Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: A Must-Visit Destination for Space Enthusiasts

Embark on an out-of-this-world adventure! Explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, a must-visit destination for space enthusiasts.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTERRV ORLANDOATTRACTIONS

7/10/202316 min read

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a popular destination for space enthusiasts and tourists alike. Located in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the visitor complex is operated by Delaware North and is entirely visitor-funded. It is the only place in the world where visitors can get a close-up view of a space shuttle, touch a moon rock, and meet veteran astronauts.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is part of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which is the agency's launch headquarters for human spaceflight. The visitor complex offers a variety of attractions, exhibits, and shows that provide visitors with an immersive experience of space exploration. Visitors can explore the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, which features the Atlantis orbiter and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into space. Other popular attractions include the Rocket Garden, where visitors can see real rockets that were used in NASA missions, and the Heroes and Legends exhibit, which honors the pioneers of space exploration.

History of Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is a NASA facility located on Merritt Island, Florida. It was established in 1962 as a launch site for the Apollo program, which aimed to land humans on the moon. Since then, KSC has been the launch site for many other NASA missions, including the Space Shuttle program.

Apollo Era

During the Apollo era, KSC was the launch site for all manned missions to the moon. The first manned mission, Apollo 8, was launched from KSC on December 21, 1968. The most famous mission, Apollo 11, was launched from KSC on July 16, 1969. It was during this mission that humans first landed on the moon.

Space Shuttle Era

After the Apollo program ended, KSC became the launch site for NASA's Space Shuttle program. The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, was launched from KSC on April 12, 1981. KSC was the primary launch site for the Space Shuttle program until the program ended in 2011.

Now and Next

Today, KSC is used for a variety of NASA missions, including the launch of unmanned rockets and the testing of new spacecraft. In addition, KSC is home to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which allows visitors to experience the history and future of space exploration.

Looking to the future, KSC is set to play a key role in NASA's Artemis program, which aims to land humans on the moon again by 2024. KSC will be the launch site for the Space Launch System, which will carry the Orion spacecraft and its crew to the moon.

Overall, KSC has a rich history as a launch site for some of NASA's most important missions, including the Apollo program and the Space Shuttle program. Today, KSC continues to play a vital role in NASA's space exploration efforts.

Attractions and Exhibits

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is home to a wide range of exhibits and attractions that offer visitors an immersive experience of space travel. Here are some of the must-see attractions and exhibits at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Apollo/Saturn V Center

The Apollo/Saturn V Center is a museum dedicated to the Apollo program and the Saturn V rocket, which took astronauts to the moon. Visitors can see the actual Saturn V rocket and learn about the history of the Apollo program. The center also features interactive exhibits and displays that allow visitors to experience what it was like to be an astronaut during the Apollo missions.

Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit

The Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit is a museum dedicated to the space shuttle program and the Atlantis shuttle. Visitors can see the actual Atlantis shuttle and learn about the history of the space shuttle program. The exhibit also features interactive experiences, simulators, and displays that allow visitors to experience what it was like to be an astronaut during the space shuttle missions.

Rocket Garden

The Rocket Garden is an outdoor exhibit that features a collection of rockets and missiles that were used during the early days of space exploration. Visitors can see the actual rockets and learn about their history and significance. The exhibit also features interactive displays and artifacts that allow visitors to learn more about the rockets and their missions.

Mission Zones

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is organized into Mission Zones that group attractions and exhibits by chronological era. Visitors can explore the dawn of space exploration to current and ongoing missions. The Mission Zones include:

  • Heroes and Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®

  • Race to the Moon

  • NASA Now and Next

  • Mars Base 1

  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

The Mission Zones offer visitors an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of humans in space. Visitors can explore interactive experiences, displays, and artifacts that allow them to learn more about the history and future of space exploration.

In conclusion, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in space exploration. With its wide range of exhibits, interactive experiences, and displays, visitors can learn about the history and future of space travel in an immersive and engaging way.

Visiting the Complex

Location and Parking

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Merritt Island. Visitors can easily access the complex by car via State Road 528. The complex is situated just 45 minutes away from Cocoa Beach, making it a convenient destination for tourists.

Parking is available at the complex for a fee, and visitors are encouraged to arrive early to avoid any delays. The parking lot is located just outside the complex, and there are shuttle buses available for visitors who require assistance.

Accessibility

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is wheelchair accessible, and there are several accommodations available for visitors with disabilities. The complex offers self-guided tours, and there are audio and visual aids available for visitors who are hearing or visually impaired.

Visitors who require additional assistance can contact the complex ahead of time to arrange for special accommodations. The staff at the complex are knowledgeable and helpful, and they are always available to assist visitors with any questions or concerns.

Overall, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is an exciting and educational destination for visitors of all ages. With its convenient location, ample parking, and accessibility accommodations, it is the perfect destination for anyone looking to learn more about space exploration and the history of NASA.

Tours and Experiences

Visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is an exciting and educational experience that offers a variety of tours and experiences for space enthusiasts of all ages. Here are some of the most popular tours and experiences available at the complex.

Bus Tours

One of the best ways to explore the Kennedy Space Center is by taking a bus tour. Visitors can choose from several different bus tours that take them behind the gates and offer a glimpse into NASA's space exploration programs. The tours are led by knowledgeable and experienced guides who provide fascinating insights into the history and future of space exploration.

The "Race to the Moon" bus tour takes visitors on a journey through time, exploring the early days of the space race and the Apollo missions that landed humans on the moon. Visitors can also take the "NASA Up Close" tour, which takes them to the launch pads and other restricted areas of the complex that are not open to the general public.

Shuttle Launch Experience

The Shuttle Launch Experience is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in space exploration. This simulation ride takes visitors on a thrilling journey into space, replicating the experience of a real shuttle launch. Visitors are seated in a capsule that moves and shakes as if it were actually launching into space. The experience is enhanced by special effects such as smoke, sound, and vibration.

Astronaut Training

Visitors can also experience what it's like to be an astronaut by taking part in the Astronaut Training Experience. This hands-on program offers a variety of activities that simulate the training that real astronauts undergo. Visitors can try their hand at tasks such as landing a space shuttle, performing a spacewalk, and operating a robotic arm.

The program is led by experienced trainers who provide guidance and support throughout the training process. Visitors can choose from several different training programs, each of which is designed to provide a unique and immersive experience.

Overall, the tours and experiences at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of space exploration. Whether you're interested in the history of the space race or the cutting-edge technology used in modern space missions, there's something for everyone at the complex.

Ticket Information

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a variety of ticket options for visitors to explore the complex. Visitors can purchase tickets and passes either online, at the front gate, or by calling the reservations office at 855.433.4210.

Admission Tickets

Admission tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex grant access to all exhibits, shows, and attractions. The complex offers a variety of admission tickets to suit different needs.

  • General Admission: This ticket grants access to all exhibits, shows, and attractions within the complex. Prices vary depending on the age of the visitor and can be purchased online or at the front gate.

  • Special Offers: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers special discounts and offers on admission tickets from time to time. Visitors can check the official website for current offers.

  • Group Tickets: Groups of 15 or more visitors can avail of discounted admission tickets. Group tickets must be purchased in advance by calling the reservations office.

Annual Passes

Annual passes to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex grant unlimited access to all exhibits, shows, and attractions for one year from the date of purchase. The complex offers two types of annual passes:

  • Standard Annual Pass: This pass grants unlimited access to all exhibits, shows, and attractions for one year. It also includes a 10% discount on food and merchandise. Prices vary depending on the age of the visitor and can be purchased online, at the front gate, or by calling the reservations office.

  • Atlantis Annual Pass: This pass grants all the benefits of the standard annual pass, as well as access to the Atlantis exhibit. Visitors can explore the inside of the Atlantis space shuttle and learn about its history. Prices vary depending on the age of the visitor and can be purchased online, at the front gate, or by calling the reservations office.

Annual passes are a great option for frequent visitors or for those who want to explore the complex in-depth. Visitors can also upgrade from a general admission ticket to an annual pass by paying the difference in price.

Members of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can also avail of additional benefits, including exclusive access to events and discounts on food and merchandise. Visitors can check the official website for more information on membership.

Kennedy Space Center Hours

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open seven days a week, including holidays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. However, the operating hours are subject to change based on peak seasons. Visitors are advised to check the official website or call for more information before planning their visit.

The Visitor Complex is closed on some holidays, including Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Visitors are encouraged to check the official website for a complete list of holiday closures.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a variety of experiences, including the chance to meet an astronaut, see a rocket launch, and explore the history of space exploration. Visitors are advised to plan their visit in advance and make reservations for any special tours or experiences they wish to participate in.

The Visitor Complex also offers a range of dining options, including cafes, snack bars, and a full-service restaurant. Visitors can also browse the gift shops and purchase souvenirs to commemorate their visit.

In summary, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with operating hours subject to change based on peak seasons. Visitors are encouraged to check the official website or call for more information before planning their visit. The Visitor Complex offers a variety of experiences, dining options, and gift shops for visitors to enjoy.

Hotels Near Kennedy Space Center

For those planning a trip to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, there are many hotels in the surrounding area to choose from. The complex is located in Titusville, Florida, approximately 50 miles east of downtown Orlando. Here are some options for hotels near the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:

  • Motel 6 Cocoa Beach, FL: This motel is located about 20 minutes south of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and offers budget-friendly accommodations. It has a 6.6/10 rating on Hotels.com with over 1,000 reviews.

  • Beachside Hotel & Suites: Located about 25 minutes south of the complex, this hotel offers beachfront rooms and suites. It has an 8.6/10 rating on Hotels.com with over 2,000 reviews.

  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL: This hotel is located about 30 minutes south of the complex and offers a complimentary breakfast buffet. It has a 9/10 rating on Hotels.com with over 1,400 reviews.

  • Radisson Resort at the Port: This hotel is located about 35 minutes south of the complex and offers a complimentary shuttle to the Port Canaveral cruise terminals. It has a 7.6/10 rating on Hotels.com with over 1,600 reviews.

  • Merritt Island Waterfront House: This vacation rental is located about 3.5 miles from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and offers a waterfront view. It is rated 9.8/10 on Booking.com with over 20 reviews.

Visitors may also want to consider staying in Orlando or Cocoa Beach, which offer more hotel options and are less than an hour's drive from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Discount Kennedy Space Center Tickets

Visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be expensive. Luckily, there are several ways to get discounted tickets to the complex. Here are some of the best options:

  • Online Promo Codes: By using promo codes, visitors can save a few dollars on their admission tickets. For instance, visitors can get $7 off admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex when they buy their ticket online using the promo code SAVE7. This offer is valid from June 21, 2023 to August 31, 2023, and it can be used for both adult and child tickets. Visitors can also take advantage of the Florida Resident Summer Offer, which is available from June 7, 2023 - August 31, 2023.

  • Combo Tickets: Visitors can save money by purchasing combo tickets that include admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and other attractions in the area. For example, visitors can purchase a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex & Gatorland Ticket Combo and save up to 7%. Similarly, visitors can take advantage of Tripster's great rates on the following experiences: SeaWorld Orlando, 2-Day Admission to Disney World with Park Hopper®, and Gatorland.

  • Military Discounts: Active and retired military members can get discounted tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The complex offers a 10% discount on admission for active and retired military members and their families. Military members must present a valid military ID to receive the discount.

  • AAA Discounts: AAA members can save money on admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Members can get up to $7 off admission tickets when they purchase them online or at the gate. Visitors must present their AAA membership card to receive the discount.

  • Group Discounts: Groups of 15 or more can get discounted tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The complex offers a 15% discount on admission for groups of 15 or more. Visitors must purchase their tickets in advance to receive the discount.

Overall, visitors have several options to get discounted tickets to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. By using promo codes, purchasing combo tickets, taking advantage of military discounts, using AAA discounts, or booking group tickets in advance, visitors can save money and make their trip to the complex more affordable.

Dining and Shopping

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a variety of dining and shopping options for visitors to enjoy during their visit. From self-service restaurants to specialty food locations, there is something for everyone.

Space Shop

The Space Shop is the world's largest store devoted to space memorabilia and NASA gear, boasting an impressive 15,372 square feet of retail space. Visitors can explore a large collection of souvenirs, memorabilia, and merchandise, including apparel, books, and toys. On the second floor, visitors can walk in the steps of NASA astronauts across the original Apollo 11 gantry.

In addition to traditional souvenirs, the Space Shop also offers unique and specialized items, such as meteorite fragments and astronaut ice cream. The shop is open during regular visitor complex hours, and visitors can also shop online for a selection of merchandise.

Dining Options

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a range of dining options for visitors, including self-service restaurants and specialty food locations. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and healthy choices are available at all restaurants, and crew members are available to assist with information about menu options.

One of the popular self-service restaurants is Orbit Cafe, where visitors can enjoy a variety of sandwiches, salads, and snacks. The Milky Way Ice Cream Parlor is another popular option, serving up a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings.

For those looking for specialty food options, the Rocket Garden Cafe offers a unique dining experience surrounded by historic rockets. The cafe serves up a variety of American cuisine, including burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders.

Visitors can also find quick snacks and refreshments at various locations throughout the visitor complex, including the Rocket Fuel Food Truck and the Rocket Garden Snack Bar.

In addition to dining options, visitors can also find a gift shop at each restaurant location, offering a selection of souvenirs and merchandise.

Educational Opportunities

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a range of educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. From interactive exhibits to immersive experiences, there are numerous ways to learn about space exploration and the history of the Kennedy Space Center.

Educational Programs

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a variety of educational programs for students of all ages. These programs are designed to inspire the next generation of space explorers and provide hands-on learning experiences that align with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum standards.

One of the most popular educational programs is the Camp KSC program, which offers week-long camps for students in grades 2-11. These camps provide a unique opportunity for students to explore the Kennedy Space Center and participate in activities such as building and launching rockets, designing and programming robots, and learning about the science behind space travel.

In addition to the Camp KSC program, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also offers a variety of educational field trips for school groups. These field trips include guided tours of the Kennedy Space Center, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities that allow students to learn about space exploration and the history of the Kennedy Space Center.

For educators, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers an Educator Study Pass, which provides complimentary access to the visitor complex for active K-12 teachers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The pass allows teachers to explore the Kennedy Space Center and gain knowledge and resources to bring back to their classrooms.

Overall, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides a range of educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a student, educator, or simply interested in space exploration, there are numerous ways to learn and engage with the history and science of the Kennedy Space Center.

Events and Launches

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a hub of activity, with numerous events and rocket launches happening throughout the year. Visitors can witness the excitement of space exploration and learn about NASA's missions.

Events

The complex offers a wide range of events for visitors of all ages. One of the most popular events is the Celebration of Women in Space, which takes place every Monday in July. During this event, local artists create unique chalk art installations, and visitors can meet and greet with astronaut Bill McArthur.

Another exciting event is Callie & RT's Mission to the Moon Fact-Finding Scavenger Hunt. This event runs from June 15 to August 6, and visitors can participate in a fun and educational scavenger hunt to learn more about the moon and space exploration.

Rocket Launches

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is also home to numerous rocket launches. Visitors can witness the excitement of a live rocket launch and learn about the launch preparations and the launch facility.

The complex provides a launch schedule on its website, which includes dates and times for upcoming rocket launches. Visitors can also watch a rocket launch from the Rocket Garden, which provides a perfect view of the launch pad.

The most recent rocket launch was the SpaceX rocket launch of the Euclid space telescope on July 1, 2023. Spectators cheered as the rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Overall, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a unique and exciting experience for visitors interested in space exploration and rocket launches. With a wide range of events and rocket launches, visitors can witness the excitement of space exploration and learn about NASA's missions.

Orlando To Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located in Central Florida, just one small step from Orlando and Daytona Beach. Currently, no public transportation is available for the visitor complex. However, there are several ways to get to the Kennedy Space Center from Orlando.

Shuttle Services

Several shuttle services provide transportation to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex from Orlando. Gray Line Orlando, City Sightseeing Orlando, and Real Florida Adventures offer round-trip transportation that includes admission to the visitor complex. Shuttle services are convenient and affordable, making them a popular choice for visitors.

Car Rental

Renting a car is another option for visitors who want to travel from Orlando to Kennedy Space Center. Several car rental companies operate in Orlando, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. Visitors can rent a car at Orlando International Airport and drive to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in about an hour.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is also available for visitors who want to travel from Orlando to Kennedy Space Center. Visitors can take the line 11 bus to Oia Transfer Center, take the shuttle to Cocoa Beach, FL - Pilot Gas, then take the travel to Kennedy Space Center. Alternatively, visitors can take the line 104 bus to Ucf Campus Superstop, then take the shuttle to Cocoa Beach, FL - Pilot Gas, and finally take the travel to Kennedy Space Center. However, public transportation can be time-consuming and may not be the most convenient option for visitors.

Regardless of the transportation option chosen, visitors are sure to enjoy the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The complex offers a range of exhibits, tours, and activities that provide a glimpse into the history and future of space exploration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of visiting Kennedy Space Center?

The cost of visiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex varies depending on the type of admission ticket purchased. The daily admission ticket for adults costs $57, while children's tickets (ages 3-11) cost $47. There are also annual passes available for purchase, which offer unlimited admission to the Visitor Complex for a year.

How long should I plan to spend at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex?

Visitors should plan to spend at least 5-6 hours at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to fully experience all of the exhibits and attractions. However, the exact amount of time needed may vary depending on individual interests and preferences.

Are reservations required to visit Kennedy Space Center?

Reservations are not required to visit Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, but they are highly recommended. This is especially true during peak season, when the complex can get crowded. Visitors can purchase tickets online in advance to avoid lines and ensure entry.

What is the Kennedy Space Center launch schedule?

The Kennedy Space Center launch schedule varies depending on the launch schedule of NASA and other space organizations. Visitors can visit the Kennedy Space Center website or contact the Visitor Complex directly to learn about upcoming launches and events.

Are there any discounts available for Kennedy Space Center tickets?

Yes, there are discounts available for Kennedy Space Center tickets. Active duty and retired military personnel can receive discounted admission, as can Florida residents. Additionally, there are often special promotions and discounts available throughout the year.

What are some nearby attractions to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex?

There are several nearby attractions to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, including the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaveral National Seashore, and the Brevard Zoo. Visitors can also explore the nearby cities of Cocoa Beach and Titusville for additional dining and entertainment options.