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Visiting Florida's Space Coast

There are several things that attract people to Florida including the sun, beaches, Disney, and the space coast.  As many people begin their journey south for spring break, I urge you to make a pit stop at Florida’s Space Coast.  The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) offers a unique experience that appeals to all age ranges.  No matter where you are headed, the space coast is a convenient detour.  It’s three hours from Fort Lauderdale/Miami, 30 minutes from Orlando, 2.5 hours from Jacksonville, and two hours from Tampa.  There is no excuse to bypass the space goodness! 

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For the first time in history, visitors to KSC this spring/summer have the privilege of touring locations never open to the general public.  With the retirement of the shuttle fleet, NASA has opened up areas once busy preparing our country for space flight.  The KSC “Up and Close” with limited tickets gives you the opportunity to tour the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), shuttle transporters, mobile launch platforms (MLPs), Shuttle Landing Facilities (SLF), and Launch Complex 39A and 39B.  Another perk, if you need one, is that Atlantis is currently parked inside while it’s prepped for permanent display at the Visitors Complex.  This month both Endeavour and Atlantis will be inside the building for a short period of time, so you might just see two shuttles up close and personal!

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NASA opened the VAB to the public back on November 1st and they only plan on keeping it open for a limited time.  It’s one of the world’s largest enclosed spaces at 525 feet and four times the volume of the Empire State Building.  As a NASA fan it was amazing to step into the VAB, where rockets and shuttles have been built since 1968.   The two-hour “Up and Close” tour cost $68 and also grants you admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. There are lots of activities and exhibits inside the Visitors Complex, including two free IMAX 3D movies: Hubble and the International Space Stations (must-sees).   I found the Astronaut Hall of Fame to be less enticing, but I previously toured it while seeing Discovery’s final launch last year.  It’s more traditional museum and less interactive than the Visitors Center.  The Space Coasts historical significance in both American history and space exploration in undeniable, so visit it while you can.  Prepare to have your mind blown!

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For more information or to purchase tickets visit: www.kennedyspacecenter.com

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