Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Florida Adventure, Day 2

[Composed 7/17/2021]

While yesterday at Universal Studios I was out of my element, today I was squarely in it.

We started the day with breakfast at @ the Diner where I had a slew of healthy options to pick from. I ignored them all and got Boston Cream pancakes with whipped cream. #noregrets. From there, we made our way to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) where we spent a good portion of the day learning about the US Space Program.

This is Shira and My third visit to KSC and I still found the exhibits to be absolutely awe inspiring. The fact that the US went from bumbling through rocket launches to putting a man on the moon is nothing short of miraculous. A third trip to KSC let me see past some of the more in-your-face aspects of the space program (holy smokes, a Saturn V rocket is huge!) to some of the more intricate details (like appreciating the chutzpah of Gemini IV, the first spacewalk the US ever conducted).

When we made our plans for KSC we were dissapointed that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the additional bus tours and the Meet an Astronaut program weren't running. Would the exhibits made available through a regular ticket be enough to keep M., P., and B. interested?

My gosh, what were we thinking. The standard ticket gives you access to way more than any one person can take in on a first visit. It would have been fool hearty to try to cram in more information after all that we saw today. The kids enjoyed the exhibits and came away with much of the same awe that we did.

Somewhat recently we saw the Challenger disaster documentary running on NetFlix. Shira and I are of the generation that watched as Challenger launched and exploded in front of our young eyes, so there's no doubt we have a special connection to the event. I found the documentary to be fascinating and it framed the accident not as a random catastrophic failure that I thought of it, and more a predictable outcome shaped by politics and ego. Armed with this new perspective, I was keenly aware that the 'why and how' of the Challenger disaster were noticeably absent from any exhibit I saw. There was a touching exhibit to honor the astronauts that were lost, but to fail to recognize the roots of the disaster seems like a massive oversight.

From KSC we made our way over to Cocoa Beach for a couple of hours of fun in the sand and sun.

The beach, on paper, is always a good idea. But how enjoyable the exprience is can often vary. Is the water warm or frigid? Is the beach smooth or rocky? Are the waves enjoyable or treacherous? Today, the stars aligned and the beach was perfect.

We plopped our stuff down on a towel and I carefully made my way into the ocean. The terrain was soft, the waves present, yet not threatening, and most importantly the water temperture was perfect! This was the perfect activity after a day of having our heads creammed full of facts and figures.

After a very full day we made our way back to our hotel where we are preparing for one more big day of activity. Tomorrow is 'hike day', the day where I truly get to be in my element.

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