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Chuck's Big Adventure in Florida: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Each day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, an astronaut is there to shake hands, share stories and tell their own unique stories.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Chuck's Big Adventure is traveling to Florida. His adventure will take him to some amazing beaches, beautiful homes, mermaid encounters and the fountain of youth.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

For 60 years, it is the place where the world goes to head into space.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is unlike anything in the world. Think about it: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, private exploration and, of course, the upcoming Artemis flights, all originated here. This is where the world looks to see the latest in the quest to tackle the universe.

For decades, the center has been open for tourists, but if you haven't been in a few years, be prepared: The offerings have changed, from Gateway — a look at the future in deep space — to a building honoring the legends in space flight. 

You can see the retired shuttle Atlantis, but also learn how our everyday life has been profoundly affected by the work of NASA.

Credit: WTHR

"I don't think they know the everyday benefits that we see from the space program. I think, you know, coming to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a great way to learn about not only just the incredible feat of going to space and going there safely, but also the benefits that we see and use every day," said Rebecca Shireman, public relations and communications manager for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Because of Artemis and the private ventures like Space X routinely in the news, many believe this is the most exciting time in the space program in the past 50 years, and the Kennedy Space Center is responding.

"Almost everything has changed in the six years that I've been here. We've opened Heroes and Legends, a new attraction about the early space program and those astronauts, the original Mercury astronauts," Shireman said. "We've opened Gateway just most recently in June, which is all about the current and future of the space program, including telling the stories of the private companies like Space X, United Launch Alliance and Boeing, which is a huge part of the space story right now."

The biggest draw to most people is the men and women who have taken to space, and each day, an astronaut is there to shake hands, share stories and tell their own unique stories.

Commander Brian Duffy, who has been a part of four missions to space, is one of those astronauts, and he loves sharing his tales of life in space. For him, seeing a renewed interest in space is a wonderful thing, and he feels American citizens are excited as well. 

"I would agree there was a lot going on after a kind of a lull that we had. All of a sudden, the pace of play is picking up more, and more people are getting interested in space travel, and they're flying in space," Duffy said. "I got a lot of questions about the commercial companies, and they're doing great and, you know, we need them to be successful there because NASA made an intentional commitment a number of years ago to back away from low-Earth orbit and to be able to focus on other things ... which is why we're going back to the moon right now and eventually going to Mars." 

Duffy is especially thrilled at the prospect of man returning to the moon. 

"Artemis is great. We took a lot of the technologies that we used in the space shuttle program and carried them over into Artemis, and I'd be the first volunteer to go. I would, I'd love to," Duffy said. "I trust the solid rocket boosters. I've ridden those space shuttle main engines, which are on the bottom of the core stage of Artemis."

There is something for every age group at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Plan on being there for most of the day if you want to see the exhibits, the video presentations, the bus ride and lunch. 

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is constantly changing too. If you haven't been in a while, there are lots of new exhibits to make the visit worthwhile, and there is a lot for kids to enjoy, especially age 5 and over.

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