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Throwback Thursday – Shuttle Launch at Kennedy Space Centre

Back in November 2009, my husband and I and a couple of friends were able to obtain tickets to view a Shuttle launch at Kennedy which coincided with our vacation.

We had a fantastic day – helped by the weather – you need good weather to launch a Shuttle.  The anticipation and build up to the launch was as good as the actual launch itself – which obviously is over quite quickly.  Memories include needing the toilet and not anticipating the miles and miles of no stopping as you entered the facility – even to this day we refer to needing the toilet as “Kennedy desperate?”

Kennedy Space Centre is located just off State Road 405 in Titusville.  The complex is 70 acres and open year round with the exception of Christmas Day.

Top attractions now include Space Shuttle Atlantis (which opened in 2013), the Shuttle Launch Experience, IMAX films, Astronaut Encounter and the KSC bus tours.  It has undergone huge redevelopment in recent years – when we attended the shuttle launch it was to view Atlantis take to the skies.

Although there are no more shuttle launches, the Kennedy Space Centre still have an active rocket launch programme.  Check out http://www.nasa.gov and http://www.spacecoastlaunches.com for all the details.

For more information about Kennedy Space Centre go to http://www.KennedySpaceCenter.com

Throwback Thursday -Harry P Leu Gardens, December 2005

Back in December 2005 we visited Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando with my parents.  It has 50 acres of park to explore.  In December we found the roses were in full bloom and both looked and smelled wonderful.  Unfortunately, on the day we chose to visit the restored 19th century Leu House was closed, however, usually there are guided tours to view the house every half hour between 10am and 3.30pm.

Fancy trying a different date night?  Why not try the outdoor movie – every first Friday of the month from March to November (except July).  Gardens open at 6:00 p.m.  The films starts at 8:30 p.m. Blankets or chairs are recommended. You may bring a dinner picnic basket. Alcohol is permitted.

Since we visited I understand that the Gardens now offer wedding and reception opportunities.  During the Christmas period the house is decorated for the holidays.  It is a lovely place to visit for an hour or two and although there is no cafe on site, you can take your own lunch or there are many nice eateries in close vicinity.

From I4 take exit 85 to Princeton Street.

Click here for more information: Leu Gardens

Winter Park – Orlando

Taking Exit 87 off the I4 and head along Fairbanks Avenue to the Orlando suburb Winter Park.  It has some excellent independent shops as well as some chains, nice bars and some wonderful restaurants.  Add to that some museums and an entertaining boat ride and you have a good half/full day of fun away from the Theme Parks.

Heading along Park Avenue you will see plenty of shops, trendy wine bars and restaurants.  Some of our favourite stops include Alex and Ani – which is an American brand jewellery store which specialises in eco-friendly handcrafted expandable bangles, chain necklaces & rings, Peterbrooke Chocolatier and the Ancient Olive.  My partner also likes to visit Performance Bicycle which is actually over by the Winter Park Village shops.

Restaurant wise we have tried a few a couple of favourites being Luma on Park, Park Plaza Gardens and Prato (best pizza in Orlando?).

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour will show you the wealthiest sections of Winter Park – running since 1938 it’s part nature tour and part local history lesson – always entertaining.  It can get very hot so make sure you bring a hat and some water.  It departs from Morse Street which is about 15 mins walk from Park Avenue.

On Saturday mornings the Winter Park Farmers’ Market is more of a social gathering than a serious farmers market with dirty vegetables!  Good fun though and worth a visit it does sell vegetables as well as potted plants, preserves, baked goods and fast food.