In the late 1960s, Central Florida was the most exciting place on Earth, thanks to the moon. Kennedy Space Center, which was established in 1958 and ruled the tourist circuit with Disney in the 1970s, was eventually eclipsed by attractions based on fantasy. These days, it’s out of this world again.
The end of the space shuttle program has enabled previously off-limits areas to be opened for visits. Availability shifts, but on a variety of additional “Up-Close” tours (generally $25 adults, $19 kids 3–11, plus admission), there’s always something that’s not on the standard KSC Bus Tour. You can visit the shuttle’s launch pad, the Launch Control Center used in the shuttle’s last liftoffs, the core of the Mercury and Gemini missions, and find out what NASA’s up to now, including the new SLS (Space Rocket System) that will carry the new Orion module into space for longer trips than ever before.