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  Visiting Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral

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Author Topic:   Visiting Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral

Posts: 111
From: Hawaii. Waipahu
Registered: Jun 2006

posted 06-12-2012 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frewi80   Click Here to Email Frewi80     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really do not know where to start.

After years of savings I'm finally ready to make a trip to the U.S. mainland, I was hoping for California (JPL) but since my wife's condition and her sisters live in Florida, the choice is Florida and of course the Cape!! I'm very thrilled to make this trip, after spending almost all my money on my hobby, telescopes, equipment, laptops etc.

Please do not take this message personal, I just wonder what the best thing to do is to visit the Cape Canaveral. I do not want a VIP treatment, but want to see as much as possible since I'm only there once in my lifetime. If you know some people who might be interesting to contact there, that should be a great help, but again I do not want anybody to jump for me or leave their work because I make that visit.

My total trip will be September 15 to October 5, 2012 and really want to make the most of it, I'm really trilled to make this trip. Everything is still 'under construction' but it will be finalized soon I hope.


Posts: 374
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 06-12-2012 05:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would think that it would depend on what you want to see. The Visitor Complex is so vast, you could spend days there. Having been there many times myself, it's always changing and there's always new things to see.

One thing that I'd bet very few will mention though, as a collector, make sure you have a good list of the patches and collectables you have now. The gift shop (or more correctly now, gift shopS) are extensive and have a lot of things in them. That being said, I can't tell you how many times I've come back with duplicates. I now keep a full inventory in my email so I can download and check it from anywhere on my phone. Problem solved (for me anyway).

If there was something to see out on the pad (39A/B particularly), I'd mention that you can get a much closer view of them from the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. When you go up there (from 504 I think?), take the road out toward the beach. There are several places to stop along that road Bio-Med Road is also very interesting to see while you're there.) However, they are now giving tours of the launch towers and Launch Control, so those are good ideas too.

Whatever you do, take lots of pictures! (And share them if you'd like!)

Not to be personal, hope your wife's condition allows her a safe and pleasant trip for both of you!


Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-12-2012 05:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I second Gonzo's advice but turn it toward books. I've come back with duplicates of books already owned!

Take comfortable walking shoes and clothing for the warm climate. Set aside two days for the visitor's center. That will give you enough time to see both Imax movies, do all the tours you want etc. You can book tours in advance.

Set aside a full day for the Astronaut Hall of Fame just up the road. This is another great attraction with, yes, another gift shop! You'll find many souveneirs to your liking at these places.

Regarding pictures get lots with you and your family in the photo. This might sound cheezy but afterward you'll be happy to have these memories.

Have fun!


Posts: 196
From: West Sussex, England
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 06-12-2012 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a fairly frequent visitor to the area I would wholeheartedly recommend:

The FREE Cape Canaveral Air Force Base tour that will give you access to both the museums and the old launch sites. The only downside when I did it was that we did not stop, and get out, at Pad 34. I got the impression that we were running late and on another day you would get some time to yourself there.

Kennedy Space Center with the addition of the Up Close ($20+) tour which gives you access to the VAB. They do run a Then and Now tour ($20+) which roughly mimics the free CCAFB tour but with less time at the museums. Why pay?

The Space Walk of Fame Museum and Foundation in Titusville. Run solely by volunteers it is stuffed with items that will keep you there much longer than the size of the place would indicate. I cannot praise the people enough.

There are several stores selling space goodies in addition to the KSCVC Space Store but one of my favourites is Space World, Merritt island, run by Tom and Jo Foley. Quite small but both of them are lovely people and you can easily spend several hours just chatting. I know, I did on my first visit.

Jay Chladek

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-12-2012 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, if you are used to Hawaii weather, KSC weather probably is about the same. But it can get very hot (in addition to the humidity), so be prepared. Walking shoes, sunscreen and maybe a light weight baseball cap are indeed a must for being outdoors. The weather in September to October can be very nice though the later in the year you get. Plus, it is after the main tourist season. So the crowds are a little lighter and you may get a better chance to see what you want.

I would plan for two days at the Visitors Center and see if you can pre-book some of the tours as they have been adding some new ones (the VAB tour and the LCC tour for instance). You need to get there early if you want to do some of these as they fill up quick and in the case of the "Up Close" tour, you'll be doing it for about half a day. These tours typically end up at the Saturn V center, so don't worry about getting on a bus to go there (since you will end up there anyway).

A pass to the Visitors Center will also get you into the Hall of Fame. It is worth a stop. As for other attractions, the new museum just outside of the CCAFS gate is worth a stop as well to get a nice glimpse of the story of rockets in Florida from the days when KSC didn't exist. I believe a tour to parts of the CCAFS is being offered from there now as well (not sure what day it takes place though).

Valiant Air Command next to the Astronaut Hall of Fame is a nice little air museum to visit if you like aircraft. The Police Hall of Fame periodically has helicopter tours of the area (Valiant used to allow flights in a T-6 Texan and a Stearman biplane, not sure if they do anymore though). Seeing KSC from the air can be very cool.

As for other places, I would skip getting the shirts at the KSC visitors center and head down the road to Space Shirts instead (located south of the KSC south gate, a road from the Visitors Center will get you there). The reason I say that is the shirts at Space Shirts are way cooler and they make them on site (local business, great people, support the local economy). These are the same shirts many of the family members of the astronauts got for launch day. They have a nice library of stuff on hand in all different sizes compared to the meager selection found at the "official" gift shops. So at Space Shirts, you are more likely to find some unique collectibles. Plus, the shirts handle wear and tear quite nicely with good material quality. The stuff I got on my last three launch visits (going back to 2008) is still holding up very well after repeat washings and I usually wear multiple space themed shirts in a given week.

All times are CT (US)

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