If you think that central Florida consists only of Walt Disney World, you’re wrong. What’s more, you’re passing up some great fun and amazing sights. The Kennedy Space Center is a perfect example of an excellent non-Disney destination for the entire family.
At Kennedy Space Center you can walk under the largest rocket ever flown, touch an actual moon rock, and experience the International Space Station. If timed right you can even witness the thrilling sights and sounds of a rocket launch as it lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch schedule is prominently displayed on the website of Kennedy Space Center.
But did you know that you also can meet a veteran NASA astronaut? Usually twice a day, a NASA astronaut appears in the Astronaut Encounter Theater for a meet and greet. The astronaut’s opening act is a Visitor Complex emcee who warms up the crowd with some fun space facts and nutty science tomfoolery, assisted by a kid volunteer from the audience. The emcee then introduces the astronaut, who talks about his or her particular mission(s) in space. A different astronaut will give the lecture on different days. The quality of the lecture varies on each astronaut’s mission; a biologist may not excite the children as much as a shuttle pilot.
After the talk, the astronaut will take questions. Children do seem intrigued, but they don’t appear to have the astronaut hero worship more popular with preceding generations.
At Kennedy Space Center lunch with an astronaut
For an even more intimate astronaut encounter, sign up for Lunch with an Astronaut. As the name implies, this involves sharing a meal with an astronaut, who first shows a video about life on the space shuttle, and then gives a personalized presentation about his or her own space experiences. A Q&A follows, as well as a chance to take photos with the astronaut.
The lunch experience includes a buffet meal and admission to the Visitor Complex. Prices are $80 plus tax for adults, $56 plus tax for kids ages 3–11. Seating is limited, you can register online or call 866.737.5235.
Beyond Disney: The Unofficial Guide to Universal, SeaWorld, and the Best of Central Florida, by Bob Sehlinger and Seth Kubersky is a guide to non-Disney theme parks, attractions, restaurants, outdoor recreation, and nightlife in Orlando and central Florida.
Features include the latest information on the new Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studios as well as step-by-step touring plans that save four hours of waiting in line at Universal Studios and Universal’s Island of Adventure. Complete chapters are devoted to the Universal parks, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Legoland, and the NASA Kennedy Space Center among others. Leading you step-by-step, it’s the guide that puts you ahead of the crowd and keeps you there.
The new guide will be released October 13. Pre-order your copy of Beyond Disney: The Unofficial Guide to Universal, SeaWorld, and the Best of Central Florida NOW.
Picture of Kennedy Space Center Sign courtesy of Leowithyou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons