Saturday, September 5, 2015

9/5/15: Kennedy Space Center Visit and Lunch with an Astronaut

We recently went to Florida on vacation and had a fantastic visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  Visiting Kennedy Space Center has a special place in my heart as I visited for the first time in sixth grade with my family and it inspired me to go in to Aerospace Engineering.  Ultimately I got a degree in Aerospace Engineering from WPI and worked for NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH.  I was excited to bring my children now to visit and hopefully inspire them in math and science.
There is so much to do at the Kennedy Space Center Complex.  There is a bus tour, 2 Omni theater shows, the Atlantis Space Shuttle, Kids Play Area, Astronaut Encounter and more.  The bus tour takes about 2 hours but is a must see.  Make sure to prioritize what you want to do at the beginning of the day to make sure you will fit it all in.
You get on a nice air conditioned bus and there is a tour guide that tells you everything you are seeing.
Before getting on the bus they take some cute pictures.
You are able to get close to launch pads, and see the Vehicle Assembly building.
Plus they let you out at an area with the Saturn V rocket.  
In this picture you can also see Apollo 14.  It is so amazing being this close to the Saturn V rocket.
One of the highlights of our day was having lunch with an astronaut.  This can be purchased as a package or separately.  If you purchase it on it's own it is $29.99 for adults and $15.99 for kids.  You can see all options here.
It is held in a lovely room with a presentation screen.
There is a full hot buffet including grilled chicken, fish, pizza, and salad.  Plus there are desserts.
We had Clayton Anderson who spoke to us.  He was a really good speaker and did an interactive demonstration of some of the difficult things to do in space.  He also has a new book coming out that he was signing at the gift shop later in the day.  You can learn more about Clay here.
Here you can see Evan.  He was chosen to help with the demonstration.
He also answered questions from the audience and posed for a picture with all of us after.  Here is the building you eat lunch in.  It is right as you enter the complex.
There are also other cool friends you can visit along the way.
Wow he must be hot!
We loved exploring the Rocket Garden.
There is so much to explore.
It is a lovely view.
The major highlight of our day was seeing the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
You start by entering a theater and watch a short film, then you enter another theater and watch another quick film that surrounds you.  But then is the big reveal!  It gave me chills as they revealed Atlantis!
Absolutely gorgeous!
Absolutely breath taking!
There are also interactive exhibits in this building and fun activities for the kids.  Here you can see Lauren coming down the slide.
Lauren using the interactive training exhibit.
Lauren climbing through the kids play area.
Here you can see the kids play area from below.
Evan trying some interactive exhibits out.
Lauren taking control of Atlantis.
There is also an Astronaut Encounter where you can go and hear from an Astronaut.  We didn't go as we had lunch with Clay.
It was also a Launch Day when we were there.  At 6 am they had launched Atlas V MUOS-4.
John and Evan got up to watch the launch from our hotel in Walt Disney World.
 I could have just been in a Disney mood but I think this looks like Tinker Bell.
Evan and John excited to see the launch.
I highly suggest visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

There is so much to see and do.
Who knows, it may inspire your children to learn more about science and engineering.
Find them online:
Twitter: @ExploreSpaceKSC
Disclosure:  I was provided with admission and lunch with an astronaut for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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