Today, May 25th, marks Geek Pride Day- an excuse for geeks around the world to get geeky! What’s significant about May 25th? It’s the day the first Star Wars film was released!
To celebrate, Hostelbookers have created a Geek Travel Map with 15 recommended geeky travel places. I’m a complete geek, so I thought I’d share with you my favourite Geeky travel tip…the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast.
I have to confess, I’m a bit of a Physics geek.
In school I studied mainly arts subjects at A-level, but thrown in amongst Fine Art, History and English Language, was my favourite subject- Physics. In particular I was fascinated by space and astrophysics, and the theory of relativity. I used to sit and watch countless documentaries about space exploration, and I fantasized about becoming an astronaut. People might think that’s kinda weird for a 5-ft tall little blonde thing, but that’s just the way I roll!
So for me, visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was something I’d always dreamed of doing. And when I heard we would be having lunch with an astronaut…well…’excited’ would be an understatement!
As we were greeted by our guide Andrea, she asked us;
“Did you hear a rumble early this morning around 3am?”
Unfortunately we were in Sarasota so we didn’t see the launch, but that morning the Falcon 9 rocket had launched the Dragon capsule to the International Space Station as part of the SpaceX mission.
The Rocket Garden
On our way to lunch with a real-life astronaut, we casually strolled through The Rocket Garden. It’s not every day you see a garden filled with Rockets! In The Rocket Garden you can see the Redstone, Atlas and Titan rockets that first sent astronauts into space.
Lunch with an astronaut
Now to the best bit, lunch with a real astronaut, Bob Springer. We enjoyed a buffet lunch while Bob gave the audience a talk about his career and what it’s like being a NASA astronaut. Here’s a picture of us posing with Bob…he was a legend!
The KSC Tour
The KSC Up-Close tour takes you to the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, which is the largest single storey building by volume in the WORLD! This building is absolutely enormous! The tour is a great way to see the actual workings of the Kennedy Space Station and to get a sense of what it would be like to be part of NASA!
It’s not every day you see a sign that says “No Parking, Orbiter Tow Way”!
We drove past the view of the rocket launch pads, and the seating stands where people had watched the Falcon 9 rocket launch that morning.
The KSC tour culminates at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which was my favourite part of the tour. We entered a room with television screens explaining the NASA Apollo space program and the USA’s attempts to go to the moon. We were then ushered into the mission control room where we had the chance to experience the tension and build-up to the actual launch of Apollo 8.
After the Apollo show you enter a huge warehouse-type building, where the 363-ft Saturn V shuttle is on display. In the Apollo Treasures Gallery you can see items from the Apollo moon missions, including Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard’s spacesuit, pictured below.
So if you’re a geek like me, the Kennedy Space Center is fascinating and fun. If you dreamt of being an astronaut but you never had the chance to don a spacesuit, a visit to NASA is as close as you can get! 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Space Center, so there are lots of events on over the course of the year. You can also check the launch schedule on the NASA website and see a real-life rocket launch!