Now through January 1 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you can learn what it’s like to celebrate the holidays aboard the ISS with astronauts and cosmonauts from other countries. The Space Center is hosting its first-ever “Holidays in Space” event. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to celebrate the holidays in outer space or in another country, now is your chance to find out without leaving the USA!
During this special celebration, visitors can learn about holiday traditions in countries that are partners of the Interenational Space Station, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and of course, the United States. A mural just outside the Rocket Garden is filled with information about the holiday customs of each partner country. Decorative wreaths and garland throughout the Visitor Complex add to the international holiday celebration.
A section of the Rock Garden is also set up with a 40-foot-by-40-foot Space Skating Rink with a synthetic, polymer surface. Guests can enjoy 20-minute skating sessions beginning on the hour and half-hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for $10 including skate rental ($8 for ages 3-11). Here you will also find a 42-foot Christmas tree decorated with Space Station themed ornaments, lights and flags from the ISS partner countries.
If you’d like to watch the crew in space, you can see actual images prior to every IMAX film. You can even send a holiday greeting e-mail to the crew. Perhaps you have someone in your family that would rather send a letter to Santa this time of year, instead of the astronauts. They’re in luck, because guests can hand deliver their letters directly to Santa five times daily (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.) through December 24th. He’ll be in his Launch Control Center, located near the IMAX theater. If you’re lucky, you can catch Mrs. Claus reading a special space-themed story for kids of all ages. She’ll make appearances at 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily.
A team of international carolers wearing astronaut flight suits will perform traditional holiday songs throughout the day. Holidays in Space is part of the regular admission price which is $43/adult and $33/kids 3-11, with exception of the skating, the commemorative 2011 Holidays in Space ornament, and Santa’s special holiday cookies. They are available for a nominal fee and feature a different cookie daily from around the world.
If you’re wanting to experience the holidays from a different perspective, go to the Kennedy Space Center this season. You’ll learn how to celebrate the holidays in another country or while in outer space. Actually celebrating in another country or in outer space is another matter. Unless Santa has been very good to you, you’ll have to let your imagination launch you from there.