City Profile: Cape Canaveral


Whether it is space education (and adventure for the kids), wildlife viewing, shopping or even cruising, Cape Canaveral has what you're looking for.

You won't find many places where nature exists in harmony with technology, but it does in Cape Canaveral on Florida's Space Coast. You'll also find pristine beaches, fabulous fishing and great golfing, things that make a Florida vacation great, all within easy driving distance of Florida's biggest attractions.

Visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which tells the story of NASA's exploration of space through interactive exhibits, movies and tours that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Strap yourself in for the Space Shuttle Launch Experience, where visitors may feel like they're going into  orbit in the Shuttle Launch Simulation Facility. Other highlights include the Rocket Garden; Astronaut Encounter, where you can meet a veteran NASA astronaut; "Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted" and the Astronaut Memorial, which honors the astronauts who gave their lives to further space exploration. Experience the thrills of space in the two IMAX productions offered.

Amazingly, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge exists on the same land that hosts the Kennedy Space Center. This 220-square-mile refuge is home to more endangered species than any other refuge in the United States, including the southern bald eagle and Atlantic loggerhead turtle. Here, gators soak in the sun at the edge of inland waterways; raccoons, bobcats and armadillos roam the refuge; and gentle manatees (sea cows) swim in the waters of the Indian River. Other Titusville attractions include the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which showcases the feats of the first 44 American astronauts.

Head out to sea from nearby Port Canaveral, which despite being one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, it isn't congested. Port Canaveral also has recreational facilities including boat ramps, a campground, parks, beaches and fishing areas. The port is a great place to find a party or charter fishing boat and is also one of the largest scallop fisheries in the world.

Farther south in Cocoa you can explore Historic Cocoa Village, the restored downtown district. It is a tree-lined brick-walk village with specialty shops, a picnic area and gazebo and the Porcher House, the former estate of wealthy citrus growers, now open for tours, but by appointment only. Cocoa has several museums including the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, with exhibits of natural science, history and archeology, and the BCC Planetarium & Observatory, a 70-foot diameter star theater which houses the world’s first combined Digital & Optical Mechanical projection system, on the campus of Brevard Community College.

Whether you'd like to catch a wave or dream of catching the next shuttle into space, the Space Coast is an ideal vacation destination.

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