But first, a disclaimer.
I worked on this event as a contractor, writing some entertainment material. I'm also a fangirl for the space center. I love everything about it and have covered events there since 2011 as a correspondent. Am I biased? Yes. That being said...
I've lived in Florida for almost a decade now. I've seen every light show and fireworks display at every tourist attraction you can imagine. Holiday shows are typically themed to a vague, non-offensive idea about being unselfish or treasuring your family. And that's great.
Holidays in Space is a ceremony centered around massive, measurable human progress. It's easy to be jaded about history. But we sent people to the moon, you guys. THE MOON. We have robots on Mars. These quests have led us to discover medical treatments, everyday conveniences and everything in between. Every astronaut who's ever taken up residence on the space station talks about how differently they see the world when they've seen it from above, how it makes them feel familial about every human on the planet.
This is real science with real results and it matters. That's worth celebrating, right alongside the ideals of generosity and family.
Holidays in Space is a delight. Let me tell you why in three parts.
Part 1 - Pretty lights good.
Holidays in space is a pretty little set-up right next to the building that houses the Shuttle Atlantis. It feels like a party. (If you're reading this from the far reaches of the world, Atlantis alone is worth a trip to Florida. Especially if you're a NASA nerd.) There's festive lighting, delightful photo-ops, and best of all, a bright video wall.
Every fifteen minutes, it plays a mini documentary that teaches you just how far we've come technologically. It's happy, nostalgic, and the video had an interesting effect on the audience. Each time it played; strangers became friends. Before the video, people were sticking to their groups. Afterward, they'd literally turn to the people next to them and ask things like, "Do you remember when...?"
Part 2 - Nostalgia? Good.
Guests of all ages will love a day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. If you're of a certain pop cultural ilk, you'll find extra joy ambling amidst reminders of Space Camp, Apollo 13, and the countless other space movies you've enjoyed since childhood.
Part 3 - The reality connection.
In a couple days, we're all gonna trek to the multiplex and see a Star War. Half of us will love it and half of us will hate it. The world is getting weird that way. Maybe it's always been weird and I just grew up in a bubble because I was born in 1982 and lived 18 blissful years without the internet.
Whatever the reason for the division, one thing's for sure, sci-fi fans love the idea of space. We love progress and adventure. Or at least, we used to? The photos from Hubble still make me misty-eyed with awe and wonder. I never met an episode of Nova I didn't like. The research done during NASA's shuttle era changed the world.
Whether you're a Trekkie, a Star Wars nerd, or both, there's something indescribably moving about being at Kennedy. It's hallowed ground. For all the emotional investment we put into our fandoms, here's a place that's making our sci-fi dreams come true every day. Rockets are launching. Landing systems are testing. KSC even sits amidst a gigantic wildlife preserve. The surrounding area is pristine. Bald eagles thrive there. It's a cartoon landscape of an idealistic patriotism.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex represents the best of what we have to offer as people and as a country when we put our minds to work. Technological advancement? Check. A clean environment? Check. A safe haven for animals? CHECK. Sci-fi fans want to believe in a better future. We want to believe humanity will stop its petty squabbling and clean up the planet. KSC is a test environment that proves we can do it.
Honestly? I wish they'd transform Holidays in Space it into a pop-up and take the show on the road with a few dancers in retro sixties costumes with some living historical characters that could mill around and educate the audience. Or they could set it up like a party in school gymnasiums. A SPACE PARTY. Just try and stop me.
In the meantime, go to Holidays in Space. It's a happy place with warm feelings. See the movie at night, when the lights are at their most vibrant and the many photo ops are most effective.
Tickets are available for purchase here and the event runs until December 31st. Please do yourself a favor and go.
Here are some other things I've made about The KSC Visitors Center:
A Playlist for Visiting KSC