The John F. Kennedy Space Center is located along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in central Florida and is best known as an operations and launch center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Immediate adjacent to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station which shares resources and originally opened in 1962, this massive 144,000 acre facility consist of hundreds of building and structures. These include the 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building, the Launch Control Center, a 3-mile long landing strip, two active launch complexes comprising four pads and a 457,000 square foot space station processing facility.
Kennedy Space Center is famous for the launch operations of the Apollo program, Skylab, the Space Shuttle program, Constellation and most recently, the private SpaceX program.
The facility also features the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex which is home to the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, numerous exhibits. attractions and experiences about spaceflight, and the separately located Apollo / Saturn V Center which is near the shuttle landing facility.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – Frequently Asked Questions
Following are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
How far is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex from Orlando?
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located 43.5 miles from the Orlando International Airport and 65.1 miles from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
How much time do you need to visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex?
While it is possible for visit all the attractions, experiences and exhibits featured at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in one day, we highly recommend that guests take two days for a more complete tour and not have to rush.
How much does it cost to visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex?
For 2021, a single day admission ticket for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is $57 per adult (ages 12 and over) and $47 per child (ages 3 to 11). Attraction upgrades as well as multi-day and annual passes are available – details are outlined below.
Can I watch a rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex?
At limited times the visitor complex offers launch tickets for rocket launches that will need to be purchased in advance.
Viewing areas, not all of which are currently available, include the LC-39 Observation Gantry, the Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area, the main visitor complex next to the Shuttle Atlantis and the main visitor complex parking lots.
Is a visit to Kennedy Space Center worth it?
For the cost, a visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is completely worth it. It’s an easy drive from Orlando, there are attractions for all ages and there is enough to do to fill an entire day.
Map courtesy of KennedySpaceCenter.com
About the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a one-of-a-kind experience which includes real life spaceflight exhibits, two IMAX theaters, numerous attractions & experiences, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, astronaut training experiences and a separate Apollo / Saturn V Center.
The visitors complex welcomes more than 1.5 million guests annually and is completely self-supporting, receiving no taxpayer or government funding. The venue is privately operating by Delaware North Companies, a NASA contractor.
Hours and Parking
As of January 14, 2022 the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open daily for guests from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Entry to the complex ends one hour prior to closing.
The visitor parking lot is accessible 30 minutes prior to the complex opening. Parking costs $10 per car, $5 per motorcycle and $15 per oversized vehicles / RV / motor homes.
How to Get to the Visitor Complex
From Orlando, take SR 528 east to the SR 407/Interstate 95 North exit. SR 407 merges with SR 405 and travelers will continue on SR 405 for approximately 7.5 miles and follow the signs which will lead to Space Commerce Way. Make a right on Space Commerce Way and the entrance to the Visitor Complex will be on the left within in approximately one mile.
From South Florida, take Interstate 95 north until exit 212 (SR 407). Continue to SR 407 which merges with SR 405, traveling approximately 7.5 miles to Space Commerce Way. Make a right on Space Commerce Way and the entrance to the Visitor Complex will be on the left within in approximately one mile.
There are three admission ticket options for visitors to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. These include:
- Daily Admissions Ticket – $57 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $47 per child (ages 3 to 11).
- Multiday Admission Tickets (a year of admission) – $82 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $67 per child (ages 3 to 11).
- Atlantis Annual Pass (a year of admission plus free parking & discounts) – $96 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $787 per child (ages 3 to 11).
There are also premium enhancements offered at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex which include:
- Guided Tours: Three-hour walking tour at $20 per person
- Special Interest Bus Tours (Currently not available)
- Dine With An Astronaut (Currently not available)
- Astronaut Training Experience (ATX): Train just like an astronaut for 4 to 5 hours. Limited to ages 10 and older. $175 per person, admission not included.
- Mars Base 1: Experience living in the Martian environment for 5 to 7 hours. Limited to ages 10 and older. $150 per person, admission not included.
- Cosmic Quest: Purchase a Cosmic Quest badge and have an interactive experience on missions to Mars. Badges cost $8.99 per person.
Attractions and Experiences at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
US Astronaut Hall of Fame
Located in the Heros & Legends area, guests will learn about the lives of American astronauts. This exhibit will take 15 to 30 minutes to fully experience.
Mission Control: The Unsung Heros of Apollo
Also located in the Heros & Legends area in the Universe Theater, this 45-minute film takes guests through a real life history of the Apollo program. Show times vary throughout the year so make sure to check the daily schedule.
Mission Status Briefing
Located in the Universe Theater in the Heros & Legends area, this 20-minute multimedia “briefing” will inform guests of the current missions and launch activity. Show times vary throughout the year so make sure to check the daily schedule.
From the moment you walk in the Visitor Complex you can miss the Rocket Garden which features the following rockets:
- Gemini-Titan II
- Delta II
- Juno I
- Juno II
- Saturn 1B
There are daily guided tours of the Rocket Garden which take about 15 minutes to experience. Start times vary throughout the year so make sure to check the daily schedule.
Located in the NASA Now & Next area, watching a film about spaceflight on an IMAX screen is the next best thing to being in space itself. Currently there are two different films being shown which include:
- Asteroid Hunters: Narrated by Daisy Ridley, this 40-minute video will show how asteroid scientists use technology and track asteroids and one day protect our planet.
- Journey to Space: Viewers will take a journey into space along with NASA astronauts. This video is narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart and is 40-minutes in length.
Just adjacent to the IMAX Theater is Planet Play which is a family-friendly, interactive multi-story play area and is fully air-conditioned. Parents can enjoy a coffee or adult beverage in the lounge which watching their kids ages 2 to 12 explore this space themed playground.
Space Mirror Memorial
Located just past NASA now, this amazing monument honors those who gave their lives to further space exploration.
Space Shuttle Atlantis
One of the most popular attractions at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Atlantis is fully displayed in the Atlantis West Pavilion and the massive rocket boosters / orange fuel tank parked just outside of the entrance.
Shuttle Launch Experience
Located with the Atlantis West Pavilion just adjacent to the Atlantis shuttle itself, the Shuttle Launch Experience provides visitors a simulation of what it’s like to take off into space.
Guests must be at least 44 inches tall to experience this attraction and there are complimentary lockers just outside the entrance.
Astronaut Training Simulators
Train just like the NASA astronaut in this high-tech simulator lockup.
Hubble Space Telescope Theater
Also located right next to the Shuttle Atlantis is the Hubble Space Telescope Theater. There is a full scale replica of the Hubble hanging within the building.
Saturn V Rocket
Just a short bus ride from the Visitors Center is the Apollo / Saturn V Center where guests can walk beneath an authentic 363 foot Saturn V rocket. Guided tours are offered will provide excellent details of each of the three stages of the rocket.
Just next to the Saturn V Rocket is the Lunar Theater where guests can watch “Race to the Moon”, the story of the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission.
Moon Tree Garden
Just outside of the Apollo / Saturn V Center is the Moon Tree Garden which features magnificent gardens which surround a statue of the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Apollo 8 and the Firing Room
Located within the Apollo / Saturn V Center, guests will relive the first crewed moon orbit mission by NASA from 1968.
Additional attractions and experiences include:
- Forever Remembered
- ISS Triumph of Technology
- Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted
- Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator
- NASA Now
- KSC Step. Power. Launch!
- Apollo Treasures Gallery
- Exploring the Moon
- Ad Astra Per Aspera
- Path to the Moon
One of the highlights of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is the bus ride to the Apollo / Saturn 5 Center where the route takes guests past the 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building. This building is truly amazing to see up close.
Food and Beverage Options at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Orbit Cafe is the visitor complex’s largest dining option and features American fare including burgers, sandwiches and pizza. It is also open for breakfast and features indoor & outdoor seating.
Enjoy ice cream, Space Dots and drinks near the entrance to the Universe Theater.
Get your popcorn, snacks and drinks while your are enjoying an IMAX movie at IMAX Snax.
Planet Play Lounge
Guests can enjoy coffee, beer and wine in a lounge setting. Located within Planet Play, children can experience the play area while adults relax.
Space Dots is the ice cream of the future and located next to the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Red Rock Grill
The Red Rock Grill is located in NASA Central across from the gift show and has covered outdoor seating.
Rocket Garden Cafe
The Rocket Garden Cafe is located just past the main entrance across from the Rocket Garden and features outdoor patio seating.
Moon Rock Cafe
The Moon Rock Cafe is located at the Apollo / Saturn V Center and features indoor & outdoor seating.
Gateway: The Deep Space launch Complex (coming soon)
Set to open in March 2022, the 50,000 square foot, multistory Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex is a 4D motion theater that will allow “guests to experience interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating what is happening right now within the space program”.
More information about “Gateway” will be published when the attraction opens.
Hotels Near the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Residence Inn Cape Canaveral
Located just adjacent to the Port in Cape Canaveral, this extended stay type hotel is less than 30 minutes from the entrance to the Visitors Complex and features an outdoor pool, sports court, BBQ grills, fitness center and a complimentary breakfast.
Fairfield Inn by Marriott Titusville / Kennedy Space Center
Located on the mainland in nearby Titusville, this hotel is approximately 20 to 25 minutes from the entrance to the Visitors Complex and features an outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center and a complimentary breakfast.
The Four Points Sheraton Cocoa Beach
Located in Cocoa Beach approximately 35 minutes from the entrance to the Visitors Complex, the Four Points Sheraton Cocoa Beach features an outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center and is right next to the Cocoa Beach Surf Company.