This part of the vacation was completely spontaneous - something we decided to check out once the beach was too windy and we were informed (Thanks Amanda) how close we were. According to my picture data (you have no idea how often I use my photo's data. Denny: oh-oh...what time did we launch? Me: Just a second (scroll, scroll, scroll.....6:20. Denny: Thanks. Again) Anyway, I can tell you right now - if you actually PLAN to go the Kennedy Space Center, and you should, plan for a few more hours.
It was the most expensive thing we did on our vacation, but the most worth it. Included in the price was the bus tour (and Imax, and 30 minute simulator, and and and....) out to the launch pads and building facilities. Unfortunately, our bus driver/tour guide had such a strong accent we couldn't understand 85% of what he said - but we still filled in enough on our own that it was interesting.
It was the size of the Vehicle Assembly Building where they build the rockets that impressed me the most. If we translated correctly the garage door on this building takes over 30 minutes to open, the stars on that flag are each six feet across, you can fit the whole Yankee Stadium and parking lot on the top of that building and still have an acre to spare, and you could drive the tour bus through one of the stripes on the flag. It's huge.
After the launch pad tour, the bus dropped us off at the Appolo/Saturn V Center where we began by watching a film, and then filing into this room to watch a continuation of the film. (This room was very cold).What I really liked about this room is that, according to our guide, it is not a mock-up of the command station, but the real thing. It all flashed back and forth in correspondence with the two minutes before launch on the screen. It was very well done. The room shook during take off and the kids were blocking their ears.
After the tour of this building, we hopped back on the bus and were pleased to get an easier to understand driver. She told her passengers if they only did three things at the Space Center, to be sure to get to the Imax (we did) the 30 minute simulator (we did) and the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit (we did).
Do you see the tunnel in the upper right part of the photo - with a kid scampering through it? That's the tunnel that Mark is scampering through a few photos above, and Allan is about to. One of the five kids almost couldn't do it, but I can't remember which one right now.
The family got out of the 30 minute simulator experience at 6:15 and the last Imax was at 6:30 - we boot scoot boogied over to that part of the park, got our 3-D glasses and made it to our seats with plenty of time to spare. I had more fun watching Brian trying to grab the 3-D images throughout the movie than the actual movie itself, but the movie was good too. (Hubble)
The Visitor Complex closes at seven, so when we got out of the Imax there were voices on the loudspeakers telling us to exit the premises. We had run out of time to do the other things available, one of which was an Angry Birds Space Encounter building,so the kids were a little disappointed. It wasn't hard to steer their disappointment when reminded of their hungry bellies and the swimming pool back at base camp. An hour and a half drive brought us back to the resort.
We exited the park at 7:21.
It was a good day.