of on site parking with a charge of $10 per car for the day. As a guide, it’s about an hour drive from Orlando to Kennedy Space Center. It’s about an hour from Daytona Beach to Kennedy Space Center and about half an hour from Cocoa Beach to Kennedy Space Center.

How long to spend at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center really is a full day trip. You should plan to arrive as close to opening time as you can and you’ll have so much to see that you won’t be able to do everything in a full day. This is why Kennedy Space Center also offer two day tickets!

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Itineraries

There are so many things to do at Kennedy Space Center that it can be a little overwhelming. Kennedy Space Center have a few ready prepared itineraries to make sure you tick off all the main parts of the visitor complex and see everything you want to depending on your interests.

Kennedy Space Center have the following itineraries available:

One day visit:

  • Family with children under 10 years of age
  • Family with children over 10 years of age
  • Adult couple or group
  • Space enthusiast
Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Two day visit:

  • Family with children under 10 years of age
  • Family with children over 10 years of age
  • Adult couple or group
  • Space enthusiast

You can see all the itineraries here.

What to do at Kennedy Space Center

There are so many Kennedy Space Center attractions to see and experience. The itineraries above include the main parts of Kennedy Space Center that are not to be missed:

  • Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
  • Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex
  • Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour including Apollo/Saturn V Center
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit with the Shuttle Launch Experience
  • Rocket Garden with or without a Guided Tour
Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

However, there is so much more to see. Kennedy Space Center is organised into Mission Zones that let you explore the whole of the U.S. Space Program in chronological order – Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle and beyond. 

The main parts are:

Heroes & Legends

This area documents early space adventures. There’s the Heroes & Legends exhibition featuring the U.S Astronaut Hall of Fame presented by Boeing and you can walk among giants in the Rocket Garden, seeing and learning about a vast range of space craft up close.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Behind the Gates

This is where you gain access to the restricted areas of America’s spaceport. See historic launch pads and launch sites as well as operational spaceflight facilities like the vehicle assembly building on the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour which is included with daily admission. On the tour you go behind NASA’s gates to see the past, present and future of Kennedy Space Center.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

The bus tour is absolutely fantastic, a must for any visitor, and lasts at least 2 hours depends on how long you spend in the Apollo/Saturn V Center – the next mission area. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

It’s worth noting that there is no eating or drinking on the bus tour so make sure the kids have snacks before they get on the bus! Bus tours run throughout the day with the last bus 2.5 hours before KSC closes. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Race to the Moon

This showcases the Apollo era of NASA. The Apollo Moon landings represent a time that unified America and shifted their culture. The Apollo Saturn V Center pays homage to the people and machines that made the improbable possible and the future seem bigger than we ever dared to dream.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

You get to see the gigantic Saturn V, the largest rocket ever flown and relive the wonder and excitement of the Apollo era. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other

The next area introduces the space shuttle. A space craft that launched like a rocket and landed like a glider while transporting astronauts to space and back for thirty years. You get to see Space Shuttle Atlantis, learn about the future of the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station and learn more about the legacy of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

This is always my favourite part of a visit to Kennedy Space Center Florida. Seeing Space Shuttle Atlantis, the build up and unveiling. I didn’t know what to expect the first time and this absolutely blew me away. It was incredible. You really cannot miss the bus tour and the parts that come after it whilst at Kennedy Space Center. It’s absolutely awe-inspiring. 

Nasa Now + Next

The last part of Kennedy Space Center looks at how NASA are exploring space in current and duture missions. 

You can see all the things to do at the Kennedy Space Center here. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

The Kennedy Space Center Astropass

At Kennedy Space Center you can purchase Astropass which enables you to get unlimited digital downloads of your day out. The pass can be purchased online in advance at $14 per pass, giving up to 40% off compared to purchasing it during your visit. 

Astropass photos are available at locations around Kennedy Space Center including Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Bus Embarkation (Bus loading area) and the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Dining at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center has a lot of on site dining options from refreshment stands to table service restaurants. Here are some of the options available during your trip:

  • Orbit Cafe – Spend lunchtime indoors with freshly-selected salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, dessert and more.
  • Space Bowl Bistro – Fuel up before your journey to Mars and beyond with things like refreshing acai bowls and “build your own” savory bowls. 
  • Moon Rock Cafe – Lunch among Apollo spacecraft and treasures at the Apollo/Saturn V Center after your Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour with indoor and outdoor seating.
  • IMAX Snax – Get your traditional movie favorites including popcorn, candy and soda as you watch an IMAX movie.
  • Planet Play Lounge – A coffee, beer and wine bar in a comfortable lounge parents can enjoy while watching their tiny explorers learn about space.
  • Red Rock Grill – This outdoor lunch stand serves hot dogs and fries.
  • Chat with an Astronaut – Book this add on experience to enjoy food and drink whilst chatting to an astronaut.
  • Milky Way – Chill out with soft drinks, ice cream and Space Dots.
  • Space Dots – Taste the ice cream of the future! Including the Martian Rocks flavor exclusive to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex!
  • Starbucks – Starbucks offers handcrafted coffee beverages, premium teas and delectable treats. 

There are also plenty of places to enjoy a picnic so feel free to take your own snacks and drinks with you to enjoy through the day.

Shopping at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center is home to The World’s Largest Space Shop that seels fantastic souvenirs and the latest in NASA gear. It covers over 15,000 square feet and is a fantastic place to explore at the end of your trip. Plus, there are two other shops dotted around the visitor complex too. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

Download the Kennedy Space Center app

Like with all big attractions, Kennedy Space Center have their own app that makes a day out at KSC much easier to navigate for visitors. The app includes everything you need to plan and customise your visit to America’s multi-user spaceport. 

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

The app is completely free and includes details of the various attractions, exhibits and shows, GPS-enabled navigation to help you easily find your way around as you explore the visitor complex, helpful information like hours of operation, where to shop, where to eat and the nearest restrooms.  

Find out more and download the app here.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

What else is there to do near Kennedy Space Center?

One of the top things to do near KSC is to visit Kennedy Space Center beaches. As Kennedy Space Center is on an island, there are so many beaches in the local area that are perfect to explore after a full on day out at the space center.

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

So there you have all of our visiting Kennedy Space Center tips and tricks. I hope it’s given you an idea of what to see at Kennedy Space Center and you feel ready for your experience.

You can find out more about Kennedy Space Center over on their website and , aside from the KSC app, it’s the best place to get up to date KSC visitor information like opening times and special events. You can see the Kennedy Space Center map here. For reference, the space center address is: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953

If you’re looking for more ideas of things to do on a trip to Florida these posts might help:

Our Top Kennedy Space Center Tips

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