Monday, March 23, 2015

Kennedy Space Center

We went to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday; it's a huge, fascinating place that could easily take a day to see.  Amelia read us some nonfiction space books in the car to help us get excited about learning more about space.  She has decided that she doesn't want to become an astronaut because she doesn't want to ever have to ride the Vomit Comet.  I am glad to hear this.  Anyway, we walked around the Rocket Garden first, and the girls jokingly asked if we could grow rockets in our garden this spring.


They were not overly impressed by these rockets, but they did love to climb in the tiny little space capsules to see if they could fit.  They fit a lot easier than Ben did!

The Space Center has a fantastic play structure for kids, so we let them play for a bit while Ben and Jeff looked at one of the exhibits.  I love that the entire play area was shaded, and that they had a separate slide for babies.  Nathaniel had a hard time sliding down while wearing shoes, but he still had fun.  The girls could have played here for hours.

After lunch we took the bus tour out to the Saturn V rocket building, past the launch pads and observation areas.  Here's Nathaniel looking happy to be riding the bus:

Five minutes after this, he threw up all over Jeff.  I am so sorry, Jeff!  We cleaned Nathaniel and Jeff up as best we could with napkins, baby wipes and hand sanitizer, but it wasn't pretty.  I held Nathaniel for the rest of the bus ride, and he ended up falling asleep on my lap until we got to the Saturn V rocket building.  Then Jeff went to the gift store to buy a new shirt and I stripped Nathaniel down and gave him a baby wipe bath and let him roam around the outside path wearing no clothes for a while.  He perked up quickly and seemed to be fine after that (and nobody else got sick), so I wonder if he was just motion sick from riding the bus not in a carseat?  I don't have any other pictures from the bus ride.

Anyway, Jeff and Jane took the girls around the Saturn V rocket, but I did get to spend a bit of time with them at the end.  Amelia told me a bunch of stuff that she had learned, and Megan and I looked at the moon buggy and the astronaut suits, and then we all got to touch a moon rock.  Amelia wanted to have her picture taken in front of the service module.

When we got back to the main site, we went to see the Atlantis space shuttle.  Outside the building was a man dressed in a space suit; Megan was especially uninterested in talking to him, but Amelia thought it was interesting.  I think he must have been burning up in there.  It is really amazing how big the space shuttle is.

Before we got to see the space shuttle, we watched a short show about going into space.  Then the screen lifted up, dramatic music played, and the orbiter was revealed.  It was actually really cool.  They have it angled so that you can see in the cargo bay doors and if you keep walking around, you can see the bottom of the orbiter, which looked like it had been well used.  Megan learned that the white airplane part of the space shuttle is called the orbiter, and the entire contraption, containing the orbiter, the solid rocket boosters and the external fuel tank, is called the space shuttle.  I had always thought just the airplane part was the space shuttle, but I was mistaken.  She had to correct me a few times before I learned to say the right thing.

Amelia wanted me to take her picture in front of the Atlantis so that she could add it to her journal and take it to school with her, but we haven't printed out pictures yet.  Megan refused to have her photo taken, but then changed her mind a few minutes later.  They had very definite ideas of how they wanted their picture taken; Amelia wanted to be by the cargo bay doors, and Megan wanted to be at the front so that it would look like the orbiter was flying over her head.

They had all kinds of activities for kids inside, like video games where you could try to land the space shuttle, none of which worked very well.  Megan enjoyed sitting in the pretend cockpit and pushing the buttons, though.

But her favorite thing was exploring the 3/8 scale model of the international space station.  She ran through it quite a few times, and especially loved the "space walk" part, which was a clear plastic tube suspended a few stories about the bottom level of the building.  I went in with her at first, and pretended to be freaked out by the space walk (not a huge stretch, really) and so she came back to help me and show me that it was fun.  She's really a sweetie.

We all tried out the space slide, which is supposed to mimic the angle at which the space shuttle comes in for a landing.  It was very steep!  And hard to slide down without pants and socks on, but Amelia figured it out.  She went down quite a few times.  Megan tried it once and then said "I'm never going down this again."

The girls thought the space helmets in the gift shop were fun:

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