Florida has long been synonymous to the sun, nature, and the beach. Equally synonymous to Florida is NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where a few of the most iconic spacecrafts have been launched into space, and seen by millions of viewers watching at home. Let’s explore this sun and space part of Central Florida, and see what it has to offer.
Kennedy Space Center – your glimpse to Atlantis
Located on Merritt Island, about an hour away from the main draw of Orlando’s theme park scene of Disney & Universal Studios, lies the sprawling Kennedy Space Center. As a working research and launch center for NASA, it has opened up some of the buildings, and grounds, for tourists to view some of the most iconic spacecrafts that they have. You’re also able to experience what it is like to go to space, and see what’s out there. The most iconic things to see are Atlantis, and the Rocket garden – a display of previous rockets used to launch people and satellites to outer space. It costs 50 USD for entrance to the space center, with additional fees applying for other activities like lunches with an astronaut. It’s big enough to stay a whole day there if you wish, and make it in time back to downtown Orlando by 9PM to grab a quick dinner.
Cocoa Beach: it's not made from chocolate
Cocoa Beach is not your typical beach town. Sure, it is small, but its proximity to Canaveral also makes it one of the closest beaches to visit if you are in town on a cruise. Partly because the cruise terminal is just a few minutes drive away, and partly because of the big surf shops in the area. One such surf shop, Ron Jon, is open 24 hours a day. Picture this: you drive in at 2AM and realize you forgot your board shorts – you can easily grab one at that time without waiting for 10AM the next day! The Cocoa Beach Pier is also a great place to grab something to eat with a great view of the ocean. You’re literally on top of it.
Thousand Islands Conservation Area
Technically a part of Cocoa Beach, you can jump on a boat and cruise along the islands in style. There are dolphins and manatees that live in the area, so if you’re lucky, you might just be able to see one of these famous residents. You’ll also be able to see birds of different kinds; look out for the blue heron, a graceful tall bird that is also quite prolific in the area. Noteworthy as well are the riverfront houses – they are just so pretty to look at, and give you a glimpse of how the other half live. A boat tour costs anywhere from 20 - 35 USD per person, and lasts about an hour or two, depending on the company who operates it. There really aren’t a thousand islands in the area, but a couple of hundred. Don’t worry though, the wildlife makes up for it.
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Nature and Space can exist together
Nature and space live together in harmony, such as in the Space Coast. With conservation sites as well as technological advances happening within the same area, we show that man can help conserve nature, and conquer the unknown too. It also makes for an ideal site to go to for those who want to learn, and those who also want to chill out within an hour’s drive from each other. So grab your space gear, but don’t forget to wear your swimsuit underneath, when you come visit!
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