You should visit the J. F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida if you are into NASA, space and the history of exploration. Located approx 1-hour drive outside Orlando, this place is a must-visit!
So much cool stuff is going on at the Kennedy Space Center and we were super excited to visit this extraordinary complex. Since the park is actually a working NASA space flight facility, the complex will give you a deep insight into the phenomenal world of space programs. Incredible moments in space history, so much passion, and greatness.
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Exploring the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was the first time for both of us. We are both very interested in history and we get quite fascinated by what is beyond our own small atmosphere.
During our 8 hour visit at the KSC, we were both moved, we laughed, we got chills and we were astounded. Even moved to tears sometimes – it was truly an amazing day!
Be early and take your time
We absolutely recommend coming to the park early, cause there is so much to see and so much to explore.
The visitor complex opens at 9 am every day – closing time depends on the season.
Parking costs 10 USD for normal cars and 15 USD for motorhomes. (2019) Super easy. You can pay both in cash or credit card. There is plenty of parking space and just next to the entrance.
Explore more at the Kennedy Space Center
The Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center consists of different zones or areas. All with different stories to tell. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to see everything. We will strongly recommend to check out the Space Shuttle Atlantis facility and take the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour to the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
They will surely have a wow-impact on you, particularly when you stand under the impressive Saturn V rocket. Ken was gobsmacked! Just be aware that the bus tour operates until 2½ hours before closing time.
Besides seeing and reading a lot of captivating history you can try to navigate a space shuttle yourself. You can witness how things unfolded behind the stations in the control center. Furthermore, you can actually feel how it is to be launched into space in a very cool simulator. This was one of our favorites!
IMAX Theaters & Movies
The park also has a lot of IMAX theaters displaying some really great movies about how the space program started. Furthermore, they show a really interesting and beautiful movie about the work and life of astronauts in space onboard the International Space Station ‘ISS’. Note that some of the movies can last for up to 1 hour. But they are worth it.
You can get pictures taken around the complex and you can even get a shot while wearing a spacesuit, hovering around in outer space.
Heroes & Legends
The Kennedy Space Center honors the astronauts throughout the park. A well-deserved tribute. We all remember Neil Armstrong’s famous phrase when he took his first step on the moon ”That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. For many boys back in 1969 he became a national hero and idolized. To become an astronaut is a huge achievement, back then as well as today. I would even say it is awe-inspiring.
The famous ones are not just recognized. Everyone who took part in the space program can be found somewhere around the complex. Some can be read about, others are shown on info screens telling their stories and some are honored and remembered in their own quiet way.
The crews of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia have their own respectful hall away from the crowd. A beautiful display salutes the 14 souls in a grateful, personal and respectful way. From someone who saw the Challenger disaster, it was quite moving.
Talk with a real astronaut
A cool thing that Kennedy Space Center offers is that you are actually able to shake hand, talk and take your photo with a real astronaut. Check out this page to see who is the astronaut of the day.
If you´re really into the astronaut stuff, you can actually dine with one as well! An ordinary entrance ticket does not have this included though and has to be ordered separately.
When we are speaking of food, KSC has several cafes, restaurants, and grills around the visitor complex. We found the prices very reasonable and the quality of food good considering we were inside the KSC. Friendly for adults as well as kids.
Ice cream TIP! please try their Space Dots. They are very unique, fun and come in multiple flavors. I tried the cookies
View a NASA space launch
Another really cool thing is that KSC invites you to come and see a space launch. Unfortunately, there was no launch on the day of our visit, but we will check this calendar next time we visit – it could be awesome to witness such an incredible event.
On the KSC website, you can find launch dates and prices for the different viewing areas. Click here for more info.
Favorite Movie: Hidden Figures
This is one of our absolute favorite movies. If you haven´t seen it yet, we really recommend you to watch it. It tells you the true story of three Afro-American women in the 60s, who changed history each in their own way. The main character is Kathrine Johnson who became one of NASA´s most prominent mathematicians. Please check out the trailer here.
Will we visit the Kennedy Space Center again?
It will be a huge YES!
If you have family members who have a thing for space, spaceships, astronauts or are just crazy about NASA history – please do not skip Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on your next trip to Florida.
Kenneth truly has a huge interest in all the space stuff. He can name you every name on the spaceships or shuttles and the difference between this or that type of rocket or launch. I surprised him with an invite from the Kennedy Space Center. Just like a kid for Christmas, he was so thrilled and looked forward to seeing everything.
Due to the government shutdown, unfortunately, we were not able to reach the launch sites and other things on the bus tour. Kenneth is that super space geek, so we will come back – that’s for sure.
Where to stay near Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center is a location in Cape Canaveral right beside the Atlantic Ocean.
Cape Canaveral is also a major cruise harbor being a destination for major cruise lines. This means that the Kennedy Space Center can easily be overrun during the time the cruise ships are docked.
It is also a huge starting point for cruise ships – and if you plan to take a cruise from Cape Canaveral, visiting the Kennedy Space Center would be a must.
As we mentioned earlier, Kennedy Space Center is located approx 1-hour drive from the city of theme parks, Orlando. Orlando is a very cheap city to stay in, but with a visit to the KSC, you should calculate for 2-hours of transport.
Hotels near Kennedy Space Center
A great idea is to combine visiting Kennedy Space Center with a couple of days at the beach.
Cocoa Beach is located only 30 mins away, offering a nice beach with plenty of opportunities to relax and rewind for both adults and kids alike.
If you are considering relaxing a couple of days at the beach and combined with a visit to the KSC, we would recommend you take a closer look at these hotels near Kennedy Space Center:
- Radisson Resort at the Port 3* – with pool, very good review at Tripadvisor and a reasonable price.
- Four Point by Sheraton Cocoa Beach 3* – with pool, very good review at Tripadvisor and an okay price.
- La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Cocoa Beach 3* – with pool, very good review at Tripadvisor and a really good price.
If you wish to upgrade to something nicer, you should check out these:
- Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront 3* – with pool and a beach just outside. Very good reviews at Tripadvisor – but the price is a bit higher than the other 3* star hotels.
- Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort 4* – Excellent review on Tripadvisor. A paradise for children with a playground in the pool. Beautiful hotel, but at almost 3 times the cost of the other nice hotels.
You can, of course, find more hotels in different price ranges, but the 5 hotels above would be those we would check for good rates if you are looking for a hotel near the Kennedy Space Center.
Thank you Kennedy Space Center for hosting us. We had an amazing day in the shade of incredible history. Will definitely recommend the park to everyone and we will definitely be back.
We truly hope this review and inspiration of where to stay near Kennedy Space Center will help you to have a wonderful time at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. If you have any questions, comments or just think this article was useful, please write us a comment below – we would love to hear from you.
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