Thursday found us driving about an hour east to Merritt Island and ultimately, The Kennedy Space Center! Woohoo! I'm such a sci-fi nerd that this is right up my alley.
We had been here before a long time ago and enjoyed our visit then so we looked forward to seeing what was new and different. The biggest difference is that it is now HUGE!!!!! So much sleeker and slicker and tourist-ready than it used to be. And that is not a criticism, it was just such a surprise. It was actually kind of wild.
Admission is pricey, rather surprisingly so, but it includes more than 60 exhibits and simulators, the Bus Tour of the entire facility which is all behind the scenes stuff like the Space X building and launch pads (!!!), Guided tours of the Rocket Garden, so very many movies, some in 3D, and character appearances (like the Robonaut). And that's just some of what is available. If you wish to pay extra (we did not) you can dine with a real astronaut, go through astronaut training (sort of) and get photos taken in a space suit!
The Rocket Garden guided tour was awesome. The tour guide didn't have that painful rote sound that most tour guides have at all. It was more like walking along with a very smart friend. The tour was personable, informative, interesting AND entertaining. Our favourite exhibit and film, hands down, was at the Hall of Hero's and Legends. That was amazing. The bus tour was pretty great too. We were both surprised at how much there was to see and learn.
Of course there were also places to eat and places to shop. No matter where you go in Orlando it seems, there is a gift shop.
Just a little side note: The grounds of the Kennedy Space Center and the surrounding area is a Wildlife conservation area. We saw a family of wild pigs calmly walking down the side of the road on the way out!
We spent quite some time there with minds and hearts amongst the stars before we left. But our day wasn't finished yet. Nope our next target was, Old Town Orlando which I had never heard of, but Tim does some serious research before we go places. And thank goodness he does!
Old Town turned out to be, well obviously, an older section of Orlando, but they've turned it into almost a permanent carnival. Way Fun!
The streets are all brick paved, pedestrian only and lined with interesting shops and restaurants, one haunted house and a magic show (!!) I could spent quite some time just wandering in and out of all of the shops! And then there is the other side, which is an old fashioned amusement park. Even more awesome! Roller coasters, bumper cars, carousels, go-karts, kiosks with funnel cake, ice cream and popcorn, loud music and special events all of the time.
Although it was fairly quiet when we were there, as it turns out, the place really comes alive on Saturday nights. It's not just the neon lights and the much larger crowds though. Every Saturday Night they have a classic car show! Dang! I only we had timed that just a little bit better that would have been so much fun to see. We did see a lot of notices for some Cat Video contest they were holding, the voting and viewing to be held on October 20th. So like I said, special events all of the time. Great Stuff!
By the time we left we were both starving and I was in the mood for Mexican food. Since we don't really know the area at all, I consulted my trusty phone and led us to a 4.5 star Mexican place which turned out to be very close to where we were staying. It was called El Potro and was a small little humble looking place in a large shopping plaza. We debating the 4.5 star rating as we sat in the car looking at the building but figured, what the heck, why not. We ate there anyway, and we were so glad that we did. All of it was excellent!
Oddly, there were wings on the appetizer menu (I've never seen that at a Mexican restaurant before, have you?) and since Tim is something of a Wing Connoisseur, he had to check them out. It turned out that they were one of the best he has ever eaten! Who knew? Good food, great day, all pooped out and ready to crash for the day.
Tomorrow is the LAST day of this part of our vacation. If you want to know how we spent it, check in again tomorrow :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.