Field Trip Friday: Kennedy Space Center

Our family had the opportunity to visit Florida last month and we had a wonderful time! The primary purposes of our trip were to visit some family in Daytona Beach and to visit Disney World. However, my husband has always wanted to take the children to visit Kennedy Space Center, and so I purchased tickets to the Space Center for his Christmas gift and worked out an extra day in Florida.  I am so glad that I did, not only did he really appreciate it, the children had a lot of fun and learned so much.

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I am a planner by nature but honestly I did very little planning for this trip because I wanted to allow my husband to show the children the things that were most important to him. When we arrived we looked over the map and schedules and decided to start with the bus tour and a visit to the Apollo/Saturn V center. The bus tour was a really great way to get an idea for the scope and scale of these rockets and the complex. From the bus we were able to see various launch pads, a SpaceX rocket that was going to launch in a couple of weeks, the crawlers that move the rockets, and the enormous building where the rockets are build and stored (with the largest doors in the world).

The tour ended over at the Apollo/Saturn V center. There we were able to to see various memorabilia including space suits worn on the moon, a real piece of moon rock, and more. My children’s favorite was Alan Shepard’s space suit. We also had fun letting the children dress in space suits and take pictures on a green screen. The pictures were then put onto ‘space’ backdrops making them look like they were on the moon or hanging out in space. There was a lunar module and ‘moonscape’ that you could view.  There was also a movie available at this location. There was a restaurant with sandwiches, pizza, and salads.


Next, we caught the bus back over the the main center to check out all of the other buildings and exhibits.  We went over the the Atlantis building where we started with a short video, I don’t want to give too many spoilers but the video was great and ended with a wonderful surprise. Then we had the opportunity to take a good look at the space shuttle Atlantis.  Also located in this building were lots of interactive exhibits. There was a even a slide and a play area modeled after the International Space Station. There were interactive video games and virtual reality stations where you could learn about the space shuttles. There is also a Shuttle Launch Simulator for those that are 44 inches and taller. My son and husband enjoyed this experience. Also located in this building is a beautiful memorial to those that died in the Challenger and Columbia crashes.

While my son and husband were in the Shuttle Launch Simulator, the rest of decided to take a break with a bit of ice cream and try out the play area. This area was designed for younger children (I believe it was 10 and under) and provided a great place for them to play and explore in the shade.

There was a small building dedicated to the new Mars program which included an interesting live talk, virtual reality, various movies, and a prototype Mars Rover. My daughter also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with real astronaut, Tom Jones, and have him autograph his book, Ask the Astronaut.

Another wonderful exhibit was the Heroes and Legends building. This building had exhibits and interactive displays about various astronauts and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.  My children enjoyed learning more about the astronauts that we had studied prior to our arrival and learned about throughout the day.  Finally, we also walked through a ‘garden’ of shuttles and rockets that showed the progress through the history of the space program. We did not get a chance to see it, but several times a day they do guided tours through the garden.

There is a lot to see at Kennedy Space Center and I would advise you to plan on a full day and possibly two days depending on your level of interest and if you wanted to add on any of the special tours. In addition to the various attractions that we visited there are several movies, including and I-max, that are included with your admission. There is also a small museum related to the national park on which the space center is located.

Overall, we really enjoyed out trip to the Kennedy Space Center and would love to go back in a couple of years and spend a little more time exploring and learning about the space program. Prior to going we listened to Heroes of History: Alan Shepard, and I think that helped my children really make connections to what they were seeing. Since we have returned home, they are independently reading and listening to a variety of books about space.


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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex,

Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953

Hours of Operation:

seven days a week, year-round, Open at 9am (closing time varies by season)

Costs: $57 adults (12+) Children (3-11) $47 ( I also recommend looking online for discounts, we found several for the dates we were going,)


Food: There are several restaurants as well as snacks available for purchase.

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