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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

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I know some people say the only thing interesting to them would be to go into the "big building" (VAB), but the Saturn V rocket (moon rocket) is incredible to see I think. The rocket is 350 feet tall and to think a 35 story structure lifted off, 40 years ago, to the moon is just amazing to me. Not to mention, the Shuttle is the probably the most advanced piece of engineering hardware ever built. Although, I'll admit, if you're not into engineering, space, or science, the tour's probably not going to be worth it for you. Still, considering some reports say engineering and science make up 80% of the country's GDP, NASA's had a huge hand in defining this country the last 40 years.


Hey, Ron Toomer used to work for the space program before designing coasters too!

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The mystery of the Space Water Fountains may never be solved.


And yes, the Saturn V is a real rocket. It used to sit outside (like the other one in Houston) until they figured out the weather wasn't being kind to it, restored it, and built a building to hold it safely for perpetuity. Which is pretty darn awesome, methinks.


Plus it's WAY more dramatic to have a door open, then *wham* see it sitting there.


And someone correct me on this, isn't the Launch Control room in the opening part of the Saturn V center the actual old school consoles and such? I seem to recall they kept them after an upgrade and installed them in there. In Houston, Historic Mission Control sits empty as it's a national historic site, so a new control room had to be built nearby.


If you want really old school history, they used to (and may still do) offer a "Then and Now" tour of the old Mercury-Redstone facilities, including the blockhouse where they launched Alan Shepard & Gus Grissom from... with battleship steel armor, and electronics that came from 1950's scifi. And a farm-type scale to determine if the rocket was full of fuel.


Yes, I'm a giant space nerd.

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The Saturn V rocket alone makes this a must-see for me. An amazing piece of history.


(Maybe the Forbidden Water Fountains of Mysteriousness are some kind of Big Brother-ish program the gummint is running. Take a drink and your FBI file gets upgraded to "Level 4 Authority Ignorer.")

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As always nice PTR. I've never been to the actual visitors complex at Kennedy Space Center, but going "behind the scene" kind of with an engineer I know that works there and seeing countless launches of shuttles, rockets, etc. I can say that the complex farther East of the visitor center towards the beaches is very interesting. Especially getting near the building that use to house the shuttles, the launch site, and the old somewhat decrepit launch sites. Such as where the Mercury and Apollo missions took place.


I got a question too. Are you guys looking to go on any adventures down into the Glades, Big Cypress, or other "wild" type of adventures? 'Cause I'd be glad to recommend some places in Central, Southeast, and Southwest Florida to visit for nice tastes of the wilds of Florida.

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Cause they left the rovers down on the moon?


Yeah, that's what I was going for.



I'm more mesmerized by your tan lines.


Yeah, that's what I was going for.



Snoopy was recruited by NASA to be their unofficial mascot, and Charles Schulz was so honored by the NASA request that he granted NASA free use of Snoopy.


For the record, that is explained at the Snoopy statue. I was just (attempting) being funny.



Are you guys looking to go on any adventures down into the Glades, Big Cypress, or other "wild" type of adventures?


Hmmm, not sure. I'm not opposed to it. But only if it's more interesting than going out in a boat to look at gators.



Maybe there could be another Aeronautics themed update soon... Maybe something from Polk County... One that could inspire "Fantasy" while still covering "Flight"


Aeronautics? Perhaps....


Not only do I have one more KSC update in the works (stop groaning!) but I've recently been informed that we won free tickets for "Lunch With An Astronaut."


I'd like to think that it was rigged by NASA because they've been so happy with our updates and they want to advertise their dining program. (Especially since I don't remember entering to win it. )


Now doubly glad I didn't make the "Dine With An Astronaut" joke that I was going to back in the first KSC update!

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We wrap up--at least, for the immediate future--our Kennedy Space Center updates with an attraction some miles down the road, in Titusville. Admission is $20, or free on the same day with your Visitor Complex ticket--but that's actually a bit tricky to pull off, considering this place's noon-to-6:00pm operating hours. But we opted for the KSC annual pass, since we knew we wanted to do this on a separate day.


The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame


There's a space shuttle out front, but don't let those ramps fool you: You can't go into it. (Boo, hiss!)


According to an employee, you used to be able to, but it was damaged by a hurricane, so now they only let school groups go into it(!)


Note that this is the *US* Astronaut Hall of Fame, so don't expect to see anything about unimportant astronauts, like the first man in space. Or the first woman in space. Or the guy who did the first space walk.


Quick, who's this?


What's cool about this mural is that it was actually painted by an astronaut. (Specifically, Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon.)


This sign is on the back of the restroom door and kind of freaks me out.


Okay, I know I should let this go. But we can mention Jules Verne, but not Yuri Gagarin?


If you so choose, you can sit through a short film that manages to make space exploration seem completely uninteresting.


A display dedicated to the Mercury 7. (The then-surviving 6 of which first came up with the idea for this place.)


Hooray, a space capsule! (Specifically, Sigma 7. Yes, the real one.)


Gemini never gets any love. Let's move on.


A spacesuit designed for sitting.


I love this quote. All the stronger that it came from a man who died in said pursuit.




There are lots of displays like this. Meaning that you can breeze through this place, or spend several hours there, depending on your approach.


This room is focused largely on space shuttle stuff, which is why it's so boring.


Nope, can't ever be an astronaut.


This pretty well encapsulates my feelings on the subject.


Oh, this is the hall of fame? Alright, then....


This is maybe about a quarter of what's on display in this room. I'm pretty sure everyone who's ever had Tang is here.


Stuff that *belonged* to astronauts. Bit of a stretch, if you ask me.


A really complicated diagram that aims to show how Neal Armstrong ended up being selected to be the first astronaut to set foot on the moon, but doesn't really.


And they both ended up in space later, when we became slightly less picky about the whole thing.


Moon dust created a spot on my photo.


Fun Erik fact: I was conceived before man walked on the moon, but born after. None of which has anything to do with Jimi Hendrix.


This area has lots of interactive games and such, as well as a small ride that's very much "Mission: Space" lite.


Speaking of which: I wonder what rides would be like on the moon...?


The "Science Sphere."


Why we must go to Mars. To carve giant logos on it.


This photo was taken through the window of the room the Science Sphere is in, and is awesome.


Photo op!


Photo...um, well this isn't going to work.


What the surface of Mars is like. So it's good to know that it's already wheelchair accessible!


No, dear, you can't be an astronaut. But you can be dizzy like one!


Seriously, who wears a shirt with a quote from themselves on it into space? That's just tacky.


Space chess! But which one is Melody?


Holy crap! You can buy a whole space jumpsuit?!


I totally want one. But I live in Florida.


Um...maybe we should leave it to the scientists, for now.


And maybe we'll just leave it there. Goodbye, for now, US Astronaut Hall of Fame and Kennedy Space Center. We had fun being inside of you!

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Erik & Smisty will be leaving for vacation tomorrow, so no more Florida updates for at least a couple weeks. But here's a little something to tide you over until then....


The other day, we were wandering around Universal Orlando (as we do), and decided to check out the Royal Pacific Hotel. It was around lunch time, and we hadn't eaten yet, so the thought of trying out one of the hotel's restaurant's did occur. I knew that Tchoup Chop was sort of the high-end, and we weren't looking to spend that much--but as it turns out, their lunch prices are actually fairly reasonable. So we decided to give it a shot.


Emeril's Tchoup Chop


You can get to Royal Pacific from CityWalk by foot, or by "water taxi."


Luckily, I can drive a boat.


Tchoup Chop is sort of around the side from the hotel lobby, but right across from the water taxi dock.


Adding to our decision to give it a try, it was completely dead. As in, we were the only guests in the restaurant.


I know more about Elzar than I do Emeril. In fact, it's not even close.


We loved the decor. I want to design my house around a big fountain now.


The kitchen. It's hard to see here, but water runs down the grey stones at top.


The bar.


Random decorations. Because you deserve this photo.


I went with the build-your-own bento box. Which was amazing.


Smisty played it a little safer.


She got a bit braver when it came to dessert, though.


You can by Emeril stuff. Hey, I liked it, but I didn't like it that much.


Just one of the reasons this hotel always reminds me of Tales of the Gold Monkey.


All Hail Doctor Doom!


Yeah, this is a weird update. Anyway, Elzar's was good. But tomorrow we're having Toft's, biatches!



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  • 3 weeks later...

^ It was around lunchtime--maybe 1:00pm or so--on an early September weekday. We were quite shocked at how empty it was, ourselves, to be honest.


We really didn't know much about it going in. But we quite enjoyed the experience.


In other new news....


I mentioned at the end of the update that we were heading to Ohio for vacation. For anyone who may have missed it, here's our Cedar Point/wedding/Merry-Go-Round Museum/random other stuff TR from Sandusky.

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I've been to Emerils Orlando, but never Tchoup Chop which is named for the street in New Orleans of the Original Emeril's. I loved everything I ate... and I ate a ton.


I suspect that the location is the main reason for the lackluster lunchtime crowd. It's way off at the resort hotel rather in the middle of City Walk which has all the foot traffic.


Glad you enjoyed your lunch.

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I've been to Emerils Orlando, but never Tchoup Chop which is named for the street in New Orleans of the Original Emeril's. I loved everything I ate... and I ate a ton.


We went to the Emeril's on City Walk last year. I'd say that was the best food I've had in Orlando (haven't been to V&A). Despite his celebrity chef status, Emeril seems to be maintaining good standards.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On Anastasia Island, in St. Augustine, is a confused and somewhat sad 18-hole mini golf establishment called...


Anastasia Miniature Golf


Yay, mini golf! And ice cream that used to be hand dipped but isn't now, I guess!


This back door is apparently the entrance.


Yeah, that's the ice cream. I am disappoint.


And this is the exit from the club house out onto the course here at Anastasia Miniature Golf.


So...this way, then?


Do NOT feed the American fish here. You will be arrested.


I really like the lumber holding the tree branches up.


I think I might add this photo to this thread's index!


So...there's a brand new wooden railing on the left, but I have to walk on the right....


Sure, I'll just do that. Thanks for the tip!


I can't remember why I took this photo. To show everyone how sweaty I was??


This is just weird.


Let me just say that this is way more terrifying in person.


All the Smisties look like little smants.




I'm with you, Smisty: Let's get out here.

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