This weekend we had the opportunity to witness a N.A.S.A. Atlas V rocket being launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. We could have explored the Kennedy Space Center and watched the launch from a range of 2.5 miles from the launch pad, but with an admission price of $180 for our family of 4 for one day at the Space Center, we could not stomach the price tag just 2 weeks before Christmas (#5, Miss Kicky Feet, would have been free).
Instead we opted to watch the launch from Playalinda beach, which is part of the U. S. National Park Service. Info can be found on it at Canaveral National Seashore. We paid a $5 admission/parking fee for the whole family, which we were happy to pay, especially given the alternatives. The beach was a very short walk across a wooden walkway from the parking lot, and then we elected to walk down the beach to be closer to the launch pad. This placed us just under 5 miles from the launch pad, which was plenty close to have a great view.
The weather was beautiful! It was upper 80s and sunny with a few white puffy clouds in the sky, and even though the water was a little cool, Pie, Bug, and Heather all enjoyed playing in the sand and surf. I went into the water up to my knees, but enjoyed just relaxing in my beach chair and keeping an eye on Miss Kicky Feet, who was napping in Heather’s beach chair as well. Pie and Bug used their life jackets to float in the waves, giving them a surfing-like ride into the beach again.
The rocket actually launched about an hour late, but Kennedy Space Center posts updates on their Twitter feed to let everyone watching know about any delays and the newly projected launch time. Cell service was not great on the beach, but the twitter updates saved us a lot of wondering about what was going on with the launch time. We all loved the launch, and the delayed rocket sounds (remember we were 5 miles away) were kind of neat.