When we stopped at the visitors center in Cocoa Beach the day before, the man suggested lots of fun sounding places to us, including a putt putt golf place with live animals around amongst the holes. Wednesday afternoon we decided to check it out, and here is the alligator that was there near the first hole to greet us.
Tuesday Lindee and the kids headed home – it was a school week, after all – and Jeff and I just vegged all morning, recuperating from our busyness of the two days we spent at the space center. That afternoon, though, we headed to Cocoa Beach – just a little south of where we were staying in Titusville. Jeff is a huge, lifelong I Dream of Jeannie fan, which was set in Cocoa Beach. We googled & found a sort of home grown I Dream of Jeannie tour there, and it started with I Dream of Jeannie Lane, of course. We found it with no trouble at all.
We went and actually spent a while walking on the beach, and then found I Dream of Yogurt, also listed on the tour. It was delicious, and we got to watch I Dream of Jeannie reruns the whole time we were snacking.
One of our favorite events at the space center was the Astronaut Encounter, when we got to listen to astronaut Don Thomas talk about life on the space shuttle. It was so interesting – he really went into a lot of the details. We got this group picture with him afterwards.
We so enjoyed our visit to this center Monday. Jeff, being from Indiana, as was Gus Grissom, really appreciated the beautiful memorial to the three astronauts who died in the Apollo I fire on the launch pad – Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee.
We started our day off Monday with the bus tour of the Space Center. It was so interesting seeing things that weren’t included in the immediate Visitor Center Area. We especially loved seeing the new tower they are building to shoot the new Orion into orbit, to take man out of low earth orbit, back to the moon and on to Mars. Wow.
The bus dropped us off at the Apollo/Saturn Center, which was absolutely fascinating, since there was much there about the Mercury 7 astronauts that I grew up idolizing. It was in the building where mission control was actually located for the Apollo launches, and the control center is still there. So cool.
In the shuttle exhibit, there was a mini-international space station made out of these clear tubes for the kids to climb through, suspended a floor above the ground floor. Jeff went down to get a picture of Clara and Charlie climbing through – that’s them in the front part of the tube. They said it was definitely a little creepy – but not so much they didn’t want to do it more than once 🙂
Almost without exception, the movies they showed about all the different aspects of space travel were so, so interesting. A lot of times I think scientific movies are sort of a snooze fest, but Clara could not tear herself away from the one about the Hubble Telescope about the launching, the immediate problems that had to be fixed, and the return trips by the shuttle to repair it. I couldn’t quit watching, either, once I started.
I think all six of us agreed that our favorite part of the day Sunday was time spent in the Atlantis exhibit. It was so well done, and surprisingly emotional when they opened the curtains and you could walk out and see the Atlantis for the first time. I was not the only one tearing up, for sure. It was just a magnificent sight. I know I posted a picture earlier, but it was just so majestic that I couldn’t quit taking pictures.
What a great day we had Sunday, when Jeff, Lindee, Mallory, Charlie, Clara and I headed to the Kennedy Space Center. We started out at the Rocket Garden, mostly because it was outside, and rain was predicted later in the day. The kids LOVED checking out the Apollo space capsule – here are Mallory and Charlie giving it a try. I didn’t think my knees would bend enough for me to get down in there, but it was fun watching them!
The big draw of the first day was spending time in the Atlantis display. They did an amazing job of presenting it, with a couple of movies that told about the space shuttles came to be created. And then when they finished, the recording said, “Welcome home, Atlantis,” – which is I think what the controller said to every space shuttle that touched down – and the screen went clear, and there was the Atlantis behind it. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty emotional for me, and even Charlie and the girls said it made them get a lump in their throat.