The U.S. Space and Rocket Center at Huntsville, Alabama is somewhere I had long wanted…
I am a bit too young to clearly remember the first moon landing but I do have memories of the excitement of watching the space shuttle launches and wishing I have been there in person. So, when we got the chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center I jumped at the opportunity. Sadly, there were no launches planned but it still was exciting to be visiting the site of these amazing demonstrations of man’s imagination and desire to explore.
THE ROCKET GARDEN
Only when you get close up to the vehicles that have carried man into space can you appreciate the scale of the achievements. The rockets themselves are huge but most of this is engine and fuel, the size of the transportation that the astronauts is so small and looks flimsy. This would not be a job for someone who suffers from claustrophobia.
HEROES & LEGENDS
After wandering around the outdoor exhibits for a while we stopped off at the Heroes and Legends exhibit, which takes you through the story of the journey of America’s earliest space missions. The exhibit uses a 4D multisensory theatre and actual artefacts, including a Redstone rocket, the Sigma 7 capsule and a Gemini 9 capsule. The final part of the journey is through the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
RACE TO THE MOON
After getting to grips with the space program we headed off to the Apollo/Saturn V Center to get up and close to the vehicles that took man to the moon. The main hall is totally dominated by the gigantic Saturn V, the largest rocket ever flown! To get something of the experience of the excitement of an Apollo launch they have reconstructed the launch of Apollo 8 and the Firing Room.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER BUS TOUR
One of the highlights of our visit was the bus tour that takes you around the Kennedy Space Center complex to see the inner workings of the spaceport. The tour is guided so that as you visit some of the iconic sites, such as the Vehicle Assembly Building and historic Launch Complex 39 you get to hear about the history and workings of this still active facility. There are also several opportunities to disembark and capture those once-in-a-lifetime photos.
If you love science and technology I can highly recommend a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. I am also going to make sure that I plan to visit the area during one of the launches to get a real sense of the drama of a launch day. Patience is required as these launches are weather dependent and of course, there is the occasional technical hitch!
Planning your visit to the Kennedy Space Centre
The best time to visit Florida’s Atlantic Coast is between March and May. The winter crowds will taper off, the hotel rates become reasonable and the weather is remarkably similar to winter’s blissful 70s and 80s. Speaking of winter – that season is the island’s busiest and priciest. The rainy and humid summer months see the fewest tourists but the best hotel rates. The trade-off might be worth it, but you’re still gambling against hurricane season (June to November).
Best time to visit the Kennedy Space Centre
Central Florida includes Floridian heavyweights: Orlando, Kissimmee, and Tampa. As its name implies, this region comprises the central part of the state. The best time of year to go to Central Florida is between January and early May. That’s when you’ll notice the warmest (but not scorching, humid, or unbearably hot) temperatures and driest days. If you avoid high travel holidays, you’ll also be privy to great deals and slimmer crowds