See where history was made at Kennedy Space Center. This in-depth guide to visiting Kennedy Space Center tells you everything you need to know before your visit.
A special thanks to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for hosting our visit! As always, all opinions are my own.
About Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center is NASA’s primary launch center for human spaceflight, and the Visitor Complex is an amusement-park-like museum dedicated to our nation’s space history.
The Visitor Complex is a collection of different buildings displaying space artifacts like rockets, space suits, a moon rock, space capsules, astronaut memorabilia, and more.
Kennedy Space Center Mission Zones
The Visitor Complex is divided into different sections they call Mission Zones. Each zone offers a unique look at the journey into space.
Heroes & Legends
The Heroes & Legends zone celebrates the pioneers of NASA’s early space programs, from the astronauts to those behind the scenes in Mission Control.
This Mission Zone features the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the exhibit Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo, and the Rocket Garden outside. It’s also where you can join in on a Chat With An Astronaut as an add-on experience.
Behind the Gates
Get access to the restricted areas of KSC at the Behind the Gates zone. This is the famed Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour, which is included with your admission.
On the bus tour, you’ll get to go behind NASA’s gates for a guided drive by operational spaceflight facilities and historic launch sites. On this tour, you’ll see the Vehicle Assembly Building and launch complex 39B from afar, but a video playing on the bus shows you a closer look.
If you want a closer look, you can book a specialty tour, like the Kennedy Space Center Explore Tour.
Keep in mind, the last bus tour runs 2.5 hours before the park closes.
Race to the Moon
After the bus tour, you’ll make it to the Race to the Moon zone. This zone is made up of the Apollo/Saturn V Center and honors the people and machines that made the journey to the moon possible.
The highlight of this zone is the up close look at the Saturn V rocket, suspended overhead. This complex giant spans 363 feet and is the largest rocket ever flown.
This Mission Zone also features the Apollo 8 and The Firing Room theater experience, the Path To The Moon exhibit celebrating the accomplishments of Apollo missions 7-10, a Moonscape with the real Lunar Module 9, interactive exhibits and an actual Moon rock you can touch, the Ad Astra Per Aspera Apollo 1 Tribute, the Lunar Theater, the Apollo Treasures Gallery, and the Moon Tree Garden.
Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other
Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other highlights the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Kennedy Space Center is the orbiter’s permanent home after its 26-year, 33-mission career.
At the entrance to this Mission Zone is a full-scale space shuttle stack comprised of two solid rocket boosters and an orange external tank. The highlight of this zone is the close-up view of Atlantis displayed as astronauts would have seen her in space: rotated 43.21 degrees with payload doors open and Canadarm extended.
This Mission Zone also features the Hubble Space Telescope Theater, Astronaut Training Simulators, the Forever Remembered memorial for space shuttle missions STS-51L Challenger and STS-107 Columbia, modules of the International Space Station in ISS Triumph of Technology, and the Shuttle Launch Experience.
NASA Now + Next
NASA Now + Next explores current and future missions to space from the ISS to traveling to Mars
Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex presents the present and future of collaborative space exploration. You’ll see authentic spacecraft, futuristic prototypes, and immersive displays. Inside, you can find Spaceport KSC, a simulation that transports you to the spaceport of the future.
Next door is Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted, which explores NASA’s plans to explore deep space and study Mars.
Over at the IMAX Theater, you can view space-themed films and 3D movies. This is also where you’ll find LEGO® Build to Launch, an immersive STEAM learning experience, as well as the children’s space at Planet Play.
Things to Do at Kennedy Space Center
See a Launch
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the closest public viewing of rocket launches, and you get live launch commentary from space experts. Launch viewing at the main visitor complex is always included in your daily admission if the launch takes place during the museum’s operational hours!
There are other viewing areas, too, like the Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center and the LC-39 Observation Gantry. These require an additional ticket to transport you to the viewing location.
Train Like an Astronaut
Get a once-in-a-lifetime astronaut training experience with KSC’s Astronaut Training Simulators, Shuttle Launch Experience, and Spaceport KSC, all of which are included with your ticket.
For an added bonus, you can add on the Astronaut Training Experience ($175), Land and Drive on Mars Training Stage ($30), Walk on Mars Training Stage ($30), Microgravity Training Stage ($30), or Mars Base 1 ($150).
Enhance Your Visit With Special Tours
Want to make your visit really special? Chat with an Astronaut ($50 for adults, $30 for children), get photographic views on the KSC Explore Tour ($25 for adults, $19 for children), or take an exclusive tour with the Launch Director Tour of Space Shuttle Atlantis ($75).
Attend Special Events and Programs
Kennedy Space Center hosts special events and programs throughout the year. From launches to the Taste of Space Marstini Shake-Off event, there’s always something interesting going on at KSC!
Pick Up a Space Memento at the Gift Shops
There are three gift shops at Kennedy Space Center.
The World’s Largest Space Shop has all the space memorabilia ant NASA gear you could want. The Right Stuff at the Apollo/Saturn V Center specializes in moon landing and Apollo program souvenirs. The Shuttle Express inside Space Shuttle Atlantis specializes in space shuttle souvenirs.
Have an Out-of-This-World Dining Experience
KSC has 8 dining options that offer everything from a full meal to ice cream to beer and wine.
For meals, check out these spots: Orbit Café is the main dining, offering breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza. Space Bowl Bistro inside Gateway offers acai bowls and build-your-own savory bowls; it’s open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Moon Rock Cafe at the Apollo/Saturn V Center serves chicken tenders, pizza, and salads. The Red Rock Grill next to Journey To Mars serves hot dogs and fries.
For snacks, check out these spots: IMAX Snax has all your traditional movie theater favorites. The Planet Play Lounge is where parents can unwind with a coffee, beer, or wine. Milky Way near the Universe Theater serves soft drinks and ice cream. Space Dots next to Space Shuttle Atlantis serves Space Dots ice cream and the exclusive KSC flavor Martian Rocks.
Visiting Kennedy Space Center
Admission: A 1-Day Ticket costs $75 for adults, $70 for seniors and military, $65 for children ages 3-11, and $60 for military children. A 2-Day Ticket costs $89 for adults, $84 for seniors and military, $79 for children, and $74 for military children.
KSC also offers individual annual passes and a family annual pass.
I recommend buying your ticket ahead of time online. That way, you won’t have to wait in line to buy when you get there. (For senior and military discounts, you’ll need to purchase your ticket at the kiosk or will call on arrival.)
You can exit and re-enter the park, just make sure you get your hand stamped. And know that you might not be able to find good parking when you return.
Hours: Kennedy Space Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Parking: Onsite parking costs $10 per car; parking lot opens at 8:30 a.m.
Kennedy Space Center FAQ
A 1-Day Ticket to Kennedy Space Center costs $75 for adults, $70 for seniors and military, $65 for children ages 3-11, and $60 for military children. A 2-Day Ticket costs $89 for adults, $84 for seniors and military, $79 for children, and $74 for military children.
Whether you’re an avid space geek, a history fan, or just interested in the future of space travel, Kennedy Space Center is definitely worth a visit!
A visit to Kennedy Space Center is a full day affair! You should expect to spend 6-8 hours touring everything at the complex.
Check the KSC Events page here to learn when the next rocket launch is at Kennedy Space Center.
More Things to Do on Florida’s Space Coast
- Why Kennedy Space Center is Worth It for Adults, Too
- Courtyard by Marriott Titusville Review: Best Hotel Near Kennedy Space Center
- 2 Days on Florida’s Space Coast: A Fun Itinerary
- Comparison: Kennedy Space Center vs. the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Ready to visit Kennedy Space Center, Florida? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels near Kennedy Space Center on Booking.com.
- Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.
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