For space exploration, past, present and future, the Visitor Complex in Florida is a must-see hands-on attraction that takes more than a day to experience.
From the minute you pass beneath the EXPLORE sign at the entranceway, you step into a galaxy of fun, learning adventures and memories that tell the story of NASA and American spaceflight.
Kennedy Space Center is where history is still being made, most recently in December, with the powerful launch of the year — a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that launched NASA’s new Orion spacecraft. This latest spaceflight was the first to test critical systems on Orion, being built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before into deep space, and eventually to Mars. And what’s so exciting is that you can schedule a visit to the Visitor Complex where you might see an actual rocket launch. Just go to TourKSC.com and check out the rocket launch calendar.
As part of your day at Kennedy, take time to meet an actual astronaut. Several times daily in Astronaut Encounter, you can meet a space hero, a veteran astronaut from NASA’s famous Astronaut Corps. Each encounter offers time for discussion, so be ready to ask questions of these special men and women who are only a few of those who have ever flown in space.
Want to know more about asteroids, comets and meteors? The new Great Balls of Fire exhibit shares the story of the origins of our solar system, asteroids and comets and their possible impacts and risks. Via a hands-on component you can study how scientists determine the trajectory path of such near-Earth objects. Within the Great Balls of Fire exhibit is the Asteroid Encounter. Here you can test your knowledge as you climb aboard a “spaceship” and blast off to the asteroid belt and Jupiter. You can use interactive displays to build your own solar system, test rocks to see if they have meteorite-like properties, explore the various sizes of asteroids and comets, and explore what would happen if one were to hit your hometown.
This is just the beginning of your out-of-this-world interactive space adventure. Space Shuttle Atlantis is one of the newest stars at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. After some 126 million miles and 33 successful missions to space and back, Space Shuttle Atlantis is home in her most important mission ever – center stage in an awe-inspiring presentation paying tribute to the people and accomplishments of the 30-year American shuttle program.
Your exploration of Space Shuttle Atlantis immerses you in true-to-life spaceflight with more than 60 unique, educational touch-screen exhibits and space-age simulators. See a life-size Hubble Space Telescope model, experience what it is like to live and work in space inside the International Space Station. And just around the corner at the Shuttle Launch Experience®, feel what it is like to launch into space as you strap in to “go for liftoff.”
Included also in admission to the Visitor Complex is the Space Center Bus Tour that takes you on secured Kennedy Space Center property to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Feel the race for space come alive while walking under the largest rocket ever flown, the colossal Saturn V. This monumental 363-foot rocket was America’s lunar transportation for 24 historic and brave astronauts who traveled to the moon and back. At the Apollo/Saturn V Center you can not only touch a moon rock brought back to Earth by our astronauts who walked on the Moon, but you can also see the actual moon dust on astronaut Alan Shepard’s lunar suit.
Save time to discover what the earliest days of America’s space race were like at Early Space Exploration, highlighting the Mercury and Gemini programs. Wander through the impressive Rocket Garden with its towering Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft overhead. Discover the future of space exploration at Exploration Space®: Explorers Wanted with large-scale multimedia and interactive displays.