New and Improved Kennedy Space Center
Out of this world experiences
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has called Florida’s Space Coast home since 1962 and the on-site visitor complex has been around since 1966. The early years of the complex provided basic exhibits and public bus tours, and in the first year, over 475,000 guests toured Kennedy Space Center and Cape Kennedy Air Force Station. This was surprising to the powers that be.
Since those humble beginnings, NASA and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) has expanded its footprint and made improvements that not only enhance the user experience, but gives you an up-close look at the past, present and future of space travel. If you haven’t been to the visitor complex since the 90s (or years prior to that decade) or even since the early 2000s, you’re missing out on all the newest additions and expansions.
Divided into Mission Zones, where attractions are grouped by chronological era, you can get an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of humans in space. Learn about the early space adventures and pioneers at Heroes & Legends. Take your visit to the next level with the Behind the Gates bus tour that gives access to launch sites, and learn about the Apollo era at Race to the Moon, featuring a Saturn V rocket. And no trip here is complete without a visit to Space Shuttle Atlantis inside Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other. These attractions inside the complex are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much to see and do that you’ll want to plan a full day or two exploring.
Not to mention, the Astronaut Training Experience reopened its doors in 2018, giving guests an all-new training experience. Whether you’re a child or an adult, this experience is for you and requires a separate admission. Here you can perform a spacewalk or participate in a simulated launch of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. And Mars Base 1 transports you to the red planet where you can see what it would be like to live and work there.
Now that you’re caught up on the top attractions at KSCVC, let’s take a look at some of the latest updates and additions to the facility.
New Entrance Gate
Located off Space Commerce Way, the new entrance gives way to stunning views of the Rocket Garden and the space shuttle’s orange external tank. The plaza itself was designed to look like NASA’s behemoth crawler-transporter and features six lanes with two automatic pay stations.
Space Shop Expands
KSC is home to the world’s largest space shop devoted to memorabilia and NASA gear. The shop underwent renovations and reopened in June 2018, and now features a new interactive shopping experience, a historic artifact and a larger inventory of souvenirs, memorabilia and retail items.
KSC Bus Tour Updates
Included in your admission to KSCVC is the Behind the Gates bus tour, which gives you access to restricted areas on KSC. The video component part of the tour was updated in December 2018 and features a new guide, Emily. Follow her as she visits some of the most mission-critical areas of KSC.
Step. Power. Launch. Piezoelectric Tiles
This newly added interactive experience is powered by you! Utilizing Piezoelectric technology developed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute, KSCVC has a collection of these tiles that you can step on and see them light up! Walk or dance your way across them and see how it collects the energy you are creating to “launch” a rocket. Find this near NASA Central.
New NASA Meatball Photo Opp
There’s a new NASA logo, also known as the “meatball,” outside of the Space Shop that makes for a perfect backdrop to you next selfie.
The team at KSCVC is always looking for ways to enhance your experience. Keep an eye out for these new attractions and amenities in the next year or two.
- Saturn 1B Rocket Restoration: The Saturn 1B rocket is an early Apollo-era rocket that is currently being restored on site at the visitor complex. This restoration will preserve it for future generations and is expected to be complete by summer 2019.
- Apollo Lunar Module 9: Get a closer look at Lunar Module 9, one of only three remaining Lunar Modules designed for mission use during NASA’s Apollo Program. Expected to be in place this summer, this is part of an exciting initiative to rededicate the Apollo/Saturn V Center in honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
- New Hotel: Delaware North, operator of KSCVC, plans to build a 152-room Courtyard by Marriott off of State Road 405, just a few miles west of KSC. This is expected to be completed by fall 2020. Read more about the new hotel here.
So as you can see, there are many new additions and improvements that have taken place at KSCVC just recently, and there are some exciting things to look forward to in the years to come. If you haven’t visited in quite some time, now is the time to head to KSCVC for an out-of-this-world experience.
To start planning your Space Coast vacation, peruse the Space Coast Vacation Planner or check out the links below for more bar options along the Space Coast.
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