Besides a visit to the beach, the other reason for our stop in Cocoa Beach was to visit Kennedy Space Center. I have some BIG space nuts in my house, and this was our second trip to the Space Center. Because we had been here before, we chose to spend more of our time touring and less time in the exhibits. I’ll cover the tour we took in another post.
When you first arrive at KSC, you are met with a very impressive entrance. You have the NASA ball and JFK Fountain on the right, with the rocket garden to the left. It’s pretty awe inspiring.
We arrived when the center opened at 9:00am. Our tour was scheduled for 10:00, so we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. We took some pictures in front of the ball and the fountain, and took a quick stroll through the Rocket Garden with plans to come back later and take pictures if there was time. Then we wandered over to find our tour departure location, and met this guy along the way.
We took our tour, which lasted about 4 hours, and brought us back to the same spot around 2:00pm. When you arrive at KSC, you can pick up a schedule for the day that includes a list of speakers. M discovered that there was an Astronaut Encounter at 3:00 that day that he really wanted to go to, so we decided to spend the time in between in the Rocket Garden.
The shot on the left is the gangway the Apollo astronauts used to enter their capsules.
After a tour of the rockets, we headed over to listen to Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden. It was really interesting to hear him talk, and he was nice enough to pose with pictures afterwards. This is something I think a lot of people skip when they go to KSC, but it’s really worth the time to sit and listen to the astronauts talk. Plus, it gets you off your feet for a little while.
After the speech, we headed over to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. We spent about an hour and a half in the shuttle exhibit. It was really impressive and the docents working in the exhibit were all people who had had something to do with the shuttle program. We spent a lot of time with one lady who had helped to hand sew the heat shield panels. She was really excited to tell the kids all about it. There is a lot to see in the shuttle building, and we felt a little rushed, so I won’t be surprised if we end up going there again.
One of the most impressive parts was the memorial area downstairs that included pieces from Challenger and Columbia. Very moving and the photos I took just don’t do justice to the feel of the area.
We left Kennedy Space Center at 6:00pm, having spent the entire day from open to close. It’s always an interesting trip, and well worth the money it costs to explore this piece of American history.