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Cape Canaveral?

Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Cape Canaveral?

Does anyone have any experience with this area and the Kennedy Space Center? I'm wondering if there are any free or inexpensive areas to visit with our kids? Looking up the space center it's $50/adult and $40/child to go there! *Gasp*

We're going to Cocoa beach one of the days we're in FL and thought this would be a nice stop off to see a few things. But not at that price!!

Chickamauga, Georgia
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for Orlando, Walt Disney World
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1. Re: Cape Canaveral?

The visitor center with the $50 tours is the only location where non-NASA folks are allowed, and of course the places visited on their tours. All other locations on the property are off limits to anyone not employed as a NASA employee or contrator.

Edited: 16 January 2014, 16:55
Green Bay, Wisconsin
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406 posts
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2. Re: Cape Canaveral?

Are we allowed to go in and just look around without having to take a tour? Is it the tour you have to pay $50 for or is that just to get into the visitor's center? I really can't see taking my 4 and 7 year olds on a formal tour of the place....but they might enjoy just looking around.

Orlando
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3. Re: Cape Canaveral?

Cape Canaveral, the city is a beach side town right next to Cocoa Beach. Cape Canaveral, where the Space Center is located, is on a seperate barrier island. The only thing on that island is the Space Center, the National Seashore, an Air Force Base, and NASA property.

There are some nice beach parks in the Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach area, there is mini golf, there is the new observation tower in the port, there are airboat rides on the way to the beach, and there are a couple of botique-type shopping areas (One in the city of Cocoa on the mainland and one in Melbourne).

What exactly do your kids like?

Edited: 16 January 2014, 17:14
Green Bay, Wisconsin
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406 posts
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4. Re: Cape Canaveral?

Well this is really just a day off from the parks. I wanted them to have a chance to see the ocean, search for shells, etc. My husband is the one who mentioned Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. I just didn't realize it was so expensive to get into the Visitor's Center! So...But to answer your question, they're into anything really. They're good with just having fun and experiencing new things...

Orlando
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5. Re: Cape Canaveral?

If you want to do the airboat ride, you need to exit Highway 528 at 520 and drive to the St Johns River. The shelling will depend on tides. Sometimes it isn't bad, sometimes, not so good. They are in the process of pumping sand back on the beach in that area right now. I saw work being done in Indian Harbour Beach and Cocoa Beach last weekend.

Jetty Park is nice in that area. It is $10 for the car to get in, but there are facilities, a snack bar, and a fishing pier. There are three or four decent restaurants inside the port.

Lots of people like Lori Wilson Park too.

If you want to rent a pole or watch people fish, there is the Cocoa Beach pier too.

On the barrier island where the Space Center is located, Playa Linda Beach is beautiful, but there is absolutely nothing other than restrooms there. Also, you do not want to take the kids the the northernmost parking areas unless you want to explain why people are laying naked on the beach.

If you go further south in Cocoa Beach, bring a few dollars in quarters for the meters.

San Francisco
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6. Re: Cape Canaveral?

We'll be in Orlando for 5 days in June and plan to do a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center. Yes, it's expensive and will be a long day, but it looks amazing. My kids are also 4 and (soon to be) 7, and they both are fascinated with space, the night sky, space ships, rockets, the space shuttle, astronauts, etc. The space shuttle Atlantis is now on display, and the tour takes you to that as well as out towards the launch pads. The rocket garden looks amazing. My husband and I want to see it all too! So I'd say the ticket prices sound worth it to me. The reviews I've read say there is plenty to see and do for a day.

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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7. Re: Cape Canaveral?

Most of KSC and the adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is highly restricted, protected by guard booths, armed guards, and even helicopters, so you can't just drive i around without special passes not available to the public.

For admission to visitor areas, there are frequently discount coupons in pamphlets and local visitor guides that can reduce the admission by $4-5 per person, which adds up for a family. It may also be available on the website.

Considering that it's a full day's activity, the price isn't out of line compared with the theme parks. The real question is whether your children are old enough to enjoy it. A couple of months ago, we took a 3-year-old there, and he enjoyed it so much we stayed longer than we planned, and then he enthusiastically played with the space shuttle launch set we purchased for him as a souvenir. Only you know your children's interests enough to be able to predict what they might like.

The admission price includes the outdoor rocket garden (display), two IMAX theatres, the indoor exhibit halls, the new Atlantis exhibit with lots of interactive button-pushing and a simulator ride, the bus tour out to drive by the launch pads and huge vertical assembly building, and then go into the the Saturn V exhibit, and a visit to the Astronaut Hall of Fame, which has lots of space memorabilia and a few small simulators (it is located 5-6 miles west of the main visitors' complex). We did all of that except the AHoF, and also had lunch there and spent about 40 minutes at the gift shop, and it really made almost a full day for us.

Try to arrive around the 9 a.m. opening, which gives you the option to leave around 3:30 to go down to Cape Canaveral / Cocoa Beach in time to see the big cruise ships sail out from the port. On most days, except most Tuesdays and often Wednesdays, they sail around 4-5 p.m., and you can see them close enough to wave to the passengers from your table on the outside decks of the restaurants along Glen Cheek Drive. On Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, one of the ships will be a Disney ship -- often playing songs on its horns.

From there, consider a stop at the Dinosaur Store just west of the intersection of highways A1A and 520 in Cooa Beach. Kids like the trinkets, and adults can enjoy looking at the fossils, which are priced up to $25,000. Just a couple of blocks away is the Ron Jon Surf Shop (open 24-7), which offers their famous tee-shirts in all sizes.

You can take a drive into the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and/or the Canaveral National Seashore if the kids like nature. For certain areas, it's $5 or so per car, other areas are free. If you walk south from parking lot 1 at Playalinda Beach, you can see the KSC gantries in the distance.

If you want to do an airboat ride into tne swamps to see alligators as mentioned above, I'd do it early in the morning, before visiting KSC. You can also visit the pier to watch surfers, and then walk along the beach to wade in the waves and look for shells if the tide is low (the better shelling can be found north of the pier, the best is near Jetty Park). There are also boat cruises into the lagoons to see dolphins and manatees (the manatees are usually "vacationing", away in warmer waters in December through sometime in March), and you can take family kayaking excursions into the Thousand Islands area. As mentioned, the Brevard Zoo is worth a half day (feeding the giraffes is always a delight) and you can also zip line there. Obviously, that's way too much for just a day, so you'll have to make some choices.

Green Bay, Wisconsin
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8. Re: Cape Canaveral?

This is fantastic information! Thank you so much!

9. Re: Cape Canaveral?

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