Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
(1967 - present)
Assorted brochures, guidemaps and vacation guides for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Back in the 1960s during the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, all eyes were focused on the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, as that was the launch facility where all of the U.S. manned space flights were launched. As the U.S. space program progressed through the Mercury, Gemini and then the Apollo lunar missions, so did interest at the Kennedy Space Center. Naturally, visitor attendance also spiked during the Space Shuttle launches from 1981 through 2011.
What began as a small trailer with a few exhibits in the early 1960s transitioned into self-guided car tours by 1964, and then a full-scale visitor center that opened in 1967. By 1969, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center was seeing an annual attendance of a million people. When Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center saw a 30% boost in attendance. The only problem was that there wasn't much to see at the visitor center, and the exhibits there looked more like a trade show rather than a NASA museum. That quickly changed as the Kennedy Space Center went through a $2.3 million upgrade that added more exhibits focused on space exploration and the history of manned space flights.
Through the first thirty years of operation, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex had a variety of exhibits revolving around the history of space flight. One of the highlights was the outdoor rocket garden featuring a variety of replica and unused rockets and capsules as well as other items relating to launching and recovering the rockets. Visitors had the option of purchasing tickets for bus tours to other areas of Kennedy Space Center, such as the Vehicle Assembly Building and the old launch facility and firing room used during the early days of space flight.
Best of all, during those days admission to the visitor complex was FREE. That helped make it an easy decision to drive to the coast and spend half a day at the space center.
In 1995, Delaware North Companies won a contract to operate the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center. Since that point, the visitor complex has seen numerous upgrades from the Apollo/Saturn V Center (accessible from the bus tour) to the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame to the Shuttle Launch Experience (a $60 million attraction six years in the making) and finally, the Visitor Center's latest addition, an exhibit featuring Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Around 1997 or 1998, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex began charging an admission fee. The visitor complex is now entirely self-supporting and no longer receives taxpayer or government funding.
These Kennedy Space Center brochures, guidemaps and vacation guides are (c) Delaware North Companies and their respective trademarks. If you wish to share them, please link back here to Florida-Project.com.