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Author Topic:   KSC Visitor Complex: Trip tips and suggestions
Headshot
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From: Streamwood, IL USA
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posted 12-01-2014 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have never been to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, but will have a brief, maybe one-day opportunity in early January. Do any cSers have recommendations on what I should see during my little whirlwind visit?

My interest lies in Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, although I will try to see the space shuttle display. I am more interested in seeing vintage flight hardware than the Vehicle Assembly Building, LC 39A or B.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

p51
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posted 12-01-2014 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The current bus tour goes up to the outer fences of 39A and B, closer than ever before. ALL tours end at the Saturn V building. If you're really pressed for time, when you get off that bus at the Saturn V building, go through the gift shop exit to the left of where everyone else is going and avoid the multimedia thing that takes a while...

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 12-01-2014 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn V center and the Atlantis shuttle display are a must. The visitor center also has a good selection of Mercury and Gemini hardware as does the Astronaut Hall of Fame just 5 minutes down the road.

Greggy_D
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posted 12-01-2014 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Both replies above are superb. You are going to be pressed for time since there is a lot to see at KSC.

tlifan2
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posted 12-01-2014 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tlifan2   Click Here to Email tlifan2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you have a few minute to spare, take a quick glance at Atlantis. I recommend going in through the gift shop instead of the main entrance to the Atlantis exhibit. Walking straight through the gift shop will take you right to the shuttle itself.

Also take a look at the Mercury Control Center near the entrance to the visitor center. It was relocated from the original site on the Cape and, if you look on the wall behind you when you are viewing the control room, you will see one of the NASA meatballs that adorned the actual building.

GACspaceguy
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posted 12-02-2014 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arrive at 9 a.m. as that is the opening, closes at 6 p.m. this time of year and between Dec 26-30 it is open until 7 p.m. Buses to the Saturn V building do not start until 10 a.m. so you have time to take in the exhibits at the Visitor Center. (You can do a quick walking tour and come back later if you have time, only you will know what is best for you it that regard.)

When you go in take an immediate left to the Debus building to see a number of cool items, Apollo spacesuit, Gemini IX spacecraft, an unflown Mercury spacecraft and the Mercury Mission Control room. Come out, walk through the rocket park and take in the sights but do not miss standing beside the F-1 engine and walk through the Apollo swing arm to the White Room, the same walk the Apollo 11 astronaut took on the way to the moon.

Make your way to the Atlantis building from there but swing into the IMAX building as they were doing a new display last time I was there in October and it may be complete by now. You can see what movies and the time they are playing in case that is something you can or want to fit in (they do take some time though). You will also pass the Memorial Mirror so walk up the hill for that. Now you must decide if it is the Atlantis building or the buses first. I would do Atlantis and go in though the gift shop and come back to do the Launch Experience and the actual Atlantis entrance when you come back off the bus.

On the way to the buses stick your head in the Space Shop to see what astronaut will be there in the afternoon and what time, as they typically do a free signing opportunity in the late afternoon, the shop is the last thing that closes so it should be the last thing on your list to do and then you will not be carrying things around all day with the potential to lose them as well.

On the bus do the tour they give you but when they stop at the Saturn V building (you will be switching buses at the Gantry stop and the Saturn V building) make sure you spend some time in there as they have a couple of "show" type attractions. Also, and I say this only as some have missed it, make sure you go inside the room where Apollo 14 CM is on display as well as other items and spacesuits. It will be in the "vault" door just past the store on the left as you are walking toward the CSM display.

Once you come back to the visitor center you must then decide for yourself what you will spend your time on. If you plan on going to the Astronaut Hall of Fame (Wally’s Sigma 7 spacecraft is there as well as Gus’ spacesuit) know that it now opens at noon but closes at 5 p.m. and it will take about a 20 minutes, or more, based on where you parked at KSC and how long the walk is also if there is a boat going under the draw bridge.

Hope this helps a little.

sev8n
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posted 12-02-2014 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
Hope this helps a little.

That helps a lot. Wish I'd had this info when I went back in '12, although I did get to go in the VAB that day and see Atlantis and Endeavour.

Skythings
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posted 12-02-2014 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skythings   Click Here to Email Skythings     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My last visit to KSC was for the Nov 30, 2000 night launch of STS-97 so please keep in mind that my opinion here is very dated. I had the opportunity to do most of the tours over three days at that time. There are just so many interesting things to see. No matter what tour you take, you will not be disappointed. You will drive by and see so many historical places and artifacts that it won't much matter.

The one tour which I was most surprised with was the "Cape Then & Now Tour." The tour took us to the original Cape Canaveral Air Force Station south of the river and along the east Atlantic coastline. We saw the original Hangar S where the Mercury program was based, the old block houses and Gemini launch sites, the astronaut beach house, the lighthouse. We stopped at the original launch site where Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom launched in the Redstone rockets. They took us on foot right up to original launch table. You stand right right there and touch and feel the place where the first US Spaceflights departed. You see the blast lines in the concrete and the guides do a great job of telling inside stories of the people of the day. One sobering stop was at Launch Complex 34, the site of the Apollo 1 fire. You were able to walk around the existing structure while the tour guide tells the story of Apollo 1, the fire, the investigation and how the fire affected the future Apollo missions.

There was a stop at an old museum with Mercury capsules, Goddard rockets, Chimp hardware, an old rocket garden where I was able to walk up to an original old Atlas rocket lying on its side. Touch and feel. Boilerplates etc. The tour ends at the Saturn V Building which is a must see.

Like I said, I'm sure it has changed since I took it, but looking at their website it still exists and would be my recommendation to you.

alanh_7
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posted 12-02-2014 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For a one day visit, I would do the standard tour. Saturn V museum (don't miss the eagle nest on the way out the causeway), the rocket garden, Debus Center and of course Atlantis which is spectacular. I always take a quick visit to the memorial wall as well. That's a pretty full day.

I just did the Then and Now Tour in November and it is well worth doing. But it is likely for someone who has been the KSC and looking for something different.

p51
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posted 12-02-2014 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem with the hall of fame is that it's open only from about noon until before the main center closes. If you leave the main visitor center, you'd have to pay to park there again if you go back the same day.

I was disappointed with the hall of fame when I was there in October, several displays I saw there in 2011 were no longer there and the gift shop was totally empty and sealed off. There ARE some cool things to see at the hall of fame for displays, but if it's a matter of seeing the hall of fame or something cool at the main center (such as Atlantis), I'd say bag the hall of fame completely.

I disagree on going on the Shuttle Launch Experience ride IF you're really pressed for time. That ride takes a while in lines and going through it. It's cool, but not, "I missed seeing something historical because of the ride," cool.

KSC is a horrible place to do quickly due to all the neat stuff there is to see there. I was lucky in October as I had three solid days to see everything I wanted, with two good space fan pals. We also hit the Valliant Air Command museum at the Tico airport one morning, which we all really enjoyed. It's a place many people drive right on by and don't realize when a good museum it really is...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-02-2014 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
I was disappointed with the hall of fame...
A new Astronaut Hall of Fame facility and expanded museum is set to open on the main campus of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in 2016.

ea757grrl
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posted 12-02-2014 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was there in March and did the Visitors Center in a much-compressed two hours. Let me add my voice to those saying "do not miss the Atlantis exhibit under any circumstances." It is superb. Give yourself plenty of time to examine all the exhibits with Atlantis. There's a lot to see (and photograph) and it's all done first-rate.

The exhibits in the Debus Center are always a must. I was also lucky to catch the Astronaut Encounter right when Bob Springer was on his way in. Even if you know the stories (and you very well may, since it's for a general audience), it's still neat to hear them being told first-person.

Do the Space Shop last and give yourself a little time. Much of it is touristy/souvenir stuff, but there are some gems to be had, too. Books are on the second floor and the selection's pretty decent.

I've never done the bus tours, so I'll let others speak on that. I did stop at the Hall of Fame on the drive out, and it's well worth a quick visit if you'll have the time once it opens for the day. The exhibits there are pure catnip for space enthusiasts, but the museum itself needed some love when I was there. I'm glad to know it's getting a new home.

Whatever else you do, have a great time. Even a rushed visit to KSC is well worth it.

p51
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posted 12-02-2014 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
A new Astronaut Hall of Fame facility and expanded museum is set to open on the main campus of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in 2016.
I didn't realize that, it all makes sense now. I wonder what'll happen to that massive Al Bean mural in that building though...

mjanovec
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posted 12-02-2014 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The OP said his interest lies with Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo...so I STRONGLY recommend doing the Cape Canaveral Then and Now tour. They only do one tour a day with limited seating on the bus, so you really should book it in advance.

This is what I would do: Arrive at the opening of the Visitor's Center and head straight to the launch experience (for the shortest wait time), then see Atlantis, visit the astronaut memorial mirror, visit the rocket garden, and then go the Debus Center to see the Mercury consoles and the Gemini IX capsule. If there is any time to kill before the Cape tour, perhaps wander through the main gift shop or check out an IMAX movie. Then take the Cape tour, which will end up at the Saturn V center (where you'll see the Apollo 14 Command Module and other artifacts from M-G-A). That will be a full day...and it will allow you to see as many M-G-A sites and artifacts as possible in one visit.

Remember, if you want to see where the first US satellite launched (Pad 26), where Alan Shepard launched (Pad 5), where John Glenn launched (Pad 14), where the Gemini missions launched (Pad 19), and also visit Pad 34, where the Apollo 1 fire occurred (and where Apollo 7 launched), your ONLY option is the Then and Now tour. Entering the old block houses at Pad 26 and Pad 5 is like stepping back 50+ years in time. (The entire place is like a time capsule full of vintage hardware.) And standing under the launch pedastal at Pad 34 is a truly haunting experience...miles from the gift shops and shrill commercialism of the Visitor's Center. You can feel the history while standing there.

Headshot
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posted 12-04-2014 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the great inputs. They have given me a good idea of some of the things that we can see.

Unfortunately, our schedule will be determined by how fast we can all get up, have breakfast, and drop the kids off at the Disney theme park of their choice. Then we will hightail it to KSC. Atlantis is a must (can't wait to see my wife's reaction) and I am strongly leaning towards the Then & Now Tour, although I afraid it will depress me.

Weather and time will dictate the rest.

p51
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posted 12-04-2014 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, you really WILL be pressed for time. I think you need to forget doing any of the extra tours at all and focus only on what's at the visitor center, see all that, and only then do the normal bus tour if you have time before you have to head back.

Going there with someone who isn't as motivated as you is pure torture, though, so it's good you're ditching the kids (though a kid who wouldn't like KSC must have something wrong with them, I would've preferred KSC over Disney even when I was a kid). I was there in 2011 with my wife and elderly parents. I missed far more than I actually got to see on that trip.

mikepf
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posted 12-04-2014 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the kids won't enjoy it, best advice is to do as you are, dropping them off somewhere else if that is an option. My then 8 year old daughter was miserable on my one and only visit to KSC. Made it hard for me to enjoy the experience. It was only when we got to the food court that she cheered up. Though we brought snacks, she wouldn't tell us she was hungry. Enjoy your trip!

mjanovec
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posted 12-04-2014 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
I think you need to forget doing any of the extra tours at all and focus only on what's at the visitor center...
I suggest the opposite. If pressed for time, do the Then and Now tour, since that will end up at the Saturn V Center (a place you must visit regardless, since it has the most artifacts). And then see Atlantis either before or after the tour, depending on available time (try to see it before, if possible). If there is additional time beyond that, see the exhibits at the Debus building.

Beyond that, I would minimize my time at the Visitor's Center, unless you have a love for trinkets at gift shops, overpriced hot dogs, and screaming children.

Headshot
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posted 12-04-2014 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the way down we are stopping at Huntsville, Alabama and the kids (teenagers) will get their fill of space at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center... non-attendance is not an option. Forcing them to visit KSC too would be a waste of time, money and cause family problems. My wife is not a huge Disney fan, so going to KSC will be a nice break for her.

mf451
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posted 12-11-2014 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mf451   Click Here to Email mf451     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just did the Then and Now tour last weekend and I would recommend it. However, a few things to note:
  • The blockhouse at Pad 5 is currently closed for renovations. The Pad 26 blockhouse is still open and great, but the other isn't currently part of the tour. You still go out onto Pad 5, however.

  • The tour no longer stops at Pad 19. Apparently the road is in too much disrepair to travel on. Nor did we stop at Pad 14. You stop at a Mercury program memorial nearby instead. This was rather disappointing.

  • When you are at the Air Force museum rocket garden (where Pad 26 is), you don't have a ton of time, so move fast. Make sure to high tail it to the Gemini white room at the far end of the field. You can get inside, but not up the stairs. It's still pretty cool, though. Most people on the tour missed this because they didn't realize we had such little time, or what it was. (The guide mentioned it on the way out...)

  • Pad 34 is still great, though the guide kept yelling at us about taking photos towards Pad 37, where ETF-1 had just launched from, which is right next to it. Apparently that is a restricted area.

  • You will also drive by a lot of the historic Cape Canaveral hangars, including the hangar that generated so much controversy about it's demolition.
Anyways, I'm still glad I took the tour, but it seemed a little less comprehensive than it used to be. Have fun!

Headshot
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posted 01-11-2015 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again, thanks for all the suggestions, we had a marvelous trip.

My wife and I hit KSC on one of their busiest days of the year! I thought that Disney was crowded, but it seemed that all the people who could not get into Disney, went to KSC that day. Of course all guided tours were booked, so only the basics were left for us, but that was enough for me... for the time being.

I was surprised that spotting the VAB for the first time, even from a distance, brought up emotions for which I was not prepared. THERE IT IS! An anchor point to America's space exploration past and future. I almost pulled of the side of the road to just stare.

I enjoyed the visitor's center to no end and was wowed by Atlantis. The exhibit and presentation of the orbiter is impeccable. Had I still been shooting film, Kodak stock would have soared through the roof.

I was disappointed by the condition of the Gemini 9A spacecraft. There were so many pieces inside the cockpit that were missing, I wonder why they bothered to display it. It reminded me of a car that had been recently abandoned in a bad part of NYC, but without any graffiti. The gal at the information desk did not even know it was on the premises.

Buses were running constantly and it still took us 30 minutes to get on one to the Saturn V center. The exhibits there were good, but similar to Huntsville as there are not many different ways to display a Saturn V. Knowing this one was REAL, made a difference though. I did find myself wishing that it was not there, but lying at the bottom of the ocean after actually launching an Apollo mission. It still seems such a damn waste to build it and not use it.

I took a long time studying the Lunar Module hanging from the ceiling. Again, knowing it was not a model or mock-up gave it a very special aura.

The really nice thing about our trip to KSC is that when we went back to the hotel room, our kids had had a great day too.

It does not get better than that.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2015 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
It still seems such a damn waste to build it and not use it.
If it is any consolation, only the second and third stages are flight articles. The first stage is a test article and was used for what it was built for before going on display (though two of its engines are now mockups).

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 01-12-2015 02:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
It reminded me of a car that had been recently abandoned in a bad part of NYC, but without any graffiti.
Many spacecraft components were reused on other spacecraft, or for testing, a practice that continued on to the space shuttle. Speaking of NYC, one wouldn't be able to see it ordinarily because there is no way to publically access the flight deck, but there are Enterprise-era instruments displayed outside of the orbiter. I say Enterprise-era because no one knows for sure whether those instruments shown on the cockpit panels actually flew on Enterprise, as they came in one big box, so the story goes. You'd probably also be disappointed by that.

I prefer not to look at it not as an abandoned car, but as something that made later spaceflight possible. NASA's mission is not to make pretty display artifacts, but to make successful spaceflights.

alanh_7
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posted 01-12-2015 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's all about funding. Many of these spacecraft have been in the same display shells for many years with the funding to secure their upkeep.

p51
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posted 01-12-2015 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
Again, thanks for all the suggestions, we had a marvelous trip.
Did any of the advice written here come in handy?

Headshot
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posted 01-13-2015 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, the various pieces of advice I received from these posts were very useful, even though our schedule (and conditions) did not allow us to take full advantage of them.

I had no idea that the week after Christmas was SO popular. Some of the staff at the KSC Visitor Center said they expected large crowds, but still seemed shell-shocked by the onslaught of humanity. The bus drivers were happy that they were putting in extra hours though.

Next time I will make it a point to go on the Then and Now Tour (and buy tickets in advance) and whatever other tours might be available.

Lunar Module 5
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posted 02-07-2016 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar Module 5   Click Here to Email Lunar Module 5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Without getting too complicated, what do cS members believe is the best package to buy for a tour of Kennedy Space Center?

It's my 50th this year and I am being treated to a trip to the USA and KSC. Looking at the tours available I am unsure which would be the best... I have one day there and so it's probably the only day I will ever be there!

I want to see Atlantis and the Saturn V but would like to see the MCC and Mercury sites too. Which package?

All advice will be gratefully received!

Editor's note: Threads merged.

alanh_7
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posted 02-07-2016 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think you can get all that in in one day. At least not the Mercury sites AND MCC.

You will want to see Atlantis for sure. It's a must see. And you will want to see the Saturn V museum. I always stop a few minutes at the Memorial Wall. It's not far from the Atlantis exhibit. I always stop at the Rocket Garden as well. And to see Gemini IX-A.

Tony Guidry
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posted 02-07-2016 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tony Guidry   Click Here to Email Tony Guidry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having visited KSC many times over the past 30 years, I have to agree that, due to the way they are scheduled, it is nearly impossible to do all the tours in one day. I would recommend that you plan on arriving early (the Visitor Complex normally opens at 9:00 a.m. each morning), purchase the Daily Admission ticket and the KSC Up Close: Cape Canaveral Then and Now Tour ticket. These two tickets will set you back $75.00.

Keep in mind that the Cape Canaveral Then and Now Tour was discontinued last year due to security reasons, but is being offered again, starting this week on Thursdays through Sundays only at 12:20 p.m. As I recall, it lasts about three hours.

Spend the morning visiting the Rocket Garden, the Atlantis exhibit and whatever else interests you at the Visitor Complex. Spend the afternoon on the tour where you will make stops at the old Mercury, Gemini and early Apollo launch sites and then pass by Launch Complex 39. The tour normally concludes at the Apollo/Saturn V center where the bus will drop you off, and you can spend as much time there as you want, viewing the exhibits, and then take the next available bus back to the Visitor Complex.

The only major attractions missing from this schedule would be the interior of the Launch Control Center and the Shuttle Landing Facility. These are offered on other special Up Close tours, which, again due to scheduling conflicts, would likely have to taken on separate days. Rest assured that when you leave the KSC Visitor Complex that afternoon, you will want to rename it like the Walt Disney World theme park, EPCOT! (Every Person Comes Out Tired!) Regardless, it is a wonderful experience and well worth every penny and every footstep! Hope this info helps!

Ben
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posted 02-07-2016 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then Then & Now tour is the one you want (and in my opinion the best tour anyway, certainly for any true space buff). You will see everything you desire that way. It ends at the Saturn V center. Atlantis is at the visitor complex itself.

oly
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posted 02-08-2016 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I made this trip last year, we travelled in March/April, the weather was fantastic and the crowds were small. As we drove towards KSC along NASA causeway and first saw the VAB I was taken back with feeling of excitement. There was a structure that signified the Apollo and Shuttle eras that every space nut can relate to. As you get closer it keeps getting bigger.

Plan on getting to the KSC visitors centre early, about 8:30. You need to pay for parking. If you only plan on a day visit then your day will be busy. There are a few options on tickets so research the website and be familiar with the options. We went with the annual pass for a few reasons.

As tempting as all the exhibits are as you enter, we made our way straight to the bus for the standard tour via VAB (it got bigger) and crawlerway out to pads 39 A/B.

This is a lot to take in for space nuts.

The bus continues on to the Saturn V centre and you enter via the launch control room display. This gets you primed for the whole Apollo experience.

Make sure your camera is charged and you have spare memory cards. I was like a kid in a candy store. There is a lot to take in here and you will want to take your time. This will take a few hours.

The bus takes you back to the visitors centre where you can take in all of this experience. The rocket guarden, the space mirror, the early years, through to the Atlantis experience. The launch experience is a must.

If you are not overwhelmed by now with information overload then you are doing well. This took me until 6pm and by then you're saturated with information. I returned a few days later to do the explore tours, very interesting. You can also revisit the things you want to see again.

I went to the Astronaut Hall of Fame (closed and relocated now I believe) and the Valiant Air Command Museum while still in the area and as a break day, and got to view the SpaceX CRS-6 launch.

This was my experience, my advice is to research the available tickets first, take your time and plan on more than one day. And have fun.

spacecol
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Posts: 14
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Sep 2014

posted 07-25-2017 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecol     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am planning on visiting the Kennedy Space Center and was wondering if anyone has any tips or anyone from the board lives out this way. Thank you for any help.

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David C
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Posts: 675
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 07-25-2017 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Get there early (a good 15 minutes before opening), the queues can really build up in the holidays/on weekends. See what tours are running, plan round those, but I wouldn't attempt more than a couple or you'll probably run out of time as a newbie.

Assuming they're open, you've got to do the Saturn V center and Atlantis.

The shop is nice for trinkets and gifts but not for serious collectors. Some real traps for the unwary. Bring an empty bottle and use the water fountains. Have fun!!!

spacecol
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Posts: 14
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Sep 2014

posted 08-28-2017 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecol     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I went to the Kennedy Space Center, and had a great time. The night before at my hotel, I heard they were going to launch Atlas V Rocket carrying TDRS-M. Incredible experience!

Daniel on the Moon
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Posts: 310
From: Bronxville, NY
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 12-18-2017 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Daniel on the Moon   Click Here to Email Daniel on the Moon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll be on a cruise that stops in Port Canaveral on 1/21/18. I plan on visiting KSC while in port and would like opinions as to what exhibits are a must see. I'll have about 5 hours to explore.

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328KF
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Posts: 1096
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 12-18-2017 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By chance I was just there today with limited time myself. I had the opportunity to interact with Al Worden several times throughout the day and he was great. Make sure to check if there is an astronaut appearance that day. I heard from some others that Jon McBride was around today too.

The historic countdown clock is now at the front entrance and makes a nice photo op. Just as you enter the gates is the new Astronaut Hall of Fame. Some positives and negatives there... I didn't find that it presents things nearly as well as the original facility. Too heavy on the "interactive" and too light on artifacts for space junkies. However, a few things such as Gus's suit and various pilot helmets are much closer to the viewer and you can get all kinds of angles for photos. Take a close look at Deke's Randall Astro knife to see his name and the Mercury 7 symbol engraved.

The Atlantis building is awesome. You just have to see for yourself. On the lower level, be sure to find the Challenger and Columbia gallery.

The bus tour is included and though I've been on it many times over the years, so much has changed it was very engaging. A crawler had just been moved up to the VAB this morning, and work is underway on the launch tower for SLS. Boeing's Spaceliner building is there, and SpaceX's work at 39A is amazing to see. The transporter/erector is an absolutely massive piece of machinery!

Saturn V Center... take time going through the side galleries. Shepard's lunar suit, Kitty Hawk CM, moon rocks, and an interestingly notated Apollo 7 flight plan. Apollo 1 memorial exhibit is at the pointy end of the Saturn V. Well done, but I went through and didn't see the hatches. Came out, asked a KSC guide where they were, and he didn't know! He directed me back to the Atlantis building.

I actually had to look back at Robert's reporting on the opening to find where they were. They are indeed in the display, but behind a large 4-pane video screen (to the left of the crewmember displays) that only occasionally fades out to reveal the hatches. In the lower corner is a countdown "to reveal" but there is no indication of what will be revealed. I watched many visitors walk by without seeing them or recognizing the historic importance of their being presented.

Five hours should be plenty of time to see the highlights. Be prepared for $10 parking, $50 admission, and probably a few hundred bucks in the gift shop. They have definitely upped their game with Under Armour shirts and caps. SpaceX stuff is high-priced for reasons unknown to me. I also noted that among the walls full of patches, the KSC-packaged Gemini patches are the Gene Dorr-designed ones from 2012, priced at $6-7. Enjoy!

MCroft04
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Posts: 1523
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 12-18-2017 09:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agree that there are so many neat things to see at the visitor complex.

I am very grateful that the Apollo 1 hatch is now on display. But I do not like the way it is displayed. I too would have missed the hatch had I not been forewarned that you only get a minute or so with it before it disappears. I would also have missed a great Gemini IV display Ed White's zip gun.

My all time favorite is the Shuttle Crew Emblem for sale in the gift shop. There were only one million made, and to make it even better, it was "Mounted within view of the KSC Launches." How can you pass that up?

Ronpur
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Posts: 1126
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 12-19-2017 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took advantage of my renewed year pass this week. On Thursday, I went to see Jack Lousma at the astronaut encounter. Friday, I got there early to get on the bus to the Banana Creek Viewing Stands to watch the SpaceX launch and landing. It was pretty spectacular.

As if the launch wasn't a big highlight, I went Saturday to do the Fly with an Astronaut, with Jack Lousma. He was fantastic, and they really treat you special on that tour. It was well worth the extra money. Jack told some great stories, and had us all laughing while we learned a great deal.

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