Kennedy Space Center

Visit the space launch headquarters of NASA and you may see a rocket catapulted into the stratosphere.

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is NASA’s space launch headquarters. In 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from here and put the first humans on the moon. Unmanned rockets are now launched regularly. Check ahead to see if your visit coincides with one of these dramatic events.

KSC covers 140,000 acres (57,000 hectares), an area six times the size of Manhattan. Housed in various outlying hangar-like structures are many of the main attractions, including the photographic exhibits depicting the construction and use of the earliest launch pads for the large and heavy manned space shuttles.

Start your day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where tour buses depart every 15 minutes. These self-guided tours are included in your admission price, so hop on and off the bus at your convenience. Ride past a space shuttle launch pad and stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center to see a moon rocket. Make advance reservations for a guided tour led by a trained space expert.

At the KSC Visitor Complex Rock Garden, marvel at the size of the spacecraft soaring into the sky, including early rockets that made space exploration possible. Climb aboard more modern models to see the astronauts’ living quarters. On the Shuttle Launch Experience, interactive simulators provide a virtual trip into space, with veterans of the U.S. space program available to discuss your flight when you land. See videos from the manned International Space Station, orbiting Earth since 2000.

Travel through time at the United States Astronauts Hall of Fame where you’ll see artifacts and exhibits regarding those who first explored space. Play the zero-gravity Gravball and experience the Mission to Mars 3-D motion simulator.

Talk to a veteran space traveler at Lunch With An Astronaut. Book in advance for this 1-hour experience, which has an extra cost.

Arrive early in the morning to ensure plenty of time to see the exhibits, take a tour and watch one of the IMAX films, which are included in your admission price. Guided tours have extra fees. Dedicate a day to fully enjoy the unique experiences of the Kennedy Space Center.

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