Kennedy Space Centre was somewhere I had been dying to go back to since my first visit way back in 2003, despite many visits to Florida I had never had the chance to go back....until now!
We were all looking forward to this, my kids are space mad and we were all looking forward to seeing the space shuttle Atlantis.
Of course we had to get there first using our delightful satnav to find our way out of Orlando to Kennedy, it of course took us right past the centre and straight to the guard box of what I assume is the actual air force base, anyway the nice military gentleman pointed us in the right direction.
Our timing was excellent as always and we arrived during an absolute piss down which saw the car park quite literally flooded. But we are Scottish and not scared of a little rain, besides rain in Florida is considerably warmer than rain in Scotland, so we donned our flattering ponchos and paddled our way to the entrance.
|Flooded car park, deeper than it looked!|
With the weather being the way it was we were quite frankly underwhelmed, probably because we were wet and hungry, so our first visit was for some food and caffeine which as you will have guessed cost shitloads but the cinnamon bun I had for breakfast (I'm on holiday I can eat what I want!!) was delicious.
|Damp breakfast setting!|
Tummies full and rain still very wet, we made our way to the closest undercover exhibition which was one on the nature and origins of the area which was very interesting and had lots of animals (models) for the kids to see and try and guess what kind they were.
|Spot the Eagle!|
Still raining we made a dash outside and the next undercover exhibit we found was the one all about Mars which again was fascinating, I am obsessed with sciencey spacey stuff and this was right up my alleyway. There was a lady giving a talk so we paused to listen to it and they had a play with some of the interactive features and then we went to see the exhibits such as the Mars rover and the mars landers.
|Mars rover with two future astronauts!|
When we had finished in here we went outside and found it to be that crappy misty sort of rain but hey, we're Scottish, its only rain (fuck rain!!) and decided we would head over to see Atlantis. Me and the other half like many of you will have grown up watching the shuttles taking off, it was amazing, I loved watching them when I was younger. The most prominent memory is not a happy one, it was the take off of the ill fated Challenger flight, those poor souls.
The shuttle fleet, well there is no denying these incredible machines have done so so much, not just in space some of their tech has made it in to our everyday lives. To see an actual shuttle up close was a privilege and no amount of rain was going to dampen our excitement.
When you enter the building, well you cannot miss the building for a start, as you will see from the pics. Once inside you were ushered in to big room with a massive screen and you were shown a video on the shuttle programme. Now I am not American, I'm Scottish (remember, the rain) but watching this film made me want to chant U S A, U S A like you see on tv, do my American readers ever chant like that?
|It was huge!|
Anyway I digress, the video cleverly disguises the entrance through to Atlantis and it rises out the way and boom there she is.
OMG, I had goosebumps.
It was amazing, to think that she had been to space, she looked in such good shape!! I went in to full tourist mode and starting snapping photos left right and centre. Our eyes were out on stalks, it was just awe-inspiring. It is so well done and thing I love about NASA is that they have veterans of the space programme ready to answer any questions you have.
The whole Atlantis building is chock full of science heaven, there was a kids play ISS which of course I went in and then freaked out as you had to go through a clear tunnel high above everything to get back out. There were massive slides for the kids and we all had a shot on the take off simulator which was bone rattling fun.
There also was the more sombre side which was a tribute to those brave men and women who lost their lives, which was quite emotional and they also had on display wreckage from Challenger and Columbia which was very respectfully done but my god, I could have wept.
Happy to have seen this amazing bit of history we donned our ponchos and made our way outside to.....blazing sunshine, for fucks sake.
|What a difference an hour makes!|
The other half went back to car with our ponchos and we then headed on the bus tour. The bus drivers, now I could be wrong, seem to be guys who have worked for NASA at some point and they know their shit. Our bus driver was brilliant and as we departed to go on our tour he showed us the many highlights including the beyond huge Vehicle Assembly Building, the massive crawlers, the Space X building and some of the launch pads.
|The massive VAB|
|The shuttle's ride to the pad|
|The future of space|
We had a lunch break here (very nice burgers) and had a good look round taking in the capsule, Snoopy and the gift shop before we headed back to the bus.
I must also mention here that KSC was so quiet, it was a Monday we visited and having been several days to Disney which was mobbed, it really was delightful to be able to walk without having to use defensive strategy to get through the crowd.
Once back at the main centre we had a wander round the rocket garden and spent some money in the gift shop which had some cool stuff. NASA sweatshirts (me), t-shirts (me and eldest), cap (eldest), fridge magnets (me) and cool periodic table mug (me!, now those words usually aren't seen together, and not forgetting some random space doll that my youngest wanted. I could have spent a lot more on random stuff and if I lived in the States I probably would have but I have to fit it all in the confines of my suitcase.
The day was getting on and we made the decision to head back to Orlando, we didn't get a chance to do the IMAX but we definitely want to come back so will make sure we do it then. On our way out we go a chance to look at all the signs and water features we didn't see on our way in as it was pissing down.
It was such a great visit and I highly recommend it if you are visiting the area, the drive over the causeway too was breathtaking too, such great views. A few days later though the views would be changed as Hurricane Matthew made his way along the coast.
All in all a brilliant day and also the day I took the most pictures (200+)!!
Thanks for reading!!
I also be linking this to Sci-Fi month because nothing says science fiction better than the science fact and science could maybe be exhibits that inspire the fiction!!
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