The Kennedy Space Centre is an exciting place to be anytime, any day, but with the opening of its new Atlantic attraction, the bar has just been raised to the stratosphere. How can it not be, when you consider what you encounter?
Kennedy Space Centre is easy to get from anywhere in Florida. I was based in Kissimmee near Orlando and the drive was no more than 90 minutes.
Like many things American, the tendency for just a little over-hype is always a temptation, after all let’s not forget this is the country where “the 23rd biggest” or “voted 86th best attraction” seems to be a valid advertising strategy.
But this is something else entirely. This is quite simply a piece of modern history and stands proudly as a spectacular technological achievement.
I have to confess a little frisson as I walked through the Atlantis entrance hall. Space is the last frontier after all, and here I was at the very home of rocket science. The whole 30 year shuttle story is real life drama and unfolds for you in highly digestible chunks as you walk through the attraction culminating in a jaw dropping dramatised cinematic presentation in a 360 degree theatre chronicling NASA’s story of the five space shuttles – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavor.
Just when I thought that was the end of it, the lights dimmed again, the music became triumphant and a wall raised in front of me
to reveal the actual Atlantis in all her glory. At this point I have to confess a tear or two emerged as I walked forward to meet Atlantis; the re-entry scorch marks still evident on her nose, the detail of her hull, those giant rear burners.
This was, I promise you, one of those times when you just gaze in wonder for a while and time stands still.
Atlantis has a full supporting cast too, an International Space Station replica where you can experience the sensation of floating in space and an interactive touch screen for learning about living and working aboard the ISS.
There’s also a Shuttle Launch Experience to give you the sensation of a real lift off and presented by one of NASA’s veteran astronauts. All I can say is, you need to eat afterwards!
The Atlantis is a serious experience in anyone’s book. A $100 million, 90,000-square-foot attraction containing four multimedia and cinematic productions and more than 60 interactive experiences. Yes, this is one time when the hype is well worth it.
Regular price of $63 + tax for adults and $53 + tax for children ages 3-11 applies for all gate purchases. For more information or to purchase tickets or an annual pass, visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.