We’re @: Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
What they do: They launch rockets into space.
What’s new: Two rare tours are now being offered, including the KSC Up-Close, a launch pad tour that includes drive-by views of Launch Pad 39-B, the Vehicle Assembly Building, mobile launch platforms and stops at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. On the Launch Control Center Tour you see the main launch countdown clock and many large video monitors on the walls. But the Vehicle Assembly Tour features an inside view of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), the NASA Causeway, A/B Camera Stop and the amazing Apollo/Saturn V Center. All guided tours are $25 per adult and $19 per child (ages 3-11) plus tax, in addition to admission.
What’s in the photo: Oh, that’s Iden, Aren and Erysse examining a space shuttle tile in the VAB. Behind them is Endeavor, being prepped for her final flight to Los Angeles.
Let’s talk: Many guides at Kennedy Space Center have enjoyed their jobs so much they’ve been doing it for years. Our guide, Bruce, had met members of the original crew of Apollo 13 as well as other astronauts from more recent missions. We learned that Ron Howard spent time with the Apollo crew and they felt he’d captured both the mindset and emotions of that incredibly tense mission and that on the International Space Station “candy-coated chocolates” – M&Ms – are a favorite for food and fun.
Don’t miss: The Apollo/Saturn V Center, which is even more impressive to see after the Vehicle Assembly Building Tour, where these rockets were put together.
What they won’t tell you: The Vehicle Assembly Building was once an armored facility. You can see evidence of this in the concrete structure above the air conditioning where there once were sniper holes for armed guards protecting the building throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Take your time: Our first visit in 1995, just Chris and I, we didn’t realize that this is more than just an hour tour. Set aside at least 3 hours, up to six if you are nerdy space geeks like us.
Often forgotten: Admission to the Astronaut Hall of Fame is included in the price of your ticket. If you have the time you should visit. It has the best interactive area for children.
More info: Kennedy Space Center website.