Thursday, March 28, 2013

While in Titusville, Florida - The US Space View Park

Just around the corner from the Space Walk of Fame museum is Space View park.  Take some time to explore this small area.  There are different sections with monuments to the space mission programs.  You can see the vehicle assembly building across the causeway - this is a great area to view a launch from.  There is a dock, restrooms and benches to enjoy the Florida sun and watch the seabirds.

The idea for this park was conceived in 1988 by a local physician to preserve the history of the US Space Program.   The city of Titusville liked the idea and the first section was dedicated in July of 1994. 

The Mercury missions area includes bronze hand prints of 6 of the original 7 astronauts and was completed in May of 1997.

The Gemini monument was dedicated in November of 1997. 

In July of 1999 (30 years after the Apollo 11 liftoff) the Apollo monument was started.  This area was completed and dedicated in July 2009.

The Space Shuttle program area is due to be completed this spring 2013. 

Take a little time to explore this park area and remember those who made our space program great!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum - Titusville, Florida

A small building that is packed with history!

Don't just drive through Titusville on your way to the Kennedy Space Center....stop and find out about the history of the space program from those who actually were part of it for FREE!!  The US Space Walk of Fame Museum is open 6 days a week, non-profit, run by volunteers and did we mention FREE?!  Staff includes space workers - engineers, managers, enthusiasts and retired pioneers of space exploration.  You will hear personal stories from those who worked behind the scenes of America's space program.  They refer to the exhibit as "the working man's museum".

The exhibits are personal items from many people - organized into mission rooms.  You will see Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle memorabilia along with items from the Russian space program and Fire/Rescue items.  There is a room filled with actual launch control consoles that are wired and lighted from complex 36A.  Kids enjoy finding the emergency switch and seeing what happens when it is used!

Take some time to talk to the workers at the museum.  They have a wealth of knowledge and great stories to tell about the space program.  There are special events occasionally and you might meet an actual astronaut.  Check out their website and favorite it on face book.

The museum is funded by donations and sale of items in the gift shop.  Buy a few souvenirs or make a donation to keep them going for years to come.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument - St Augustine, Florida

During busy times there are reenactors who talk about the history of the fort and times

St Augustine is a great city to explore in northeast Florida.  It is the oldest continuously occupied European established settlement and port in the continental United States.  Take the trolley tour to see many of the areas of interest without having to drive and park - or explore on your own the places that you like.   The fort is a must see while in St Augustine.  There is an admission charge of $7 per adult, kids 15 and under are free.  This is another opportunity to use your National Parks Pass or Golden Access pass if you have them.

Those are some tight sleeping quarters

The Castillo de San Marcos is a masonry star fort (named for it's shape) and made of a stone called coquina.  This stone is made of ancient shells bonded together - similar to limestone.  Construction began in 1672 and possession of the fort changed 6 times.  Four different governments controlled the fort during different periods of history - the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America.

The tours are self guided and include some stair climbing and walking on uneven surfaces.  There is a short movie to watch and different rooms with displays to view.  It is hard to imagine how people lived in these close quarters.  Climb to the top of the wall to see great view of Matanzas Bay and displays of historic cannons.   There is a gift shop and restrooms available - many restaurants are within a few blocks walk of the fort.