The historic Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral has been a Florida icon since March 1962, when the Launch Operations Center was established as an official NASA field center on Merritt Island. So if you’re visiting Florida this summer, there’s no better day out!
Renamed the John F Kennedy Space Center by President Johnson in 1963, the headquarters building was opened in 1965, followed by the first public bus tours in 1966 and the official 42-acre Visitor Complex in 1967.
By 1969, it was the second-most visited attraction in Florida, after Tampa Bay’s Busch Gardens, and it grew slowly but surely until 1996, when Delaware North Companies were selected to be the Visitor Center operators, and we saw a major investment in new attractions and services.
Those changes, updates, and new exhibits have continued ever since, and there is now always something new to enjoy at this superb showcase for NASA’s space program.
And this summer, there’s even more to experience at the home of One Small Step For Man! So much so, in fact, that here at Real Florida Adventures we’ve decided to name 2023 as the Summer of the Space Center!
And, if you haven’t visited recently, you’ll be surprised at just how much is new and fresh at this awesome venue. Why not see for yourself on our #1 Kennedy Space Center Tour? If you’re planning a space adventure, feel free to get in touch with our local team.
The Visitor Center at Kennedy Space Center
Of course, the Center remains true to its core history and mission to highlight the full history of NASA’s space exploration, but there is also something inherently creative about the KSC’s modern face.
The Visitor Complex is divided into five Mission Zones. Within these zones, attractions, and tours are grouped by chronological era.
From the inception of space exploration to current and ongoing missions, visitors get an up-close experience of the stories of humans in space.
The Complex also contains historic spacecraft and memorabilia, two IMAX theaters, and a range of bus tours of the spaceport, among many other exhibits.
Women in Space at the Kennedy Space Center
This summer, the Visitor Center goes a step further, with a special (and long-overdue) tribute to women in the space program, including astronaut pioneers: Sally Ride, Anna Fisher, and Kathy Thornton.
Guests were invited to join trailblazing, veteran astronauts, and space industry leaders for a Women in Space Panel in the IMAX Theater on June 15 and 16.
The first day featured veteran astronauts Fisher and Thornton, joined by Caley Burke, flight design analyst of NASA’s Launch Services Program.
The second featured astronauts Fisher and Kay Hire, Noelle Zietsman, chief engineer for Boeing Exploration Systems, and Nancy Cuty, partnership development manager, NASA KSC Center Planning.
The astronauts and panelists shared their personal accounts of the space program and how they helped to advance the industry. We recommend looking up some of these fantastic speakers to learn more about women’s role in space exploration.
The Women in Space Panel and Women in Space Afternoon Tea were just two of several events planned throughout the summer to celebrate women in space. For more information and future events, visit KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Special Events this Summer at Kennedy Space Center
All Systems All Go!
Also new this year is All Systems Are Go!, an exciting live-action puppetry performance featuring everyone’s favorite Peanuts characters, with special lighting, sound, and original music.
Snoopy, Woodstock, and the gang are called on to help NASA with their latest launch. And that’s the cue for this all-new 20-minute immersive experience in the Universe Theater that is guaranteed fun for all the family.
It adds an amusing element of popular appeal to the Center’s serious side and will appeal to children of all ages.
Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex
The futuristic Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex opened last year, and provided another interactive adventure, presenting current and future space exploration ventures.
Step into the futuristic spaceport and embark on an extraordinary adventure as you choose from four captivating space odysseys: Red Planet, Daring Explorers, Cosmic Wonders, and Uncharted Worlds.
It also features the excitement of Spaceport KSC, which offers four clever, simulated journeys into deep space to explore the likes of Mars, the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, and the distant Trappist-1 system.
Out of This World Eats at Kennedy Space Center
Space Bowl Bistro is the complex’s new restaurant, serving up Bistro Bowls to suit every taste!
After your exploration, you can enjoy acai bowls and choose-your-own-protein bowls created with quinoa, rice, greens, or noodles, and proteins such as barbecue short rib, marinated ahi tuna, jackfruit, and more. Much better than space food, right?
Bus Tours at Kennedy Space Center
All this is on top of the magnificent array of exhibits, IMAX movies, and the long-running bus tours that continue to provide the only regular guest access to many of the behind-the-scenes areas that provide the bulk of the KSC’s work.
The Bus Tours leave the Complex every 15 minutes or so, traveling around iconic sights like the massive Vehicle Assembly Building, the colossal Crawler transport, and Launch Pad 39A, which sent Apollo astronauts to the Moon.
You can also visit the awe-inspiring Apollo/Saturn V Center. Disembark and explore the achievements of the Apollo program. You’ll experience a heart-pounding recreation of the first Moon landing and a close-up of a mighty Saturn V rocket.
The undoubted highlight, though, remains Space Shuttle Atlantis, a towering exhibit and monument to the achievements of the 30-year Shuttle program that far surpassed its expected operational lifetime.
It also includes the clever Shuttle Launch Experience, another simulated journey into space, and the highly moving Forever Remembered display that memorializes the crews of the two shuttle tragedies.
All of this is available on our essential #1 Kennedy Space Center Tour, which provides a full day to enjoy this magnificent attraction, or if you just want Transport to the Kennedy Space Center, we can arrange that too.
Either way, you will be on the right track for the past, present, and future of this essential Florida experience! If you have any questions about the Kennedy Space Center or the attractions, just drop us a line. We can’t wait to see you on your space adventure this summer!
Be sure to ask about our Price Match Guarantee. We do our best to always offer the lowest price, but, if you find a lower qualified price for an identical tour on another site, we will match it, no questions asked.