2018 Florida Road Trip (Prelude)

14 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Prelude:  Because of the influence of NASA and the U.S. Air Force, east central Florida is the home to many historic, space, and aviation related museums.  Living in this area for many years, I have visited many of these museums more than once. Because they are all within a “Day Trip” distance, or less, from where I live, they will not be counted as part of this current road trip.  However, I will start off by giving you a brief account of each of them so you will know what is available in the area.

 

 

Because we live on Florida’s east coast near the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), one of my favorite places to visit is the KSC Visitors Center.  This is one of the most frequently visited attractions in Florida, next to Disney World in Orlando.  The visitor center is one of the best ways for NASA to advertise their launch operations business that has been on-going within the 144,000 acre Kennedy Space Center over the last 60+ years.  The KSC Visitor Center complex displays a variety of artifacts, memorabilia, and exhibits related to the history and future of America’s manned space flight programs.  The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame is also located within the NASA Visitor Center Complex. There is a rocket garden and several space related attractions, as well as bus tours. The bus tour gives visitors a close-up look at the KSC and provides educational information about the many past and current projects as well as those planned for the future from this location.

 

 

Located southeast of the KSC, across the Banana River, on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station you will find the Air Force Space & Missile Museum.  This small museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia related to the early days of America’s space programs.  The museum also has a Rocket Garden which includes the restored launch complex 26, from where the first successful American satellite was placed in earth orbit, and launch complexes 5/6 which were used to place America’s first Astronauts in earth orbit.

 

 

While in Cape Canaveral anyone who has an interest in lighthouses will want to visit the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, located on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and operated by the U.S. Air Force Space Wing.  The lighthouse has a very interesting history beginning with the first lighthouse placed at this location in 1838.  Other lighthouses have been built and moved to this location over the years, to warn mariners of the dangerous Southeast Shoals located just off the Florida coast.  Free tours of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse can be scheduled for Wednesdays & Thursdays (only) thru the Patrick AFB Public Affairs office.

 

 

Just a few miles west of Cape Canaveral, across the Banana River, you will find the 82 acre Brevard Veterans Memorial Park located just south of SR-520 at the south end of the Sykes Creek Parkway.  Within this beautifully laid out park you will find the Veterans Memorial Library, the Veterans Memorial Plaza and the Veterans Memorial Museum.  The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to all branches of the U.S. Military Services dating from the Revolutionary War to the present War on Terror.

 

 

On your way back towards Orlando from either of the afore mentioned museums you will find the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum located just off SR-405 on the east side of the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, FL.  This is a large three-hanger museum that displays 40+ beautifully restored aircraft from WWI to the present.  As with most aircraft museums, there are always aircraft in various stages of restoration by the excellent staff of volunteer mechanics. Several of the aircraft in this museum’s collection are in flying condition and for those who wish the thrill of flying in a vintage warbird, and have the money, this can be arranged at the gift shop.

 

 

Another local space related museum is The American Space Museum located in downtown Titusville, FL. This museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of America’s manned space exploration from its earliest days.  The museum also has examples of launch control consoles from the blockhouse of launch complex 36, from which NASA and the U.S Air Force launched various payloads on Atlas rockets from 1962 to 2005.

 

 

The outdoor Space View Park, located on the Indian River, just two blocks east of the museum, is the site of the Space Walk of Fame and is an integral part of the American Space Museum. The monuments and brick engravings honor the Astronauts and many of the workers who made the U.S. Manned Space Programs possible.  The Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle monuments and engravings displayed in the park also help keep alive the memory of the people and programs and what they have accomplished in their generation.

 

           Additional Brevard County area museums will be discussed next week.

—–To Be Continued—–

 

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2 Responses to “2018 Florida Road Trip (Prelude)”

  1. Onisha Ellis November 14, 2018 at 2:31 pm #

    I don’t think I have visited the Veterans Memorial Park. Will put it on my list. Thanks for showcasing our wonderful area.

    Like

  2. divoran09 November 14, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    lovely

    Like

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