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    Orlando Science CenterOrlando Science Center Orlando, Florida
    The Orlando Science Center in Orlando, Florida offers experience based chances for learning about science and technology, as well as promoting a better understanding of science. The center was incorporated in 1955, opening as the Central Florida Museum (CFM) in the city's Loch Haven Park in 1960 and for its first decade would be used as an anthropology museum with collections of the state and the Caribbean basin. During the 1970s, it would change its scope and become a hands-on science and technology center, and renamed in 1973 in honor of a famous native son and astronaut, John Young. Then, during 1984, as part of its enlarging and change of philosophy, the facility would change its name once more to the Orlando Science Center, and in 1985, when another significant expansion was happening, they would create a permanent physical sciences hall, a hands-on exhibit area that is devoted to pre-school and early primary age kids, a traveling exhibit hall and Curiosity Center and NatureWorks, that was a prototype for the center's natural science exhibit. In 1992, the board and staff would develop a master plan for the center that included blueprints for a brand new science center that would start in 1995. In 1997, the new 207,000 square foot Orlando Science Center would celebrate its grand opening, in a facility six times bigger than the old one was. Current exhibits include; Dr. Phillips CineDome, World of Mechanical Music, NatureWorks, Channel 9 Severe Weather Center, KidsTown, DinoDigs, Science Park, Careers for Life, Get the Message, All Aboard and Charlie & Kiwi's Evolutionary Adventure. The Crosby Observatory is located on the sixth floor with the state's biggest public refractor telescope along with an array of smaller but still powerful telescopes that are strategically placed for the finest star gazing in the world.

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    John F. Kennedy Space CenterJF Kennedy Space Center Merritt Island, Florida
    The Kennedy Space Center is a US installation that manages and operates the nation's astronaut launch facilities and serves as a base for the country's three space shuttles, although there is only one left now, the NASA field center also has unmanned civilian launches from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station that is run by the 45th Space Wing. The center has been the launch site for every manned space flight since December 1968, with its iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) being the world's fourth biggest structure by volume and it was the biggest when it was finished in 1965. The center is located on Merritt Island, Florida, halfway between Jacksonville and Miami on their eastern coast it is 34 miles long, 6 miles wide and covers 219 square miles, with a total of 13,000 people working there although that number has just changed because of layoffs in the space program. Their industrial area is where the majority of the center's support facilities are located and includes the Operations and Checkout Building, the Headquarters building and the Central Instrumentation Facility and their own short-line railroad. The center has become a major Central Florida destination, and is about an hour's drive from Disney and Universal, with the Visitor Complex offering public tours of the center and adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Since the installation is such a protected area and very restricted, as well as being only developed in about 10% of its area, it is also a significant wildlife sanctuary, along with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore; and other features in the area include Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River with all the areas enjoying views of eagles, wild boars, Florida panthers, American alligators and eastern diamondback rattlesnakes; with occasional sightings of the famous Florida manatee.

April 15, 2011