Discover out-of-this-world adventures, live rocket launches and a full day of family fun. Blast off to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (pictured), just an hour east of Orlando.
Updated Feb. 15, 2023
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of … well, you and your family and friends. And if you have a personal mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where you’ve never gone before, then it’s time to chart a course for the one-and-only Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Visitor Complex.
Save on discount tickets: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Inviting you to explore space without ever leaving Earth, this historic, world-famous venue is just an hour from Orlando’s tourism districts on Florida’s east coast, resulting in an easy day trip. And with so much to see and do there, it’s easy to make a full day of it. Here’s a checklist of all the reasons why you’ll want to make the KSC Visitor Complex part of your next journey to the Theme Park Capital of the World.
Discover: Day Trips From Orlando
Witness Actual Rocket Launches From Up Close
Kennedy Space Center hosts live rocket launches throughout the year, including those from NASA, Blue Origin and SpaceX. If you’re timing your trip to coincide with a scheduled launch, there is no closer place to see it than the Visitor Complex — and with expert commentary, to boot. All official viewing locations are about as close to the launch pads as safety allows, giving you an unparalleled opportunity to see and feel the liftoff of spacecraft propelled by enormous rocket engines.
Note that the higher profile the launch, the more likely there is to be an additional fee to access viewing locations. Check Visit Orlando’s events calendar or Kennedy Space Center’s website for upcoming launches and viewing opportunities for your next chance.
Experience Modern Space Travel — and Its Future
KSC Visitor Complex is organized into Mission Zones, featuring attractions and tours grouped by chronological eras — and the newest is also one of the most fun. Launched in 2022, Gateway™: The Deep Space Launch Complex gives you the chance to enter the spaceport of the future before embarking on one of four journeys: Red Planet, Daring Encounters, Cosmic Wonders and Uncharted Worlds. All four take you to decidedly different corners of our galaxy, from Mars to the deepest reaches of space.
Heads up that Gateway can be a somewhat intense experience. If members of your group don’t meet the height requirements or have restrictions or sensitivity to motion, they can still experience a full ride without the movement by visiting the Observation Bay. Gateway also features exhibits where you can immerse yourself in the science of current missions to the International Space Station and upcoming journeys into deep space.
Stand Nose-to-Nose With Space Shuttle Atlantis
After 33 missions, 4,848 Earth orbits, and nearly 126 million miles, NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time at KSC in 2011. Now, the Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other Mission Zone invites you to see it up close and in person, along with 60 interactive exhibits that celebrate the history, technology and impact of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.
Beyond getting to see the actual Atlantis, reasons to visit this Mission Zone include the Hubble Space Telescope Theater, Astronaut Training Simulators, and the Shuttle Launch Experience®, where you’ll experience the sights, sounds and sensations of blasting off into space aboard a shuttle. Go for launch, indeed!
See How Our Journeys Began
It can be argued that no NASA program did more to ignite mankind’s passion for space exploration than the historic Apollo Moon landings. It could also be argued that there is no better place to explore that era than the Race to the Moon Mission Zone at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which is accessible via a short bus ride from the main Visitor Complex.
Step inside and see a massive Saturn V rocket, which launched lunar astronauts from Kennedy Space Center in the 1960s and ‘70s. Marvel at an Apollo spacecraft and Alan Shepard’s spacesuit — complete with actual Moon dust. And experience the thrill of the space race by viewing the launch of Apollo 8 from The Firing Room. These and other activities and exhibits are a stunning tribute not just to the unprecedented achievement of putting humans on the moon, but the awe felt throughout the world in that magical moment.
Rub Shoulders With Heroes, Legends … and Rockets
Discover what it truly means to be a hero at the Heroes & Legends Mission Zone, which features the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® presented by Boeing®. Here, you can learn about American astronauts from Project Mercury to the Space Shuttle Program through today. For that matter, you can get face time with an actual spacefarer by participating in Astronaut Encounter or the more intimate, add-on option of Chat With an Astronaut.
You can also explore the men and women who helped put a man on the Moon at Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo. And no trip to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is complete without a stroll through their famous Rocket Garden, home to rockets used in NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
Access Restricted Areas — Legally
Interested in gaining exclusive access to historic launch sites and operational spaceflight facilities at Kennedy Space Center? You can at the Visitor Complex, and without breaking any laws in the process. Just hop on a KSC Bus Tour, which are included with admission and will take you behind NASA’s gates to see the past, present and future of America’s multi-user spaceport before visiting the legendary Apollo/Saturn V Center.
For a personalized experience, book a KSC Explore Tour, which is available as an optional upgrade to Visitor Complex admission. You’ll be paired with a space expert as you tour the spaceport and make stops along the ways for iconic photographic views.
Still More to Explore
In addition to the KSC Visitor Complex’s Mission Zones, each of which takes two or more hours to fully explore, the center has numerous add-on enhancements beyond those mentioned above. They include:
- Astronaut Training Experience: Train to live and work on Mars through exciting and immersive simulation technology.
- Mars Base 1: Travel to Mars and spend the day solving authentic NASA science and engineering challenges.
- Cosmic Quest: Develop your space-exploration skills with the only live-action gaming experience in the galaxy featuring real NASA missions.
Naturally, KSC Visitor Complex is also a great place to stock up on space-related souvenirs, including those based on all of your favorite NASA mission programs. You can even buy your own NASA jumpsuit! You won’t go hungry during your visit, either, thanks to space-themed eateries to satisfy any cravings, including vegetarian, gluten-free and other healthy choices.
With so many ways to learn, explore and play at KSC Visitor Complex, it’s no wonder why numerous Orlando visitors make it part of their getaways. Blast off for your own adventures during your next visit.
Stay Connected to Orlando!
You never know what we’ll dream up next. Connect with Visit Orlando’s Vacation Planning Services for personalized assistance, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for the latest offers, exclusive tips, newest attractions and fun events. You can also subscribe to our eNewsletter for more information from Orlando: Theme Park Capital of the World.