I always loved watching shuttle launches as a kid. We didn’t go to the coast for many, but I did see my fair share from “close up”. You’d think it would get old after a while, but there’s just something so amazing about sending something outside of our atmosphere into the unknown. Now that Graham has come along he loves seeing the launches too! It’s pretty fun to pass down to a second generation Floridian and see him get so excited over the rockets. There are lots of kids (and adults!) who enjoy the launches, so I wanted to share our favorite way to watch them with all of you!
Jon and I regularly keep an eye on the upcoming launches and either step outside and look east or head to the coast for a better view whenever we can. It’s even a pretty romantic (and cheap!) date to head to the beach without the kids! I like using this website to see the dates and launch windows because it’s pretty easy to use.
When we go to the beach for a launch, we always pack a meal or pick one up on the way. Our go-to is a pizza because it’s so portable, but we also like to pick up some pre-packaged sandwiches or salads from the Publix deli when we don’t feel like pizza.
We pack a picnic blanket, a flashlight (if it’s going to be dark), and our phones. The phones are key. When you’re out there, you don’t have a countdown clock you can watch or know whether the launch has been scrubbed unless you follow a live feed on your phone.
Jetty Park is always a favorite spot for people to watch the launches, but it’s a bit pricey at $15 per car for non-Brevard County residents, so we usually opt for one of the public parks on the beach and end up with an almost identical view. One of my favorites is Cherie Down Park in Cape Canaveral. It gets a bit busy during the day, but there’s usually parking available and it’s got public restrooms (not just port-a-potties). I also love that it stays open after dark when there will be a night launch!
Night shuttle launches were the best because, if you were close enough, they would light up the entire sky like it was the middle of the day. It was like something out of a movie. The rockets that are launched now aren’t quite as impressive as the shuttles were, but they’re still pretty cool to see at night or during the day. Here are some photos of the last night launch we got to go to so you can see what it looked like!
Have you ever taken your kids to see a rocket launch? Where did you watch it and what did they think?