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Kennedy Space Center: A-Z Guide For First Time Visitors

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The Kennedy Space Center in Florida is a United States National Historic Landmark that was established on Merritt Island in 1962. It has been the launch site for every U.S. human space flight since 1968, and remains so to this day. A few decades ago, the Kennedy Space Center was just a field of swampland in Florida. Today, it's one of the most important places on Earth for NASA and its partners to prepare spacecraft intended for deep space exploration. Here's everything firts time visitors need to know before they go to the Kennedy Space Center.

Kennedy Space Center In A Nutshell


Know before you go

Best time to visit - Early opening hours on a weekday morning
Starting Kennedy Space Center 1-Day Ticket price - $60.99
Suggested duration - 6-9 Hours
Easiest way to reach is by car or line 13 bus.

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday - 9 am - 5 pm
Closed for Christmas only

Must-see at Kennedy Space Center

  • Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit
  • Apollo/Saturn V Center
  • Imax Theatre
  • US Astronaut Hall of Fame
  • Rocket Garden

Address

Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953, USA
Get there

Why Visit Kennedy Space Center


Kennedy Space Center

If you're interested in space exploration, or if you simply want to see some of the most impressive technological achievements in human history, then the Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit destination. The center has something for everyone, from exhibits about the history of spaceflight to opportunities to experience simulated launches.

Plus, it's a great opportunity to learn more about the people and organizations who are responsible for space exploration. The Kennedy Space Center is an important part of space history, and it's a place that all space enthusiasts should visit at least once.

Kennedy Space Center - Heart-Pounding Moments!


Watch a rocket launch

Four locations at the visitor complex offer launch viewings accompanied by live commentary. The view of the rocket as it rises into the sky is something that you'll never forget. The launches are usually very well-attended, so you'll likely have to stand in line for a while, but it's definitely worth it. Watching that burst of flame and listening to the sound waves rip through the air, your heart will skip a beat. The anticipation is palpable as the countdown reaches 3…2…1.

Meet an astronaut

Who better to tell the story of space travel quite like the people who have been there themselves. Spend some time at the Astronaut Encounter Theater, where a featured astronaut shares his or her experiences training for and living in space. This is followed by a Q&A session. Don't forget to request for a selfie with the astronaut!

Train like a real astronaut

The Astronaut Training Experience will bring your long-standing dream of piloting a space shuttle live. An exhilarating, hands-on, half-day program designed by veteran astronauts to prepare for the rigors of space flight. The training experience is very realistic, and it's a great way to learn more about what astronauts go through during their training. You'll also get to see some of the impressive technology that NASA has developed over the years.

Touch the moon

The Apollo Treasures Gallery is a museum located at the Kennedy Space Center, and it's dedicated to the history of the Apollo program. It's also home to the "Moon Wall", which is a wall covered in moon rocks from all over the world. The highlight of the gallery is undoubtedly the "Moon Touch Tank". This tank contains water from Buzz Aldrin's lunar landing site, and visitors are allowed to touch the moon rocks inside it.

Which Kennedy Space Center Tickets Should You Buy?


Kennedy Space Center is not only a favorite of the tourists but also of the locals and naturally has very long waiting lines. Here are all the different tickets you can buy for Kennedy Space Center so you can save time and dime:

Kennedy Space Center Day Tour with Transfers

This admission ticket allows you to get the chance to meet an astronaut upon arrival at Kennedy Space Center (usually on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. In case the meet-and-greet is not available, the experience will be substituted with a walk-through tour of the Space Shuttle Atlantis facility. To upgrade your experience and save time, go for the Express Tour.

Kennedy Space Center Small Group VIP Experience

Your tour begins with a convenient hotel pickup and breakfast on the go. Head to the east coast for a remarkable day exploring the Kennedy Space Center, one of Florida's most renowned attractions. In the end, your driver/guide will take you back to Orlando with snacks for the ride back home.

Kennedy Space Center Tour with Access to ICON Park

This Express ticket allows you to save time in the morning by skipping the pick-ups and heading straight for the final meeting point at ICON Park. The cherry on top of this experience is that once you arrive back at the plaza, you can ride The Wheel to experience the best views of Orlando or save your ticket for a later date!

Plan Your Visit


Kennedy Space Center Opening Hours

The center is open from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. It remains closed only on Christmas day.

Getting to Kennedy Space Center

By Bus
The nearest bus station to the Center is the Australian Ave at Worthington Rd. It's 9 min walk from the center.

By Train
The closest train station is West Palm Beach Station. However, it is a 42-min walk to the station itself.

By Car
You can drive to the visitor complex in a private vehicle. Parking facilities are available at the visitor complex.

Accessibility

The Center is wheelchair accessible and you can rent a wheelchair on the premises for $10.

Best Time To Visit Kennedy Space Center

The best time to visit the center is in October, November, January, February, or May during the weekday.

Tips For First Time Kennedy Space Center Visitors


Kennedy Space Center

1. Plan ahead - The Kennedy Space Center is a popular destination, and it can be crowded during peak times. Make sure to plan your visit in advance so that you can get the most out of your trip.

2. Buy tickets online - You can buy tickets online, and this is the best way to ensure that you have a spot on one of the center's tours.

3. Arrive early - The Center opens at 9 am, and the best exhibits tend to fill up quickly. If you want to see everything the center has to offer, make sure to arrive early.

4. Stay late - The Center is open until nightfall, and there are some special nighttime events that you won't want to miss. Plus, the center is really beautiful at night, and it's worth sticking around for a few hours after dark.

5. Bring sunscreen - It can get very sunny at the Kennedy Space Center, so be sure to bring sunscreen with you.

6. Bring water - If you're planning on spending all day, then it's a good idea to bring lots of water with you. Just being outside for so long can cause dehydration, especially if it's hot out.

7. Eat lunch - There are no designated dining areas, so plan on eating your lunch in your car or at the picnic area across the street.

8. Visit during a weekday - Crowds tend to be much larger on weekends and holidays, so if you want to try to beat the rush, then consider visiting on a weekday instead.

9. Bring a camera - If you want to take some great photos of the rocket launches, then bring your camera with you. You'll need a telephoto lens if you want to get good shots from the visitor complex, though.

10. Plan what you're going to see - The Center has a lot of cool exhibits, so you'll want to make sure that you only visit the ones that interest you the most.

11. Bring cash - A number of the stores and restaurants inside don't accept credit cards. Be sure to bring cash with you so that you don't end up stuck somewhere without any way to pay for things.

Top things to do at Kennedy Space Center


Here are some top attractions at Kennedy Space Center that must be a part of your itinerary.

Restaurants Inside Kennedy Space Center


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Rocket Garden Cafe

The Rocket Garden Cafe offers a wide variety of food options for visitors. The cafe is located in the Rocket Garden and the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat. The cafe has a casual atmosphere, and it's a great place to relax and take a break from all of the excitement.

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Moon Rock Cafe

The Moon Rock Cafe offers meal options as well as delicacies like Chicken, Bacon & Swiss Melt and Pepperoni Pizza. Have lunch among Apollo spacecraft and artifacts in the Apollo/Saturn V Center. The Moon Rock Cafe has a number of space-themed dishes that make for a unique dining experience.

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Orbit Cafe

Orbit Cafe is a popular restaurant inside the Center that serves freshly prepared salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, dessert, and more. The lettuces and herbs in the salads are grown hydroponically in towers right in front of your eyes. The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you can go there either before or after your visit to the space center.

eggs benedict
Milky Way

After exploring the galaxies and constellations, if you find yourself craving something sweet, Milky Way is just the place for you. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it offers a variety of options that are perfect for any occasion. The menu includes items such as eggs benedict, chicken marsala, and salmon filet, and the restaurant also has a wide selection of desserts that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Space Dots

Taste the ice cream of the future! Located close to Space Shuttle Atlantis, this outlet offers innovative ice cream and gelato in your favorite galactic flavors. The restaurant is decorated with images of space travel, and it offers a unique dining experience that is sure to impress.

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Red Rock Grill

Located next to Journey To Mars, this outdoor lunch stand serves hot dogs, beer and more. The Red Rock Grill is a great place to eat if you're visiting the Center around lunch time. Fuel up before your visit to the museum. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00am to 4:00pm.

Shopping Inside Kennedy Space Center


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The Space Shop

The Space Shop is one of the most popular shops inside the Space Center, and it's packed with exclusive items that are perfect for collectors. Some of the highlights from the space shop include models of rockets, astronaut dolls, and patches from different NASA missions.

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The Right Stuff

If you're looking for a unique gift or a space-themed souvenir to commemorate your visit to the Space Center, then be sure to check out The Right Stuff Shop. The store has a wide selection of items, including hats, T-shirts, toys, books, and many other items. You can find something for everyone at the Right Stuff Shop.

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The Shuttle Express

The Shuttle Express shop is a convenience store, and it offers a variety of snacks, drinks, and souvenirs for visitors. The store is open from 9am to 5pm, and it offers a 10% discount to visitors who show their admission tickets. Some of the popular items available at the Shuttle Express shop include hats, T-shirts, postcards, sunglasses, and many other types of souvenirs.

Hotels Near Kennedy Space Center


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The Cape Crossing Resort & Marina

The Cape Crossing Resort & Marina is a luxurious hotel located near the Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This hotel offers guests a variety of amenities, including a heated pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant. It is also pet-friendly, and guests can enjoy taking their furry friends for a walk around the property. Perfect for visitors who are looking for a relaxing stay near the Kennedy Space Center.

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The Inn at Cocoa Beach

Just a short walk away from the Space Center, the Inn at Cocoa Beach is a popular choice. The hotel offers visitors a variety of rooms to choose from, and all of them come with free Wi-Fi and cable TV. There's also an outdoor pool on the premises, and guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast each morning. The hotel is also close to many other popular tourist destinations, including Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral, and Orlando.

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The Wayward Traveler's Inn

The Wayward Traveler's Inn includes a number of amenities including an outdoor pool where visitors can relax after a long day of exploring the center. The inn also offers on-site dining, which means that you do not have to leave the property if you are tired after a day of exploration. Only 25 mins away from the Space Center, this hotel will let you embrace the old Floridian charm.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the hours of operation of the Kennedy Space Center?

The Kennedy Space Center is open from 9am to 5pm, and the IMAX Theatre is open from 10am to 4pm.

What is the best time to visit the Kennedy Space Center?

The Kennedy Space Center is busiest on weekends, and Saturday is usually the busiest day. If you're looking for a more relaxed experience, then opt to go on a weekday morning

Are there any events happening at the Kennedy Space Center?

The Kennedy Space Center has a lot of events that change throughout the year. Some popular events include "Lunar New Year Celebration" in January, "Heroes and Legends" in February, "NASA's Night to Shine" in February and March, and "Sunset Sails," which is a marine event that happens every month.

What is there to do at the Kennedy Space Center?

The Kennedy Space Center is packed with attractions, and visitors can learn about America's history of space travel at the Rocket Garden, the Apollo/Saturn V center, and many other museums throughout the complex. Visitors can also watch a live rocket launch from the NASA Causeway, tour the Astronaut Hall of Fame, experience a ride to Mars at the Journey to Mars museum, and go on many other exciting adventures.

How do I get to the Kennedy Space Center?

The Kennedy Space Center is located at 1 Rocket Road in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The center can be accessed by car, and visitors can also get to the center by bus or train. The closest major airports include Orlando International Airport and Daytona Beach International Airport.

Are there any hotels near the Kennedy Space Center?

There are many hotels nearby the Kennedy Space Center, and some of them include Comfort Inn at Port Canaveral Hotel, A1A Beachfront Resort, and Pier House Resort.

What is there to do near the Kennedy Space Center?

The Kennedy Space Center is located in Cape Canaveral, Florida, which is one of the best cities for visitors interested in the ocean. Popular nearby attractions include Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral, and many of Florida's beaches.

Where to find more information about the Kennedy Space Center?

You can get more information on the Kennedy Space Center by visiting their official website or contacting them directly at 321-449-4444. 

Kennedy Space Center Guide