.All Trips / North America / Southeastern USA

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

02 Merritt Island NWR Little Blue Heron (46)

During our last visit to Florida, my father and I drove from our base in Orlando to explore some of Florida’s east coast.  Our destination for the day was the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, not far from Titusville.  

This is a massive preserve, some 140,000 acres (57,000 ha), situated on the same island as the Kennedy Space Center.  Because of its close proximity to the Space Center, there are rare times when NASA restricts access to this National Wildlife Refuge (e.g. when the space shuttle was landing in Florida).

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The topography of the refuge is flat, but still there are a mixture of habitats including saltwater and freshwater marshes, dunes, forests and scrub.  Here …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Space View Park, Titusville, Florida

00 Titusville (8)

Situated on Florida’s east coast, 15 miles from the Cape Canaveral launch pads, is the small town of Titusville.  Titusville sits on the Indian River and has a lovely park on its waterfront called “Space View Park”, wherein we stopped while making our way to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching.  The park is a lovely shaded spot with some wonderful views towards the Kennedy Space Center and, to our delight, had a great monument to the earliest American astronauts, the Project Mercury team. 

I was a schoolboy during the great era of space travel that President Kennedy’s challenge spawned in the 1960s.  “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things not

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A visit to the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida


The Kennedy Space Center is one of my favorite attractions in the United States. It highlights some of the greatest technological achievements of our species and is testament to one of the most significant advances of human civilization — mankind leaving its earthly home to travel to the moon. It was President John Kennedy’s challenge to the nation to get a man to the moon and return him safely to the Earth before the close of the 1960s, a goal accomplished by the landing of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.  I was very young during those halcyon days of space travel but remember vividly the great successes (and some heart-breaking failures) of the …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 10, 2014. Space Shuttle Atlantis, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Kennedy Space Center Florida 2013 111 Atlantis Shuttle Display

Like many older folks, the Space Shuttle Atlantis moved to Florida after being forcibly retired after 30 years of loyal service.  Having completed 33 NASA space missions in its career, Atlantis has a new home and will have l-o-t-s of visitors.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit opened June 2013 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  At the robust cost of $100 million (not counting the value of the shuttle orbiter itself), the attraction and five story building housing it is fascinating, captivating and well worth seeing.  The 90,000 square-foot building is a highlight of any visit to the Kennedy Space Center.  Unlike the theme parks in nearby Orlando, Fla., this attraction is real and part of …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 30, 2013. Saturn V Rocket, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

2013-035-August 30a.  Kennedy Space Center.  Apollo Rocket

I sometimes forget that most people alive today were not part of the exciting age of space exploration in the 1960s and early 1970s.  While I was just a boy at the time, I’m glad I experienced this truly fun and historic decade, especially as a fan of science fiction.  The stuff that we’d read about for years was now happening in real life — almost like a dream coming true!   People were traveling into space, actually going to the moon and, perhaps more remarkably, safely returning to Earth.  I vividly recall watching the Apollo 11 lunar landing and seeing the grainy footage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bouncing around in the low gravity of the moon — the …

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