Being that I am a total space nerd, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a location I’ve been wanting to visit with my family for years! Finally, we got our chance and I wanted it to be perfect; to live up to the hype I set for it. So now that we’ve spent an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I’ve compiled a list of everything I wish I’d known before heading into this park with my kids. Are you also looking for an out-of-this-world family experience? These 11 tips might help…
To Take the Kids…or Not?
Before we chat about tips for visiting Kennedy Space Center with kids, let me say that, at first, my husband and I considered not even bringing them along. We questioned rather or not they would be interested and weighed the chances of them spending the entire day bored and complaining. Of course we are all for family fun, but we also understand that some destinations are just more focused on the adults. Take wine tasting in Traverse City, Michigan, for example.
Although, after speaking with the kids about their interest in joining us, we decided to bring them along. Looking back, I am pretty happy that we did. To my surprise, there turned out to be several “fun for all ages” type of activities and several moments of excitement and wonder when I noticed that little spark light up in my kid’s eyes! This experience definitely makes the list for a family adventure “must!”
What to Know Before Visiting Kennedy Space Center
If you’re considering exploring Kennedy Space Center with kids, take a peek at these several helpful tips for making the most of your adventure!
1 . This is an all day adventure!
If you’re wondering how much time to set aside for visiting Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, it’s probably best to set aside an entire day for exploration. This is the first mistake I made. I simply didn’t think we would be spending the entire day here, a few hours top. Boy, was I wrong!
We casually strolled in just before lunch with dinner plans on our minds and quickly found that the complex is quite large and contains many experiences that can take up to an hour or more to complete. Oops.
2. There are both indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy.
Here’s another mistake I made… Thinking that the park was mainly outdoors, I waited until we had a beautiful and sunny day in Florida to head on over to explore. Had I known that we would be spending the majority of the day indoors, I wouldn’t have waited for such perfection – I would have used that day at the beach!
Being indoors for hours while it’s a perfect day outside made all of us antsy to get through the exhibits more quickly, so we would still have time to hit the pool. Choose your day wisely.
3. Utilize the map given.
Don’t be surprised if you get a bit lost during your first visit. The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is laid out a bit awkwardly. Although, they will give you a map upon entering; be sure to use it.
4. Don’t miss the bus tour.
This is really cool! As part of your entrance ticket, you can take a bus tour of NASA property. Just remember, these tours can take around 40 minutes – 2 hours. Although, after walking all day, it’s a nice little rest.
5. Go for the movies!
We almost skipped the IMAX movies but I’m so glad we didn’t! The IMAX movies turned out to be one of the most influential moments of our visit for my kids. I could tell that they were really enjoying the movie and when the lights came on they turned to me and said “That was really cool! Did you know…” and they proceeded to recite to me what they just learned. #MomWin
6. Consider the time of year when you’re visiting.
More than just when you’re vacationing to Florida, it’s also a good idea to take into account the launch schedule and the school year schedule when planning your adventure. Both of these things can have impact on how many people are at the Visitor Complex and how long it could take to see an exhibit, movie, or ride. We happened to attend during a school field trip, and while it didn’t impact our visit a ton, we may have experienced longer wait times for some experiences.
7. Think about food ahead of time, or don’t.
Thankfully, with some exceptions, Kennedy Space Center does allow you to bring your own food or beverage into the complex if it is packed in a small, soft-sided cooler. But if you don’t plan ahead, like me, there are several places to grab a bit to eat within the park as well.
I also read that all of the restaurants in the park have vegetarian options, but I have yet to give them a try. Next time for sure!
8. There is a ride!
If you’re hoping for an amusement park experience, this isn’t it! There are, however, many hands-on activities and one “ride” for those 44″ and up. Plus (and this was my kids favorite) a slide from one level of an exhibit down to the next.
9. Don’t forget the camera!
This probably goes without saying, especially since most people carry their camera everywhere with them on their cell phone, but this adventure is full of photo worthy moments. Be sure not to miss them!
10. Plan for extra expenses.
While most everything in the park is included in the general admission pricing, there are a few “add-on” experiences that are not. You can see what these are on the Kennedy Space Center website ahead of time. Plus, if your family is anything like mine, it’s hard to walk past an ice cream spot without stopping. You’ll need funds for that too.
Finally, if you really love NASA like I do (space nerd, remember?) you’ll want to spend some extra time and money in the gift shop before heading home. I was sure to bring home a NASA logo sweatshirt with me and I still wear it weekly!
Save a trip and check out my list of “Cool Space Finds” below! Maybe grab a souvenir before you go or after you get home.
11. Purchase tickets ahead of time online.
The last, and possibly most important, tip is to consider purchasing your tickets online before your adventure. This could save you quite a bit of time and could be easier than purchasing them from one of the computerized ticket kiosks at the gate. Tickets can be purchase online at www.kennedyspacecenter.com.
Nearby Florida Adventures
Be sure to also check out these nearby Florida family adventures!