Denise's Corner

Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center is an Inspirational Exhibit Worth Exploring

Hi everyone!

Last weekend, we attended the media preview and Grand Opening of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. We were really blown away by the scope of the attraction, which reminds me in size and depth of going to a Smithsonian exhibit or an Epcot pavilion.

For those who haven’t been to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in a few years, it’s a great time to visit! The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit is worth several hours in itself, and there is an Angry Birds attraction that opened a few months back. Annual Passes can be currently purchased online for just a fraction of area theme parks, at a special price of $55.00 for adults, and $45.00 for children 3-11. This is a limited time offer, and the price will go back up (but it shouldn’t be by too much).

Outside Space Shuttle Atlantis, guests are greeted by a full-scale, 184 foot tall replica of the space shuttle’s external tank and two solid rocket boosters. It really is huge, and gives a sense of what it took to put a Space Shuttle into orbit!

This is the sign outside of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit:

The dedication plaque:

There is a queue with photos and information about the space program. Once at the end of the queue, a pre-show film about the origins of the Space Shuttle program leads into a tremendous experience with the Space Shuttle Atlantis reveal. Each time the door opened to see the Atlantis – and this doesn’t show the extent of the reveal – cheers went up in the crowd.

Space Shuttle Atlantis is tilted at a 43.21 degree angle, with its payload bay doors open and robotic arm extended. Atlantis completed 33 successful missions and traveled more than 126 million miles before landing at Kennedy Space Center to take up permanent residence. The Kennedy Space Center staff talks about Atlantis almost as if the orbitor was a family member – and indeed, that is probably how they feel. Much thought went into how Atlantis would be presented, and the shuttle was inched up daily for months into the position that guests now see.

The media and music in the pre-show and main show were created by the company Mousestrappe. The company name is a reference to Disney, where the founders worked together for years. Mousetrappe also created this projection screen behind the Atlantis. Oh – and have you seen Celebrate the Magic, The Magic, The Memories and You!, or the Skyline Bar on the Disney Dream? Then you’ve seen the work of Mousetrappe. They’ve done much more than that as well! Kennedy Space Center brought this enormously talented company to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, which will give you an idea of the high quality of the attraction.

We spoke with co-founder of Mousetrappe, Daren Ulmer about his work on movies and music for the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, as well as for other projects (such as The Magic, The Memories and You!) Check out our video interview below.


The word we heard the most about the Space Shuttle orbiters? Reusable.

The robotic arm:

There are over 60 interactive exhibits in this 90,000 square foot, 100 million dollar attraction – no government was spent except for Space Shuttle Atlantis itself. There is also a full size replica of the Hubble Telescope! I took hundreds of photos and am sharing nearly 40 here – the exhibit is so detailed, it was hard to choose what to include. We enjoyed this replica cockpit, which is a great place for photo opportunities.

Here is our video overview of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit:

There is a tribute to Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia and the astronauts who gave their lives. I remember where I was during each both tragedies.

The pre-show is about how the Space Shuttle program came about, and guests will recognize this prototype from the film reenactment.

One of our favorite exhibits? The toilet! Who knew that astronauts needed training to use it? Jeff took a turn sitting for a photo.

The second day we were at the Kennedy Space Center, there was a Grand Opening ceremony. What I really enjoyed most about this was that anyone with a ticket could enjoy it.

CNN correspondent John Zarella hosted this ceremony, as he has many others.

Kennedy Space Center director (and Space Shuttle Astronaut) Robert Cabana gives a thumbs up as he finds his seat.

Attending astronauts salute the flag.

Instead of fireworks, the boosters look as if they are ready to take the shuttle into orbit!

All the attending astronauts pose for a photo in front of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

This is what the reveal looks like from the opposite side –  these guests have just seen Space Shuttle Atlantis for the first time.

Individually numbered tiles on the Space Shuttle Atlantis!

We were able to hold this one.

This was quite a remarkable event for a wonderful new attraction!

Mousesteps Weekly Show #59 includes a segment on the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit.

We were really honored to be part of covering the opening of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit! This is part of a 10 year plan for Kennedy Space Center.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located just about one hour from Central Florida and is a full day experience.