Kennedy Space Center Celebrates ‘Holidays in Space’


Video courtesy AmericaSpace

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla – Santa and Mrs. Claus have stopped by the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex located in Florida. This marks the second year that the duo have used hypergolic-fueled reindeer to travel from the North Pole to the new home of space shuttle Atlantis.

The operators of the Visitor Complex, Delaware North Parks & Companies, invited Mr. and Mrs. Claus to greet guests and to host “Holidays in Space,” which includes a broad array of events and activities honoring this festive time of year. The event began this year on November 23 and will last through January 1.

When they are not spreading Christmas cheer at the Visitor Complex, Mr. and Mrs. Claus assume the identities of Bruce and Paulette Schilling. These folks are volunteers at the Sun N Fun Air Museum located in Lakeland, Fla. They view their efforts at the Visitor Complex as just one more way that they can inspire young people.

Santa has his own mission control center at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

“Our volunteer work helps with their program to further educate children in Aviation,” Schilling said regarding Sun N Fun’s outreach efforts. “There is an academy there where not only do they get this education, but learn all about Flying and Aviation, and both Mrs. Claus and I are proud to be a part of this wonderful program to see children striving to better their lives.”

Much of the Visitor Complex is decorated to reflect the season with garlands and wreaths, as well as a Christmas Tree located in the Visitor Complex’s Rocket Garden, bringing holiday cheer to the place that has expanded humanity’s reach to the stars.

While at the Visitor Complex, guests can view launch vehicles that powered U.S. astronauts to orbit during the earliest days of the space program. They can also learn about the holiday traditions of each of the sixteen International Space Station partners. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet guests and pose for pictures with them. Guests can pick up these images from Kodak representatives on site or can snap the shots themselves. Santa has his own Launch Control Center located between where the Visitor Complex hosts its Astronaut Encounter and its “Robot Scouts” exhibit.

Santa, as everyone knows, has a very hectic schedule. As such, Santa will only be able to make regular appearances at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m., with a special appearance at the Space Shop at 3:30 p.m. This final visit of the day will allow guests to gain an autograph from the astronaut of the day, as well meet the Santas.

Guests to the Visitor Complex can also enjoy other sights and sounds associated with the holidays during this second installment of “Holidays in Space.” Besides Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the Visitor Complex is also festooned with the decorations described and even has carolers that meander around the Visitor Complex singing Christmas songs.

Many fixtures at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex have been decorated to honor the season. Even the iconic NASA meatball has been graced with a wreath. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

These carolers will perform holiday classics such as “Silver Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Let it Snow,” “Feliz Navidad,” and others at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon in the Rocket Garden, at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Saturn V Center, and 4:15 p.m. in the Space Shop.

“We are very honored to be Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. As you know, this is our second time here. Both my wife and I love doing this for and with children, and the biggest joy is seeing and making them smile,” Schilling stated as he wished one of the Complex’s guests a Merry Christmas.

One Comment

  1. All they need to put the finishing touch on the NASA holiday celebration is a continuous loop recording of the courageous crew of Apollo 8 reading from Genesis as they did on Christmas Eve 1968. “God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.” What an unforgettable moment.

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