Payload Blog

Autism Awareness: An In-Park Guide

All guests should have an equal opportunity to experience Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex attractions, exhibits and tours. This is why we have partnered with Autism Double-Checked to assist our guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The following information is intended for you, the parents or guardians of those with autism, to help prepare for your trip to the visitor complex. Our objective is to provide advance notice about sensory (and other) stimulations that may need consideration, and to help minimize surprises and potential areas of upset.

Constellation Sphere

Before You Arrive:

To help prepare your visit, we recommend that you download the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Social Story called I Am Going to Kennedy Space Center. This document is full of details to tell younger or more severely challenged audiences what to expect from their time at the visitor complex. These details can help prevent upset or disappointment. Excerpt:

“There is a bus tour to see launch sites and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. People must be thirteen years of age or older to sit in the front row of the bus. It’s a safety rule. I am eight. My family may sit in any empty seat from row two to the back of the bus to watch, listen, and learn as we ride.”

We also encourage you to become familiar with The Kennedy Space Center Autism Awareness Guide. This guide is for guests with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. It has been prepared by Autism Double-Checked and provides information about our attractions and exhibits, and potential sensory issues associated with them. Familiarize yourself with the guide to understand which areas pose different concerns.

TIP: A variety of factors can contribute to a launch day at the visitor complex. Launches at Kennedy Space Center usually draw a crowd, meaning guests experience longer lines and wait times. Additionally, rocket launches and related commentary and music can be loud. Just as a successful launch is exciting, scrubs where the launch does not occur that day can be disappointing. If you think these pose a concern for your visit, please check the Event Calendar for all known upcoming launch dates.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 Bangabandhu launch

While You Are Here:

Our crewmembers will be happy to assist you and your family/group upon arrival should you need it. Before entering the complex, stop by the Information center to obtain a Guest Accessibility Card (GAC). While this card will not guarantee immediate or priority bus or attraction entrance, it will help you obtain assistance from staff should you need it.

You may also look for the Sensory Advisory Triangles throughout the complex, which share important information about wait times, crowds, surprise elements, etc. of our various attractions. This advance notice will help you make decisions on what is best to visit or avoid.

For guests with autism and/or hearing sensitivity, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides a limited number of noise reduction earmuffs to guests. They may be checked out for use during your visit at the Information center. They are available on a first come, first served basis and must be returned before the end of the day.

Finally, should you need it, there is a Quiet Room located on the bottom floor of Space Shuttle Atlantis®. Please ask the staff in the Information center or any crewmember for its exact location upon arrival.

Examples of Sensory Advisory traingles

We Will Support You!

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex staff understands that you (the individual, parent or caregiver), knows how best to assist you, your friend or family member with autism. The visitor complex will do what is possible to support what you need, so please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Thank you for visiting us on your next vacation! We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the NASA story and to find inspiration from America’s multi-user spaceport.

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