But if, like us, you’re not prepared to devote the 8 hours to it that their website recommends, then you need to narrow down your options to focus on the most fun things to do at Kennedy Space Center for kids.
All of these activities are included in your entry ticket.
- 5 fun things to do at Kennedy Space Center for kids
- 1. Take a bus tour of the launch pad
- 2. Explore the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit
- 3. Meet a real-life astronaut
- 4. Play in the International Space Station and Rocket Garden
- 5. Embrace some cool technology
5 fun things to do at Kennedy Space Center for kids
1. Take a bus tour of the launch pad
Get exclusive access to the launch pad areas that are still regularly used for rocket launches. This is where you can sit back and relax and try to comprehend the mind-blowing scale of the equipment needed to launch a mission into space.
There are tour add-ons to get off the bus and take photos at various points, but the basic trip already takes 45 min out to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, then 20 min to get back. You can tour the Apollo/Saturn V Center or eat at the cafe while you’re there, before waiting for a bus to return you to reception.
2. Explore the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit
Atlantis is magnificently displayed with payload doors open and Canadarm extended, as if just undocked from the International Space Station. It’s incredible to see it up so close.
Astronaut Training Simulators
While Atlantis hangs suspended in mid-air, underneath her are a number of pretty awesome high-tech simulators that bring to life the complex systems and components behind the engineering of the space shuttle orbiter. Just like an astronaut, you can learn to pilot the space shuttle, including docking with the International Space Station and landing at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.
3. Meet a real-life astronaut
What little space fan wouldn’t love to shake hands and have a photo with a real-life astronaut? Commanders, pilots, mission and payload specialists who have lived and worked in space share their experiences during a live presentation and Q&A session.
Alternatively, if time or energy doesn’t allow, you could “meet an astronaut” at scheduled times around the grounds. The kids might be just as happy with this photo opportunity.
4. Play in the International Space Station and Rocket Garden
International Space Station (ISS)
This interactive exhibit is a fun way for the kids to learn about the ISS and have a play at the same time. Experience life in space aboard the ISS, including how to sleep, eat, exercise and function like an astronaut.
Walk among rockets from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
You’ll pass this immediately after entering the Kennedy Space Center, but, since you can wander through freely without worrying about timetables or queues, then you might want to save some time for it on the way out instead.
5. Embrace some cool technology
Watch an IMAX movie
When all this space stuff is a bit hard to get your head around, watching a 3D space movie in the IMAX Theater will make you feel like you’re experiencing it first hand.
If you have the opportunity, I would recommend catching a 3D space movie at your local IMAX theatre. We saw A Beautiful Planet (which was absolutely wonderful!) in Sydney last year and this is now one of the movies being shown at the Kennedy Space Center.
Shuttle Launch Experience
This is a pretty cool 8.5 minute simulation of ascent into orbit. Just like a theme park ride! Minimum height 112cm.
While I can’t say I follow the NASA space program with intense interest, the science around it is absolutely fascinating. And Captain Nelson made it look pretty cool on I Dream of Jeannie!
More information on their website: Kennedy Space Center
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Disclosure: Many thanks to the Kennedy Space Center for gifting us entry tickets.