The Ultimate Guide: Planning Your Family Visit to The Kennedy Space Center

kennedy space center ultimate guide
by Vacation Central Florida

Kennedy Space Center is a popular tourist attraction in Cape Canaveral, Florida and offers a wide variety of fun and educational activities for families to enjoy. Planning the perfect trip to KSC can be overwhelming and time consuming, especially if you’re trying to make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But with the right tips and itinerary, your family can make the most out of their time there and have the trip of a lifetime. Here’s we will discuss information necessary to help plan the perfect trip to Kennedy Space Center for your family.

How Much Time Should I Plan for Kennedy Space Center?

The short answer: You should expect to spend at least 6 hours at the Visitor Complex. We recommend the full day (9 hours) if you truly want to see everything. Two days could be necessary if you want to have a relaxing, unrushed visit! When planning a trip to the Kennedy Space Center with your family, it’s important to consider how much time you should plan for. With so many attractions and activities, it can be overwhelming to decide what to see and do. In this blog post, we’ll provide some tips and recommendations on how long you should plan to spend at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

One or Two Day Visit
If you only have one day to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, or are coming over for a day trip from Orlando. We recommend spending at least 6 hours there. This will give you enough time to see some of the major attractions without feeling rushed. We suggest starting your day with the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, which takes about an hour to fully explore. From there, head to the Rocket Garden, where you can see a collection of historic rockets and space vehicles. After exploring the Rocket Garden, take a bus tour to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Here you can experience the thrill of the Apollo era and marvel at the massive Saturn V rocket, which took astronauts to the moon. The tour takes about 2 hours, but it's worth it to see the Lunar Theater and the various exhibits that chronicle the Apollo missions.

Once you're back from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, make sure to grab a quick bite to eat at one of the many dining options available on site. After lunch, head over to the IMAX Theater to catch one of the incredible space films. This is a great way to rest your feet while also learning more about space exploration. After the movie, visit the Astronaut Memorial and the Heroes and Legends exhibit, which celebrates the pioneers of space travel. The Astronaut Memorial is a must-visit for anyone interested in space exploration. The memorial honors the brave astronauts who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration, including the crews of Apollo 1 and Space Shuttle Challenger. It's a solemn yet inspiring experience that reminds visitors of the risks and rewards of pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.

The Heroes and Legends exhibit, on the other hand, showcases the triumphs of space travel, from the early days of the Mercury missions to the cutting-edge technology of today's space programs. Visitors can see artifacts and memorabilia from some of the most iconic moments in space history, including Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 capsule and Neil Armstrong's spacesuit. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to experience what it's like to launch into space and walk on the moon, making this a must-see attraction for space enthusiasts of all ages. Finally, end your day by exploring the interactive exhibits at the Exploration Space attraction. Here you can learn about the future of space exploration and even create your own Mars habitat. By the time you're finished, you'll have a newfound appreciation for the history and future of space travel.

Overall, six hours may not be enough time to see everything at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, but it's definitely enough to get a taste of the incredible history and innovation that has taken place there.

If you have two days to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, we suggest breaking up your visit into two different itineraries. On day one, focus on the attractions that are geared towards younger children, such as the Character Appearance and Planet Play exhibits. After lunch, head to Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame presented by Boeing, which takes about an hour to explore. Then, spend the afternoon at the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, which includes the Shuttle Launch Experience and takes about 2 hours to fully experience. On day two, explore the remaining exhibits and attractions that are geared towards older children and adults. Start off by visiting the Rocket Garden, which features a collection of historic rockets and missiles. From there, head to the Space Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry to catch a glimpse of where NASA launches its rockets into space. If you're interested in learning about the history of space exploration, take some time to explore the Early Space Exploration exhibit. Finally, cap off your visit with a trip to the Astronaut Training Experience, where you can train like an astronaut and experience a simulated spacewalk.

Kennedy Space Center Hours

If you're planning a family trip to the Kennedy Space Center, it's important to make sure you have all the necessary information before you go. One of the most critical pieces of information you'll need is the operating hours for the Visitor Complex. Here's everything you need to know about Kennedy Space Center hours:

Operating Hours:
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM. Last admission to the Visitor Complex is at 4 PM. The center is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit the Kennedy Space Center is on a weekday around 9 or 10 AM, when the Visitor Complex opens. Additionally, the months of May and October are the best time to plan a visit as the temperature is pleasant and crowds are less during this time. Visitors who come to the Kennedy Space Center during these months can enjoy a wide range of activities and exhibits without feeling overwhelmed by the heat or the crowds.

Duration of Visit:
If you want to see everything at the Visitor Complex, you should expect to spend at least 6 hours there. We recommend spending the full day (9 hours) if you have the time. You could also split the Kennedy Space Center over the course of two full days. This will give you ample time to explore all the exhibits and attractions without feeling rushed. There is so much to see and do at the Visitor Complex that you won't want to miss anything. One of the highlights of a visit to the Kennedy Space Center is the chance to see real-life rockets and spacecraft up close. You can even touch a moon rock that was brought back by the Apollo missions! In addition to the exhibits, there are also several IMAX movies and interactive experiences that will give you a deeper understanding of space exploration. And don't forget to take a bus tour of the launch pads and other important sites at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. It's an unforgettable experience that you won't want to miss!

Kennedy Space Center Tickets and Tours

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, located in Cape Canaveral Florida. Offers a variety of ticket options and add-on enhancements to create the best experience for your next visit! From 1-day admission tickets to senior discounts and 2-day admission tickets, there's something for everyone. In addition to these options, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also offers a range of special tours and experiences that are sure to delight space enthusiasts of all ages. For instance, you can sign up for the "Explore Tour," which takes visitors on a behind-the-scenes journey to areas of the center not typically open to the public. Or, if you're looking for something truly out-of-this-world, consider the "Astronaut Training Experience," where you can train like a real astronaut with immersive simulations and hands-on activities. These add-on enhancements are the perfect way to take your visit to the next level and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Bus Tour

The Bus Tour is one of the main attractions offered at Kennedy Space Center. This tour takes visitors behind the gates and much further than the actual Visitor Center. It is the only tour that will allow you to see NASA's genuine launch pads and official facilities. The tour is approximately 2 hours long, and it includes stops at the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. This tour is suitable for all ages, but keep in mind that some children may find it a bit long and tiring. The Bus Tour is a must-do experience for space enthusiasts and anyone who wants to learn more about NASA's space missions. As you board the bus, you will be given an overview of the Kennedy Space Center's history and its role in space exploration. The tour guide is knowledgeable and passionate about space, and they will answer all your questions throughout the journey.

The first stop on the tour is the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry, where you will get a panoramic view of the launch pads that were used for the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions. You will be amazed by the sheer size of the launch pads and the equipment used to launch the rockets into space. The next stop is the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is one of the largest buildings in the world by volume. The building was constructed in the 1960s to assemble the Saturn V rocket for the Apollo missions. Today, it is used to assemble NASA's new Space Launch System rocket. You will get a chance to see the inside of the building and get a sense of the scale of the rockets.

Finally, the tour ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where you will see the actual Saturn V rocket that was used to launch the Apollo missions to the moon. The center has interactive exhibits, including a moon rock sample that you can touch, and a simulation of the Apollo 11 mission.

Overall, the Bus Tour is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for NASA's achievements and the wonders of space exploration.

Behind the Scenes Tour

The Behind the Scenes Tour is an exclusive tour that offers visitors a unique perspective on the behind-the-scenes work that goes into launching rockets into space. This tour takes visitors to areas that are not accessible to the general public and offers a chance to meet with NASA experts. The tour is approximately 4 hours long and includes stops at the Launch Control Center, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Launch Pad 39B. This tour is recommended for adults and older children who have a deeper interest in space exploration. During the tour, visitors will get to witness the intricate processes involved in rocket assembly and testing. They will also learn about the history of space exploration and NASA's plans for future missions. The experienced guides will provide detailed explanations and answer any questions visitors may have along the way. The tour culminates with a visit to Launch Pad 39B, where visitors can see the launch site up close and imagine what it must be like to witness a rocket launch in person. Overall, the Behind the Scenes Tour is an unforgettable experience that offers a rare glimpse into the fascinating world of space exploration.

Cape Canaveral Early Space Tour

The Cape Canaveral Early Space Tour is a guided tour that takes visitors to the historic sites that played a significant role in the early days of space exploration. This tour includes stops at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, and the Launch Complex 26. The tour is approximately 4 hours long and is suitable for visitors of all ages. During the tour, visitors get a chance to witness some of the significant events and missions that happened during the early days of space exploration. The knowledgeable tour guides share fascinating stories and insights about the various exhibits and artifacts on display at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. At the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, visitors can climb up to the top of the tower for breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding areas. The Launch Complex 26 is another highlight of the tour, where visitors can learn about the first American satellite launch and the role it played in the Cold War. This guided tour is an excellent opportunity for space enthusiasts to explore the history of space exploration and gain a new perspective on what it takes to explore the unknown.


Kennedy Space Center Launch Schedule

Are you planning a visit to the Kennedy Space Center with your family and wondering how to catch a launch?

Where to Find the Launch Schedule

The Kennedy Space Center’s launch schedule can be found on their official website or social media accounts. You can find the latest schedule of launches that includes the date, time, and type of rocket launch. The website also provides additional information related to launches like viewing locations, directions, and parking options. NASA, SpaceX, and other Space Exploration companies soon to be launching rockets out of Cape Canaveral will have their own schedules. Please make sure to check their websites and social media accounts for updated launch times.

Arrive Early on Launch Day

On launch day, make sure to arrive early at the Kennedy Space Center to secure a good viewing spot. Gates open several hours before the launch, so plan accordingly. Don't forget to bring chairs, blankets, and sunscreen, as the Florida sun can be intense. You may also want to bring some snacks and drinks to enjoy while waiting for the launch. It's important to stay hydrated, especially if you plan on spending several hours in the sun. Additionally, consider bringing a camera or binoculars to get a better view of the rocket as it takes off. If you're traveling with children, be sure to pack some activities to keep them entertained during the wait. And most importantly, don't forget to bring your excitement and sense of wonder as you witness the incredible feat of human space exploration.

Popular Rocket Launch Viewing Locations

If you're planning a trip to the Kennedy Space Center with your family, one of the highlights is witnessing a rocket launch. The thrill of seeing a spacecraft blast off into the sky is an unforgettable experience. Luckily, there are several popular viewing locations near the Kennedy Space Center that provide a unique perspective on rocket launches. Here are some tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect viewing experience.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: This is the closest public viewing location, and it offers a variety of ticketed launch viewing options. You can watch from the main visitor complex or reserve a spot at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which is even closer to the launch pad.

Playalinda Beach: Located within the Canaveral National Seashore, Playalinda Beach offers an excellent view of launches from Launch Complex 39A and 39B. It's one of the closest public viewing locations to the launch pads, but be aware that the beach may close for certain launches due to safety reasons.

Jetty Park: Situated in Port Canaveral, Jetty Park offers a great view of launches from both the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. There's a beach, a fishing pier, and a campground, which makes it an excellent spot for a day trip or an extended stay.

Max Brewer Bridge: The A. Max Brewer Bridge, also known as the Titusville Bridge, is a popular location for viewing launches. The bridge offers a high vantage point with unobstructed views of the Kennedy Space Center.

Space View Park: Located in Titusville, Space View Park offers a clear view of launches across the Indian River. This park is dedicated to the U.S. space program and has monuments, plaques, and displays related to various space missions.

Rotary Riverfront Park: Also in Titusville, Rotary Riverfront Park is another popular viewing location along the Indian River. It offers a playground, picnic facilities, and a boardwalk for a comfortable launch-viewing experience.

Titusville Playhouse
For those who prefer an indoor viewing experience, the Titusville Playhouse is a great option. Located in downtown Titusville, the theater hosts a launch viewing party for each SpaceX launch. The party includes food, drinks, and live commentary from experts. Tickets are required and sell out quickly, so be sure to book in advance.

Please note that the availability of these viewing locations may depend on the specific launch, security measures, and local regulations. It's a good idea to check the Kennedy Space Center website, local news, or forums for the most up-to-date information on rocket launch viewing locations and any possible restrictions or closures.


Visiting Kennedy Space Center with Kids:

Planning Your Trip to the Kennedy Space Center with Kids

If you're planning a family trip to Orlando, or Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Visiting the Kennedy Space Center with kids is an experience you won't want to miss. With its interactive exhibits, movies, and rocket exhibits, this educational attraction is perfect for families interested in science, space, and American history. To make the most of your visit to the Kennedy Space Center, plan ahead and consider adding one of the special activities mentioned above. There are plenty of places to stay in the area, and you can easily fill up your whole day exploring the top attractions. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is an exciting destination for families interested in space and science. Its interactive exhibits and attractions offer a fun and educational experience for all ages, making it a must-visit on your next family vacation to Orlando.

What Age Is Best For Kennedy Space Center?

While there are activities for younger kids at Planet Play, it's recommended that children aged 5 and up fully understand and appreciate this experience. This indoor attraction is both fun and educational, making it a great addition to your itinerary. At Planet Play, children are encouraged to explore and take risks in a safe and interactive environment. They can climb, jump, slide and crawl through a variety of obstacles that challenge their physical abilities and problem-solving skills. At the same time, they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through hands-on exhibits and experiments. For example, they can build structures with blocks, test the properties of water, or experiment with magnets and circuits. The staff at Planet Play are well-trained in child development and education, and they are happy to answer any questions or provide guidance to both children and parents. With its combination of entertainment and learning, Planet Play is sure to be a highlight of your family's trip.

What to Do at the Kennedy Space Center With Kids?

There are plenty of attractions to visit at the Kennedy Space Center, so it's important to plan ahead to ensure you don't miss anything. Here are some of the top things to do with kids:

1. Explore the history of space exploration through interactive exhibits and movies.
2. Visit the rocket exhibits, including the Saturn V Rocket.
3. Meet an Astronaut of the Day and get an autograph and photo.
4. Attend a live rocket launch.
5. Participate in space camps and educational programs.
6. Touch a moon rock or ride the Space Launch Experience.
7. Take a bus tour to see launch pads, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and other behind-the-scenes areas.
8. Attend a simulated space mission and experience life as an astronaut.
9. Enjoy a meal with an astronaut and hear firsthand stories about space travel.
10. Watch a 3D space film in the IMAX theater.

The Kennedy Space Center offers a wide range of activities that are both educational and exciting for kids of all ages. Whether you're interested in the history of space exploration or want to experience what it's like to be an astronaut, there's something for everyone. By planning ahead and choosing your activities carefully, you can make the most of your visit and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Interactive and Educational Programs

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides exciting educational opportunities for students in the areas of STEM. Through various programs and field trips, students can explore authentic NASA science, technology, engineering, and math, inspiring them to become the next generation of space explorers. One of the most popular programs offered by the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX). This immersive program allows students to experience what it's like to train like a real astronaut. Participants get to complete simulated space missions, learn about the science behind space travel, and even experience zero-gravity conditions. Additionally, the complex offers a range of interactive exhibits that allow students to explore space science in a hands-on way. From the Rocket Garden to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, there's something for everyone at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Exploration Meets Education

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers several educational programs that support the National Science Standards and NASA STEM initiatives, including field trips, private educational programs, Overnight Adventures, Camp KSC®, and more. The field trips offered by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex are a great way for students to experience first-hand the excitement and wonder of space exploration. Led by knowledgeable guides, these immersive tours take students on a journey through NASA's history and provide an up-close look at some of the most iconic spacecraft ever flown. Private educational programs are also available, which can be tailored to meet the specific needs and interests of each group. For those looking for a truly unforgettable experience, Overnight Adventures allow visitors to spend a night inside the Kennedy Space Center, complete with behind-the-scenes tours and special access to some of NASA's most exclusive facilities. And for young space enthusiasts, Camp KSC® offers a unique opportunity to learn about the science and technology behind space exploration while participating in hands-on activities and challenges. Whatever your educational needs may be, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has something to offer everyone.

Please Note: Special launches and events may require a separately priced ticket, and group visits and educational programs scheduled on that day are subject to change or may be cancelled. Terms and conditions are subject to change. Moreover, Kennedy Space Center is a working space launch facility, and programs are subject to change.