In February 2017 we went to Kennedy Space Centre for the day and as a special treat also booked on to Lunch with an Astronaut. This blog is all about what to expect, and of course, if I thought it was any good.
I’d clocked this as an experience early in the research for that trip. It was $29.99 plus tax per person for the lunch but you do need an admission ticket in addition for the ad-on. The area for lunch is to the left of the rocket garden, which is only a couple of minutes walk from the main entrance. They do check your paper tickets so make sure you print them off and take them with you. It also stated you would need a form of ID, they didn’t ask for it but I would recommend you take it just in case.
They assigned you to a table, there were about 40 people there and the room was about one third full. There’s a full buffet of food available including chicken, potatoes, rice and salad. It wasn’t wow this is the best food ever but it was good, and it made a nice change from the normal greasy theme park food. Drinks available included hot drinks, cans of fizzy drinks, juice and water. Desserts were jelly and cakes. They kept bringing out new food and you could return to the buffet as many times as you like.
We had pretty much finished lunch when the astronaut came out. He did say that we could carry on eating and going back up to the buffet and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. Our astronaut was Winston Scott, and even one of the waiters said they love it when he was there – so I think we got lucky with one of the best. This said, it does mean your experience is going to vary hugely depending on which astronaut you get.
He presented about 5 minutes going through slides giving a background to himself and his space flight and then opened the floor to questions. Winston was an excellent, charasmatic speaker and answered every question from the deep to those from small children as if it was the first time he’d heard it. I won’t give too much away but having your questions answered by a real live astronaut was really special. There was plenty of time for everyone’s questions to be answered and it didn’t feel rushed at all.
At the end we were able to line up for a picture, which you could pay for from Kennedy Space Centre, but they also were happy to take a picture for us. They had spares so were happy for us to take some spare drinks and fruit with us for the afternoon, and that was it, we were on our way by about 1:30 or 2pm.
Overall, the big question – Is it worth it? In my opinion, absolutely. It’s not necessary so if budget’s tight then don’t bother, you’ll still have an amazing day. The other consideration is that in a 10am-5pm day at Kennedy you’re not going to get everything done and this does eat into 60-90 minutes of your day. But, as an experience this was a really special experience. Perhaps not something I would do again because I feel we’ve done it but I’m so glad we did.