After our Lunch with an Astronaut, we caught the forty-five minute narrated bus tour. This is one of the main attractions at the Kennedy Space Center and the line to board the bus was long, nearly an hour.
The tour goes near several launch pads and buildings that house current projects, including Elon Musk's SpaceX. My favorite part of the tour had nothing to do with space; our tour guide pointed out local wildlife, including gators. Like the rest of Florida, The Kennedy Space Center is home to a whole lot of gators!
The bus tour ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, a building with exhibits highlighting the first space missions. One of my favorite exhibits was the Firing Room Theater, where the control center ( with actual consoles used) from the Apollo 8 mission is recreated and visitors are taken through a countdown. It's exciting.
The Apollo/Saturn V Center has so many exhibits, that it would be easy to spend 1/2 a day here.
You can even touch a moon rock.
The bus ride back to the main center is only fifteen minutes ( the queue to catch the bus was thirty), and takes a different route. Although the bus tour was good, I think this is where a special behind-the-scenes tour ( they offer several), would have been money well spent. As a note, the Kennedy Space Center website recommends booking a multi-day ticket, if you want to do more than one tour, and they count the Lunch with an Astronaut as a tour. Due to timing, it's simply not possible to squeeze in more than one tour a day.
At this point, the day was quickly coming to a close. We managed to make the last IMAX presentation, which was good, but compared to the other Kennedy Space Center offerings, not a must-do.
Some more Kennedy Space Center snaps...
The Rocket Garden during the day.
And the Rocket Garden at night, with the holiday light show called Spirit of Exploration.
Spirit of Exploration, was a very cool spectacle with themed projections on the rockets timed to holiday music. Sadly, we were among a handful of people watching it, which I hope doesn't mean that they scrap it in the future. It wasn't well advertised and we only "happened upon it". There were more employees than guests in attendance. It felt like a private experience. Magical. It was December 26th and we were sitting outside with perfect, warm weather enjoying a holiday show!
We didn't leave Kennedy Space Center until after they had officially closed for the evening; making us among the first to arrive and last to leave. I wish I could say that we saw everything, but there just wasn't enough time! If you're planning a trip to the space center, you can hit the highlights in a day, but if you want a more in-depth visit with behind-the-scenes tours, then make sure to book a multi-day ticket.