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New Exhibit at KSC Will Fire You Up!

Asteroid entering the atmosphere

An exciting new exhibit opened at the new Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex last week. “Great Balls of Fire” is an asteroid encounter that will test, surprise, entertain and possibly answer many of your questions. It will definitely educate theme park guests on the risks (and benefits) of asteroids and comets.

The new exhibit is approximately 1,500 square feet which contains many interactive features. You will learn how scientists determine the path of a near-Earth object. You can examine rocks to determine which one is a meteorite. Guests can also find out some interesting facts of what might happen if an asteroid hit their home town. With plenty of hands-on activities, all ages will enjoy this exhibit. 

An entertaining session includes a Science Fact or Science Fiction where you can view clips from movies and television shows that feature astroids and comets.  You’ll be asked to  answer whether the science is right or wrong. You’ll be able to compare your answers to those of scientists and other visitors at the KSC Visitor Complex.

Another fun thing to do is to build your own solar system and examine rocks which you can test for magnetism, color and density/relative weight. Can you determine which one is a meteorite?

Another fun and educational activity allows you to enter your zip code into a computer, pick a size of asteroid or comet, and see what the impact might be to your home town. Another educational aspect of this new exhibit, especially for children, deals with dinosaurs. You’ll be able to view a display explaining why many scientists think the extinction of dinosaurs could be related to an impact by a celestial body.

Every feature of the exhibit is included with regular admission. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you attend this Central Florida theme park on a date in which a launch is scheduled, you may receive extended hours. For example, this Monday, July 14, the Visitor Complex will open early at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate launch viewing. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Launch Pad 40 at 9:21 a.m. The Visitor Complex will remain open until 7:00 p.m. Live commentary will be made and the viewing areas are included in daily admission. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Arrive before 8:30 a.m. and take the transportation offered to the Apollo/Saturn V Center for the best launch viewing.

Great Balls of Fire is scheduled to run until January 4, 2015. It is a production of The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning. The national traveling exhibition receives funding from NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is only 45 minutes from Orlando, and opens daily at 9 a.m. Closing times varying by season.  Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

The Cost of a Warm Vacation in Central Florida

beachIf it has been awhile since you’ve vacationed in the Central Florida area, you may be in for sticker shock when you see the prices of the Orlando theme park tickets. Over a week ago Disney raised their ticket prices which prompted a rise in some of the Universal Studio tickets. While Disney has increased nearly all of their tickets, only gate prices at Universal have gone up in price. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Because of this increase in gate price, it is almost always better to purchase your tickets online ahead of time. Be sure to research various theme park discounts that are available, including military specials, Florida resident specials and others.

It would not be a surprise to see more Orlando theme park tickets go up in price. Gatorland raised their ticket prices last December and general admission is now $26.99, $18.99 for ages 3 to 12. Other smaller attractions are sure to follow this lead and also increase their theme park tickets.

On the contrary, SeaWorld has brought back one of their more popular promotions with a return of their $50 weekday ticket. SeaWorld tickets normally are $92 for a one-day ticket; $84 for ages 3-9, so this is a significant savings. Busch Gardens will also honor a similar special. What makes this so great is that it continues through May 5, 2014, which covers spring break and the beginning of SeaWorld’s 50th anniversary celebration later this month (begins March 21). It also will cover a few days of the new attraction opening in Busch Gardens, Pantopia.

There are almost always some freebies or discounts to be found. Currently a nice one from Disney includes a free Memory Maker package for guests booking their vacation with a qualifying WDW vacation. If you are already planning to book a Central Florida vacation through their site, be sure to ask if it qualifies for this freebie. There are quite a few exceptions.

Dispite the rise in ticket prices, vacationing in Central Florida is a great way to escape, especially after the brutal weather the northern states have experienced this Winter. It is hard to put a price tag on warm weather and sunshine. Orlando theme parks are offering plenty of that right now.

Warm Winter Welcome for Tourists that Migrate South

Shhh…don’t let anyone know how cold it is here in Florida! In fact, an entire marketing campaign depends upon us keeping this hush, hush. Visit Florida’s newest television commercial “The Warmer Side of Winter,” is targeting cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. It features visitors flying (migrating) over a variety of Florida locations including theme parks, beaches and golf courses. Dressed, of course in shorts, colorful shirts and beach wear.

Last year the Florida agency paid to have Chicago train cars wrapped with ads promoting Florida. It proved to be successful, so legislators increased funding this year to more than $63 million. This allows the organization to advertise promoting Florida year-round. Easy to do in the cold of winter! In addition, last week, Gov. Rick Scott proposed increasing the agency’s budget even further, to $100 million next fiscal year. A smart move, because we all know that more tourist leads to more jobs. If it works, a goal of 100 million tourists will come to Florida in just one year!

During the Winter, two of Florida’s greatest assets are the warmth and sunshine. Pair them with the fact that traveling here is relatively inexpensive, and you’ve got a cheap vacation. It is very easy to pack a lot into a 3- or 4-day trip. With so many fun things to within a few miles of each other, Orlando is a great choice for tourists. Cheap hotel rooms and discounted theme park tickets are relatively easy to find. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Visit Florida, Visit Orlando and Experience Kissimmee websites are just a few online places to start looking for great deals. With a little research, families can find a “warmer side of winter” with just a few clicks.

It may not matter if we are bottoming out at near-freezing temperatures. The folks that are viewing this commercial and other digital, print and radio ads promoting Florida have had a very cold winter with a lot more on the way. I encounter visitors nearly every day when I walk my dogs near the beach. I’m glad they have come here to visit. I issue a warm welcome despite the odd looks I get from them. I’m all bundled up, clad in a winter coat, gloves, scarf, etc. It is cold to me! However, these tourists just smile, push up their sunglasses and grab their beach towels as they head down to the water in their flip flops. To them, this is warm! I love living in Florida!

Fun Things to Do in Orlando that Will Amuse You

Employment is considered to be an essential part of one’s life. It is a way of earning a living to sustain basic needs. Typically, a month-long work corresponds to salary. Salary, if translated to something tangible, will provide an individual a purchasing power called money. Without such valuable piece of paper, a person cannot buy necessities and luxuries he wants to acquire.

Additionally, enjoyment is also vital to satisfy a person. It’s an element of life that should be nurtured while a person is too busy with his job. It balances the positive and negative vibes that are gained from being workaholic. To relax and unwind, it is highly suggested to have a break somewhere that will offer pleasurable things to do, like in Orlando, Florida. This place known as “The City Beautiful” has a lot to offer when it comes to pleasure. Fun things to do in Orlando start from going to amusement parks.

There are a lot of fun things to do in Orlando. This city is also known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World,” hence, famous theme parks are located here. The most recognized recreational area is the Walt Disney World Resort, or simply known as Disney World. Most celebrated Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and company; Disney princesses including Belle, Cinderella, and Snow White; and those featured in movies can be found here as mascots or memorabilia. Other attractions such as Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney showcase live performances.

Aside from visiting the renowned Disney World, there are other fun things to do in Orlando that will surely make you happy. For instance, Universal Studios Escape or simply named as Universal Studios presents movie and television attractions. Aside from movie sets, there are also rides and shows that have reached more than 40 units. Moreover, it is also the venue of film and television studio for actors, directors, and other members of the production team. In addition, it has an area called the CityWalk where your whole family and friends can dine, shop, and party. With such features, this theme park is considered to be the “No. 1 Movie Studio and Theme Park in the World.”

Furthermore, fun things to do in Orlando can also be experienced from nature-inspired theme parks such as Sea World, Busch Gardens, and Silver Springs. Sea World Florida, a marine-like park that is recognized internationally, exhibits entertaining sea creatures such as dolphins and stingrays that perform various circus acts like acrobatics. This is also a place for education, research, and conservation that preserves and protects the sea creatures.

Milestone at Universal Orlando

Last week marked a milestone at Universal Orlando in which many a toast were made. They celebrated the sale of 5 million butterbeers! The nonalcoholic beverage featuring hints of butterscotch and shortbread made its debut when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened within the Orlando attraction in June of 2010.

Toasting the sale of 5 million butterbeers.

Photo from Universal Orlando

Even if you are not a fan of beer, sweet drinks, or even Harry Potter, this is a must-try element to experience when visiting this Orlando theme park. Universal Orlando made the announcement on Wednesday, then gave away 1,000 foam-topped beverages to Island of Adventure guests. That’s a lot of butterbeer mustaches!

Orlando Tourist Tip: Bring a little extra cash and try this beverage experience. If you aren’t certain you’ll care for the taste, buy one and have everyone in your group sample it before purchasing a mug for everyone. If you want to find it somewhere else, you may need to use your magic wand. Cheers!