Cape Canaveral, Florida is one of our favorite locations in the United States because it’s home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a cruise ship port, and the beautiful Atlantic ocean. Most recently, we visited for a rocket launch!
View a Rocket Launch at Cape Canaveral
We’ve toured the Kennedy Space Center and taken several cruises from Port Canaveral. One of our most memorable trips — a cruise and rocket launch — on the same day!
Prior to boarding the Disney Wonder on January 19, 2006.
While NASA has launched rockets from the Cape for over sixty years, we’ve only witnessed two of them in person. We’ve tried several times to see more launches, however, timing (work and school), weather (Florida thunderstorms!), and technical issues have interfered.
New Horizons Rocket Launch
On January 19, 2006, Michael, Nic, and I embarked on the Disney Cruise Line’s ship, Disney Wonder. We were excited to board the beautiful ship and head out to sea. After boarding, we learned we were in for a special send-off. NASA was launching New Horizons, an interplanetary space probe, with a planned Pluto Fly-by for July 14, 2015!
Instead of heading to our stateroom to settle in, we found a great location up on deck to view the launch. We couldn’t believe our good fortune.
At 2pm, New Horizons lifted off!
New Horizons lifts off
New Horizons rocket launch from Disney Wonder
Launch of New Horizons
New Horizons blasts off from Cape Canaveral
The fun continued for years. We kept track of New Horizons throughout Nic’s childhood. Finally, when Nic was 15, New Horizons made its historical flight past Pluto.
Atlas V Rocket Launch
After several missed launches the past couple of years, we found ourselves at the right place and time for an Atlas V rocket launch. On the morning and afternoon of November 19, 2016, we had a scheduled tour for Nic at Florida Institute of Technology. In the evening, we took the easy drive from Melbourne to Cape Canaveral; still amazed by our good fortune.
Nic and Michael waiting for rocket launch
We found a great parking spot along Nasa Parkway East (a strip of road in the middle of the Banana River) and facing Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41.
Nasa Parkway East Rocket Launch Viewing Area
Looking towards the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
Typical of rocketry, we were in for a tense wait. During the hour-long launch window, the timing was pushed back numerous times. When there was one last chance to launch by 6:42pm, the Atlas V finally lit up the sky!
Atlas V Rocket Launch at Cape Canaveral
Thankfully, it was a successful blast-off of United Alliance’s Atlas V rocket carrying a next-generation weather satellite. And we were there to see it!
Cape Canaveral History
Cape Canaveral wasn’t America’s first launch site though. In the 1940s, many of the first U.S. rockets launched from White Sands Missile Range situated in the New Mexico desert. While this desert location is plenty remote, larger rockets required a site that would be less dangerous to the general public. So, on July 24, 1950, Cape Canaveral launched its first rocket over a safer spot — the Atlantic Ocean.
White Sands Missile Range
Cape Canaveral Future
Rocket launches can be viewed from many public areas as well as with reserved tickets at Kennedy Space Center.
We hope to watch future launches of the new Space Launch System. And with SpaceX and Blue Origin continuing to bring their rocket launches to the area, the Cape is sure to be an uplifting place to visit!
Have you seen a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral? Share with us in the comments!
Reverse Bucket List: Holiday Gratitude
Before you “kick the bucket”, you probably have a few things that you still want to accomplish and thus, you’ve placed them on your bucket list. If you’re not terrified of heights (like me), you may want to bungee jump or jump out of a plane. Or perhaps you want to light your house up like the Griswold’s or have an old fashioned Christmas in a cabin. Maybe you want to fall in love, get married, and have a family of your own. The way I see it, if we’re not still wishing and hoping, then we aren’t still living. And those wishes don’t have to be monumental. Isn’t it nice to wish for a quiet evening playing board games with your family?!
50 Things That I’ve Accomplished
Many people are looking ahead to New Year’s Eve resolutions and I’ll do that soon too. For now, I want to take a step back and list 50 things that I’ve already accomplished. During this season of reflection, I’m truly grateful that these items have been crossed off my bucket list.
1. Visited Stonehenge.
2. Married my Prince Charming and best friend.
Our 1992 Wedding
3. Graduated from college.
4. Found a job where I get to read and write every day.
5. Had a baby.
Holding Nic “kangaroo style” in the NICU. As a preemie, he couldn’t regulate his own body temperature. Stay warm, baby!
6. Visited Carthage and Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia.
7. Swam with dolphins.
8. Explored Pompeii.
Pompeii was amazing.
9. Toured the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa.
10. Sailed into the port at Valletta, Malta.
Sailing into the Grand Harbor, Malta.
11. Traveled by train to Pisa and saw the Leaning Tower.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
12. Kissed my husband under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
13. Visited the British Museum.
14. Saw the Queen of England.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leave Buckingham Palace for the State Opening of Parliament
15. Saw the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.
16. Renewed our wedding vows at The Wedding Pavilion in Walt Disney World.
17. Helped countless people plan trips to Walt Disney World on my own and through my past work with the Disney Parks Moms Panel.
18. Spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Walt Disney World.
19. Visited Devil’s Tower.
20. Saw a Broadway play in NYC.
21. Was a stay-at-home Mom.
22. Rode a trolley in San Francisco.
23. Toured Cinderella’s Castle Suite in Walt Disney World.
24. Went horse back riding in Wyoming.
Horseback riding at Bill Cody Ranch in Wyoming
25. Snorkeled in the Bahamas.
26. Had a pet rabbit (s).
27. Traveled solo on a Caribbean cruise.
28. Drank hot chocolate in Barcelona, Spain.
29. Visited the D-Day beaches, Normandy.
30. Visited the Tower of London.
31. Saw the Milky Way from Bryce Canyon.
32. Ran a 5K race.
33. Saw wildlife in Yellowstone.
34. Pet a stingray.
35. Lived in multiple states.
36. Rode in Cinderella’s Coach.
Cinderella’s Coach arrives The Wedding Pavilion for our 10th Anniversary Vow Renewal
37. Saw a rocket launch (twice).
New Horizons Rocket Launch, January 2006.
38. Watched Nic’s grandparents nurture (and spoil) him. Priceless.
39. Visited the Library of Congress.
40. Planned magical Christmas mornings for my family.
41. Saw cherry blossoms in full bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.
42. Learned to ice skate.
43. Took our son for his first ocean trip.
First trip to the ocean
44. Took a romantic walk on a moonlit deck aboard a cruise ship.
45. Went whale watching from Provincetown, MA.
46. Visited a castle.
47. Toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
48. Had a dog for his whole life (and he’s now 13).
49. Watched my son meet Mickey Mouse (age 2).
50. Saw the Roman Colosseum.
Now I can’t wait to hear what’s on your reverse bucket list. Tell me one unique item on your list!