Now through Jan. 1, visitors can celebrate the holiday sights, sounds and tastes of the International Space Station’s [ISS] partner countries as the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex presents the first of what they hope will be many “Holidays in Space.” Each of the ISS partner countries will participate. They include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and, of course, the United States.
In the IMAX Theater, just before each scheduled film, guests will have the chance to see actual images of ISS crews celebrating the holidays in space. Guests will also be encouraged to e-mail the current crew of the International Space Station to send them a holiday greeting.
Santa’s Launch Control Center
Located near the IMAX Theater and the Orbit Cafe, representatives from Kodak will be on hand to take photos as Santa Claus greets guests, listens to wish lists and poses for photos in Santa’s Launch Control Center. It’s the perfect time to have a family photo done by a professional and Kodak will provide prints for sale, or guests may capture the moment with their own cameras. Mrs. Claus will be on hand for some special space-themed story times for kids of all ages, including “The Cat in the Hat – There’s No Place Like Space” and “What the Moon is Like.”
Story time with Mrs. Claus will take place daily at:
- 10:30 a.m.
- 12 p.m.
- 2 p.m.
- 3:30 p.m.
- 5 p.m.
Visitors of all ages can also hand deliver their letters to Santa. Cookies are very important to Santa so The Cookie Space Station, located within Santa’s Launch Control Center, will feature holiday cookies from around the world for a nominal fee with a different “Cookie of the Day” featured daily.
Due to their busy holiday schedules, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available five times daily through December 24:
- 10-11 a.m.
- 11:30 a.m – 12:30 p.m.
- 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
- 3 – 4 p.m.
- 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Throughout the day, a team of international carolers dressed in astronaut flight suits will perform traditional holiday songs including favorites like “Silver Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Let it Snow,” “Feliz Navidad,” and many more.
Space Skating Rink
Throughout the Holidays in Space celebration, a section of the Rocket Garden will be transformed into a Space Skating Rink with a synthetic, all-weather polymer surface. Guests may rent ice skates ($10 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11) and enjoy a 20-minute session around the rink with new sessions beginning on the hour and half hour. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.
The Rocket Garden
Holidays in Space wouldn’t be complete without festive space-themed décor. Therefore, a 42’ ISS-themed Christmas tree located in the Rocket Garden is decorated with colorful lights and 600 miniature flags from the 15 ISS partner countries. The International Space Station mural just outside the Rocket Garden is surrounded with starry lights and visitors will find information about the holiday customs of each partner country.
The folks at the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex, whose salary is paid solely by the tickets sold to guests, have worked tirelessly to create this unique holiday event that could only be done here on the Space Coast. Residents should plan to visit Holidays in Space and be sure to thank them for their hard work! Tickets may be purchased at the gate or on the website. While there, be sure to take advantage of the new up-close tour available for a short time only.