Florida’s Space Coast is home to Kennedy Space Center, and while the short drive west of Orlando to Cape Canaveral is only about an hour, it feels worlds away. The clogged traffic and throngs of families with mouse-ear hats give way to open road and sandy beaches. It’s a nice reprieve from standing in hot, sweaty lines and a great reason to visit Cape Canaveral.
Visiting Kennedy Space Center with kids

We’ve taken the kids to Orlando many times (WDWUniversal, and now Tampa), but never to Kennedy Space Center over at Cape Canaveral. At ages 11 and 13, we felt it was a good time to visit, and it turns out they we all loved it. We stayed the night in Cocoa Beach so we could get some beachy fun in while we were there and it was a perfect break from Orlando. Cocoa Beach, Melbourne & The Beaches, Port Canaveral, Titusville, Palm Bay and Viera are all part of Florida’s Space Coast, so there’s plenty for families to enjoy. Come read about Kennedy Space Center for kids and why we think you’ll love visiting!

Disclosure: We were given 2 media passes to Kennedy Space Center. We purchased our own passes for the kids. All opinions about KSC are our own. This post also contains affiliate links that help support the site and allow us to bring you more awesome, family-friendly content. Thanks for reading!

Kennedy Space Center with Kids – Titusville, Florida

Florida's Space Coast - Kennedy Space Center with kidsI had visited Kennedy Space Center when I was a kid and was filled with awe back then. I figure I was about our kids’ age when I did, and so much has changed. The biggest difference is the new ‘Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other’ zone. It’s an incredible exhibit paying homage to the 30 years of NASA’s shuttle program, including Hubble and the International Space Station, and is the permanent home to the Space Shuttle Atlantis orbiter.

What to expect when visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Alan Shepard's space suit at Kennedy Space Center
Alan Shepard’s Apollo 14 space suit.

Once you’ve gone through the entrance and passed through the security checkpoints, you can explore the various ‘missions’ around the complex or you may get in line for the busses out to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. We recommend taking the Kennedy Space Center bus tour early while the lines are short. This is the beginning of the ‘Behind The Gates’ Mission

  • Exploring the different Mission Zones at KSC

    Kennedy Space Center is split up into Mission Zones.
    – Heroes and Legends
    – Race to the Moon
    – NASA Now
    – Behind the Gates
    – Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other

Behind The Gates Mission Zone

During the tour, your driver will narrate some of the way and point out interesting things like various launch pads, some history and even some wildlife. We spotted an alligator on our trip and there is also a cool bald eagle’s nest that’s over 50 years old!

For other parts of the tour, you will watch a few videos about NASA and the space program at Cape Canaveral. The overall ride takes about 30-40 minutes, but you’ll want to allow 2-3 hours total to explore the Aplollo/Saturn V Center once you arrive there. There is a cafe there where we ate lunch during our visit and it worked out well.What to see at Kennedy Space Center - the Apollo/Saturn V center

  • Upgrade Your Tour!

    If your family are serious space nerds, consider adding some upgrades to your tour. The KSC Explore Tour allows guests to get an even more up-close experience at KSC with access to restricted areas like the launch pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Best things to do at Kennedy Space Center - visit the Saturn V RocketThe Apollo/Saturn V mission zone is awesome! You’ll watch a short film about the launch and then are free to explore different exhibits related to NASA’s Apollo program. Touch actual moon rocks, learn about the astronauts in each mission, and marvel at the sheer size of the Saturn V rocket. We loved all of it!Kennedy Space Center Saturn V

Apollo capsule - Kennedy Space Center itineraryOnce you’re finished touring, catch a bus back to the main visitor center where you can continue your tour. We went to the ‘Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other’ mission next. You can’t miss it – there’s a massive replica of space shuttle Atlantis sitting out front.

Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other Mission Zone

Atlantis Shuttle - things to do around Kennedy Space CenterInside, you’ll learn all about NASA’s shuttle program with a short film. When it’s over, the screen raises and like magic, you’re face to face with the Shuttle Atlantis.Space shuttle Atlantis - what to do at Kennedy Space Center

So cool!

Here you’ll learn about the shuttle and the missions it undertook including servicing the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. Try your hand at some of the simulators that control the shuttle’s robotic arm, and climb in the cockpit to see what it’s like to fly. If you’re up for it, try the Shuttle Launch Experience which simulates the 8.5 minute launch into space.Space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center

Overall, the shuttle exhibit is incredible and really well done. Maybe I’m partial because it was my history and things I remember growing up, but it’s still awesome and the kids loved it.

Flying the space shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center visitor's complex
Maybe one day she’ll fly one for real…

After you’ve toured this mission head out to one of the others like ‘Heroes and Legends’ or take a stroll around the Rocket Garden. Docents give presentations throughout the day on the history of the rockets, so there’s lots to learn for kids and adults.Rocket garden Kennedy Space Center

Planning you trip to Kennedy Space Center with Kids

Space Shuttle Atlantis - things to do Kennedy Space CenterThe Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is immense and we didn’t get around to everything. You could if you tried, but just be sure you’re keeping track of the time. Families should budget a full day here if possible, and there is enough interactive things for kids that they won’t be bored.

Hours and Admission

As of this writing the base ticket was $40 for children ages 3-11 and $50 for adults. Active Duty Military cost $37/$46. Seniors 55+ are $46. If you had the time and could spend more than one day here, the multi-day admission is a pretty good deal at $60/$75.

The KSC Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. and closes typically at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. depending on the season.

Other attractions near Cape Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast

Cocoa Beach, Florida – Surfing Capital of the East Coast

Cocoa Beach Florida - beaches near Cape CanaveralLooking for a beach near Kennedy Space Center? Cocoa Beach is a great one! We decided to stay a night at Cocoa Beach and play on the beach rather than drive back to Orlando, and it was a great choice.

We stayed at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront which offered up perfect views of the ocean and sites right on the beach. For dinner, we found some fish tacos at Sandbar Sports Grill and then played on the beach until the sun went down. It was a great way to end the day.

Check here for the latest prices at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront.Sunset at Cocoa Beach - beaches near Cape Canaveral

A trip to Cocoa Beach wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the world-famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. From sunscreen to custom surf boards, they’ve got it all at Ron Jon. Get yourself one of their unique t-shirts and you’ll be all set.Ron Jon Surf Shop - space coast Florida

Canaveral National Seashore

Just north of Port Canaveral is Canaveral National Seashore. This pristine coastline is a great place for families to play, have a picnic, watch a sunset, or even watch a rocket launch! During the summer months, check out their calendar and book a guided tour to see nesting loggerhead turtles on the beach. Sadly, we tried to get this worked into our schedule but couldn’t. Next time for sure!

American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame

Located in Titusville, this museum honors American astronauts, preserves the history of the American space program, and inspires a new generation of space explorers. The museum is open M-Sat 10-5.

Cocoa Beach and Florida’s Space Coast is a great way to get away from the chaos in Orlando, and we loved spending some time here. Have you been?

Frequently Asked Questions about visiting Kennedy Space Center

How far is Cocoa Beach from Titusville? About 45 minutes depending on traffic.
Does Kennedy Space Center have rides. Not really, although it has the Shuttle Launch Experience and some other simulators. It’s not a theme park, but still very fun.
How do i get to Kennedy Space Center? You can find directions to Kennedy Space Center here.
What’s the address for Kennedy Space Center Florida? Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953
How long does it take to drive from Orlando to Cape Canaveral? It’s only about an hour depending on traffic.
How long does it take to tour the Kennedy Space Center? Anywhere from a half-day to a full day depending on your kids’ attention span. We spent a full day and then hit the beach.
What are the Kennedy Space Center hours? Generally from 9 am. until 6 pm. Check here for the latest information.
Are there Kennedy Space Center discounts? Not really. It’s best to just order tickets directly here.

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Visiting the Kennedy Space Center with kids

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Kennedy Space Center with Kids (Exploring Florida\'s Space Coast)

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    2 replies to "Kennedy Space Center with Kids (Exploring Florida’s Space Coast)"

    • Yasmin Gonzalez

      I just wanted to let you know that Alan Shepard did not fly on Apollo 11. He was Commander of Apollo 14.
      Apollo 11 was NEIL Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. I hope this helps.

      • Carrick


        Thank you for pointing this out – it does help! There is so much to see and take in at KSC that it’s easy to jumble the facts a bit, so thank you. I’ve changed the caption of that photo to give the correct info.

        Have you visited? If not, it’s awesome.

        Happy new year!


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