Kennedy Space Center Is a Blast

Our second full day in Florida involved leaving Orlando and heading out to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which also happens to be home to the Kennedy Space Center, which is, in turn, the home of the Space Shuttle.

We got an early start to the day (for us), rented a minivan, piled in the whole family and used up my Droid battery getting turn-by-turn directions to the coast. (This may have brought back some bad memories for Peter and Kathy of riding in the third seat of our Dodge Caravan while Tom and I nattered at each other while driving, as couples are wont to do.)

Was it worth it? Totally.

We saw an amazing Imax film on the Apollo space missions narrated by Tom Hanks. There was a Shuttle launch simulator that is supposed to give a great approximation of what it’s like to travel from liftoff into orbit — very intense! Pictured above is the top of one of the Saturn V multistage rockets that sent the moonwalkers into space — it runs nearly the entire length to the back of the open hangar door you can see in the photo. We all got to touch a moon rock. The vehicles that move the Shuttle to the launching pad are amazing and get something like 43 feet to the gallon. The hangar where the Shuttles live can house 4 Statues of Liberty, complete with base.

It was a lovely day that was, in part, inspiring, exciting, and moving…what people can accomplish with so little technology and so much desire is amazing.

On a side note, you can also see some gators, manatees and a ton of bird species in the nature reserve as you are touring the various sites that comprise the high-tech complex. Having said that, I couldn’t suppress a smirk regarding the Space Center propaganda stating that NASA is a great force for natural preservation — let’s be honest folks, launching rockets with the force of a nuclear bomb on a routine basis is not beneficial for wild creatures living nearby.

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