Kennedy Space Center


Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

DNPS Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899

Written by Julie Greiner

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is where you go to come face to face with an astronaut, dine next to a moon rock and touch pieces of the moon and mars. The Complex located within the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is operated by the Delaware North Parks Services. Kennedy Space Center is the only place in the world from which man has launched to another celestial body - the Moon!

National WildLife Refuge On Merritt Island

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located within the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Being of 140,000 acres in total size, the Space Center encompasses only 6,000 acres - the rest is entirely a wildlife habitat. The Refuge is home to in excess of 500 species of animals and birds such as alligators, bobcat, dolphins, otter, sea turtles and pelicans. 21 federal and state-listed endangered and threatened species, which include manatees and bald eagles, are protected on this Wildlife Refuge. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex receives no taxpayer dollars or money from NASA... funded entirely by admission fees, food concession and retail revenue. The Space Shop is the world's largest retail store devoted to space-themed merchandise. There are more than 4,000 items for guests to purchase while at the Space Center or via catalog or website at a later time. This complex is also home to the world's only back-to-back IMAX theaters. The Vehicle Assembly Building located in the complex is one of the world's largest buildings by volume and one of the world's largest enclosed structures. The American flag on this building is a gigantic 209 x 110 feet in size and each star is more than six feet in diameter and each stripe is nine feet wide. The NASA Art Gallery inside the IMAX theater has some 250 space-themed works of art by renowned artists as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Annie Leibovitz, among others.

The Astronaut Hall of Fame

The Astronaut Hall of Fame on behalf of NASA became part of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in September of 2002. The Astronaut Hall of Fame comprises the world's largest collection of astronaut memorabilia, exhibits and tributes dedicated to the heroes of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Included in the exhibits there is a Mercury Sigma 7 capsule, a Gemini training capsule and a Simulator Station for the visitors to experience. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation provides for personal appearances by astronauts at special events and the Annual Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremonies which are held on-site.

Dine with an Astronaut

Visitors may experience the thrill of meeting a true space hero in person while lunching at the Complex. Seating is limited and allows for a question and answer segment. The featured astronaut gives a personal presentation, following a video of space flight and each visitor is given a chance for a photo session and autographed souvenir. The lunch menu is a gourmet treat prepared by the complex's executive chef, with a special desert and children's menu available. Live Space Shuttle Launch.

Live Space Shuttle Launch

Visitors may experience a live space shuttle launch and experience history in the making. Launch Transportation Tickets are available and you will have an unobstructed view of a shuttle launch along a waterfront-viewing site, six miles from the launch pads on restricted NASA property. This is a most popular event with visitors participating from all over the world. This event must be reserved with tickets some six-weeks in advance. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open from 9 a.m. until approximately dusk every day except December 25 and certain launch days. For information on events and reservations call: 321-449-4444.

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