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© NASA

If you time your visit right, you can witness a space launch at Cape Canaveral.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The John F. Kennedy space center is located on the central Atlantic coast of Florida about 50 miles (75 km) due east of Orlando and midway between Miami and Jacksonville. The actual spaceport and launch facilities are located on nearby Cape Canaveral, a vast peninsula with restricted public access. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, just outside of the cape is open to the public daily from 9 AM until 6 PM. It includes many exhibits, films and displays, plus it offers opportunities to tour the actual spaceport and launch facility.

The admission prices are $50 for adults and $40 for children ages 3-11. That includes access to all exhibits and films plus a bus tour of the spaceport and launch facility. Normally, tickets are readily available at the space center or you can purchase them on line from this web page: Official Ticket Center

Bus tours of the Kennedy Spaceport Launch Complex are included in daily admission and start at 10 am. Buses depart continuously every 15 minutes throughout the day. The last tour daily departs at 3:30 pm. These tours are approximately 2 hours in length. Bus schedule subject to change due to rocket launches, special events and weather. The tours take you to the huge vehicle assembly building where the gigantic rockets are fully assembled prior to launch, to the huge crawler platforms that slowly transport the fully assembled rockets several miles out to the launch sites, and to views of one of the launch platforms.

Photo of Mike
Mike's Kennedy Space Center Tip: Go to the Kennedy Spaceport visitor center early in the morning before the crowds of tourists arrive. Take your bus tour of the spaceport early as the last busses depart at 2:15 PM

For an extra twenty dollars, you can choose one of the "NASA Up Close" tours that are narrated by an expert guide. All of the tours are restricted on launch days, so you should check the launch schedule before planning your visit. You can find the Space Shuttle launch schedule on this page: Launch Schedule

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You can watch an actual space launch if you are in the area on the right date. It is possible to park along the highway (with thousands of other spectators) several miles from the cape and see the rocket liftoff and disappear into space. You can no longer get passes that permit you to park along the causeway on the cape due to new security precautions. If you are really eager to see a launch up-close, you can go to the Space Center web site and purchase one of the limited number of launch viewing passes that allow you to view the launch from a special visitors area on the cape.

This is a great attraction for children and adults alike. It is only a bit more than an hour drive from Orlando and the Disney World complex. I enthusiastically recommend a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. Everyone should see it at least one time.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: A space shuttle on display at the Kennedy Space Center.