The Kennedy Space Center attracts visitors from all over the world, and for many is a once in a lifetime experience. Ideally, youíll need two full days to visit there, particularly if you are traveling with children. If one dayís what youíve got however, Trek Houndís got your back. Read on for our power-packed itinerary.
9:00 Ė 10:00
The gates open at nine oíclock. Arrive, purchase tickets, pass through security checkpoints, etc. Make a group restroom stop and get cracking. You should be able to squeeze in at least one of the smaller exhibit halls and perhaps tour the inside of the empty space shuttle (next to the shuttle launch experience ride) they have on site within the first hour.
10:00 Ė 12:00
The first of the two available IMAX movies begins showing. There are several showings of each throughout the day, but Iíve noticed the lines get longer in mid afternoon once the busses stop departing for the drive and drop tours.† Get in to see the first showing of movie number one at ten. It will last about forty-five minutes, leaving you enough time to exit and head over to the other movie, which has its first showing of the day fifteen minutes later at 11:00. This film also lasts for forty-five minutes.
Take the remaining fifteen minutes for a second restroom visit and a few minutes of romp time at the playground so the kids can get their fidgets out. Tip: Those with two days to spend at The Kennedy Space Center might wish to view one movie each day. However, with only one day on your schedule, you really want to catch both of them. They are well done, and with the cost of individual IMAX tickets at other theaters, add a tremendous value to your day pass.
12:00 Ė 4:00
Busses leave every fifteen minutes for a three-stop tour. They drop you off at each location and allow you to explore at your own pace, catching the next bus when youíre done. While Iíve seen brochures recommending 2:45 for a complete tour run, Iím going on record as saying youíll want four hours at a minimum. And thatís pushing it. During my previous three visits, Iíve gone with adults only and been hard pressed to view every exhibit without rushing. Those traveling with children will want at least one rest stop along the trip. I recommend the lunch cafť at the Saturn Five exhibit. Itís spacious, in the middle of a bunch of cool rocket items hanging from the ceiling, and has immediate access to the rest of the displays once you finish eating.
4:00 Ė 5:30
If youíre traveling with children, chances are theyíll want to take a ride on the Shuttle Launch Experience. Do this when you get back to the main center from the bus tour, as there are lines and the last ride (according to the staff person we checked with) is at 5:00. I also recommend hitting the gift shop slightly before post five oíclock rush, if itís something you want to include on the agenda.† Itíll get crowded and you want time to look for bargains and souvenirs that suit your taste. During the last half hour, chill out in the rocket garden. Itís quieter at that time of day, and the afternoon light really gives it a nice feel. Itís a great way to squeeze in one more exhibit at a leisurely pace, and they have two or three space capsules retrofitted for kids to climb in and get a feel for the astronaut experience.
Again, two days will make for a more thorough and relaxing family experience. Youíll have time to include the Astronaut Hall of Fame and other exhibits not included in the one day power itinerary. You can also break things up more by doing one IMAX movie per day, and working in more playground breaks on site for the younger kiddos. This recommended itinerary is for those who donít want to miss the Kennedy Space Center, but can really only squeeze out one vacation day to make it happen.
Photo Credits: Art Explosion and Trek Hound