I am so excited to share another review from Orlando! We decided quite last minute to visit the Kennedy Space Center located at Cape Canaveral. Basically the center consists of two sites: the visitor center (where the real Atlantis shuttle now lives) and the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
You begin your visit at the visitor center. Unlike a lot of other reviews that recommend starting with the bus tour to the other site I’m going to say start with the Atlantis exhibition. Why? Well considering I like learning about space but I’m not totally obsessed with it, this place will get you in the right frame of mind. After seeing a short film on the Atlantis and a space shuttle launch the movie screen opens to reveal the shuttle itself. I don’t want to sound corny but I seriously could not help but gasp. It was truly beautiful. For the rest of the trip I wanted to learn everything and see everything.
As well as the shuttle, there is a little museum. What I’d like to highlight in this center is the Forever Remembered Memorial to the Challenger and Columbia Shuttle disasters. Before seeing pieces of both shuttles there is a walkway containing some glass cabinets. In each cabinet is the personal effects of one of the lost astronauts. I would have to say it’s one of the most appropriate memorials I have ever seen. It elicited all the right emotions and the space it created was powerful.
After the Atlantis we boarded the bus to the launching pads and Apollo/Saturn V Center. After a fantastic tour to the Vehicle Assembly Building and launch pads 39A/B we arrived at a large warehouse. What’s great about the entire center is that it really does cater to a wide audience. If you are a space fanatic there is plenty of information to sink your teeth into. If you’re like me and think it’s epic but have no clue about anything, you will learn something. The Saturn V Center achieves this by guiding visitors through a short film and an Apollo space shuttle launch. In the launch you can see the actual control room used in the 1960s!
You are then free to walk around Saturn V seeing the rocket stages all labelled and explained. The size of everything in this place will leave you stunned. Then, to top things off, you can touch a piece of the moon!
In one of the rooms branching off the warehouse is a small traditional-looking museum with astronaut suits, the Apollo 14 capsule, and an array of personal objects belonging to the crews. The thematic labels are long but the object labels are short and informative enough for those of you who want to have a quick walk around.
There is, of course, plenty more to do at both centers. Highlights for me were the memorial and seeing the control room. I visited knowing very little about space except it is far too big and that creeps me out a little. I left both centers wanting to learn more about the wonder that is space travel and with a new appreciation of our little planet.