Brevard County is within easy reach of Orlando theme parks, from Walt Disney World to Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
But Brevard has its own attractions, and they're real -- thrilling rocket and space shuttle launches and the dramatic history of the space program, captured at Kennedy Space Center.
Get even more space and science at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Children's Science Center or the planetarium at Brevard Community College in Cocoa.
And when you're ready to go to Orlando, even more adventures await.BREVARD COUNTY
American Police Hall of Fame: 6350 Horizon Drive, Titusville. Call 264-0911. The American Police Hall of Fame and Museum is the nation's first national police museum and memorial dedicated to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The museum features more than 10,000 artifacts on display, indoor gun range, helicopter rides and more. Cost: Adults, $12 and children ages 4 to 12, seniors and military, $8; law enforcement officers, family survivors and members admitted free. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Visit www.aphf.org.
Children's Science Center: 1520 Highland Ave., Melbourne. Call 254-7782. Children can explore space through The Cosmos: Enter this darkened room and look up to see a glowing representation of the December night sky over Brevard County. They also can explore Earth, weather, Florida and more. Admission: adults, $5; ages 60 and older, $3; school-age children, $2; kids younger than 2, free; after 1 p.m. Thursdays, free. Price includes admission to Brevard Museum of Art and Science. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit www.artandscience.org.
Andretti Thrill Park: 3960 Babcock St., Melbourne. Features four race tracks, bumper boats, miniature golf, laser tag and a game room. Hours: the park opens at noon Monday through Friday and Sunday and 10 a.m. Saturday. Prices vary. Call 956-6707 or visit www.andrettithrillpark.com.
Batters Choice: 2515 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. Features two 40 mph, 50 mph, 60 mph and 70 mph baseball cages, two slow pitch cages, one fast pitch cage, an arcade, snack bar, pool table, air hockey, birthday party package and team rates. Call 242-6154 or visit www.batterschoice.net.
Blue Heron Adventures: Cocoa Beach; 799-3740. Guided kayak nature tours of the Thousand Islands of Cocoa Beach in two-man kayaks. Hours: Two tours a day, 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cost: adults, $25; children younger than 9, $15. See bird life, dolphins and manatees. Visit www.BlueHeronAdventures.com.
Brevard Community College Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory: Clearlake Road, Cocoa. Call 634-3732. Domed theater offers shows and movies about astronomy and natural science. Exhibits include a scale replica of the Hubble Space Telescope and a moon model. Single-show admission (planetarium or movie): adults, $6; seniors/students, $5; children 12 and younger, $4. Combination-show admission (planetarium and movie): adults, $10; seniors/students, $8; children 12 and younger, $6. Laser show admission: $6. Triple-combination show admission (laser show, movie and planetarium): $14. Gift shop, Science Quest Exhibit Hall and International Hall of Space Explorers. Hours: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Rooftop observatory hours: 7:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For show schedules, visit www.brevardcc.edu/planet.
Paradise Funplex: 555 Fortenberry Road, Merritt Island. Call 454-7777. Features a 10,000-square-foot indoor skate area for boards and blades; 30,000-square-foot outdoor skate area for bikes, boards and blades; 18-hole miniature golf course; softball and Little League batting cages. Hours vary. Prices vary. Visit www.paradisefunplex.com.
On The Edge Rock Climbing Gym: 200 West Drive, Melbourne. Call 724-8775. The 10,000-square-foot facility features several climbing walls, as high as 40 feet, cardio and weight-training equipment, kids programs, private lessons, climbing teams, corporate team building programs and more. Suitable for the beginner to the advanced. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Prices vary. Visit www.ontheedgerockclimbing.com.
Disney's Animal Kingdom: Off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando. Call (407) 824-4321. More than 1,000 animals can be found in this 500-acre park, which features a safari, shows and rides, including Dinosaur. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; children 2 and younger, free. Parking: $6. Hours vary. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Disney's Epcot Center: Off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando. Call (407) 824-4321. Showcase of technology and foreign cultures in Future World and World Showcase. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; children 2 and younger, free. Parking: $6. Hours vary. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Disney-MGM Studios: Off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando. Call (407) 824-4321. Movie-themed shows and revues open daily. Rides include Twilight Zone, Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; children 2 and younger, free. Parking: $6. Hours vary. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Disney World Magic Kingdom: Off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando. Call (407) 824-4321. An old standby that continues to offer family fun with dozens of rides. Open daily; hours vary. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; children 2 and younger, free. Parking: $6. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Discovery Cove: Upscale SeaWorld theme park features a swim with dolphins, snorkeling through artificial reefs among tropical creatures, swimming in a tropical river and a free-flight aviary with more than 200 tropical birds. Total package cost of $229 includes above, plus equipment, meal, parking and seven-day pass to SeaWorld Orlando. "Trainer for a Day" and nondolphin swim also available. Reservations required. Call (877) 434-7268 or visit www.discoverycove.com.
Downtown Disney West Side: Buena Vista Drive and Hotel Plaza Boulevard in the Walt Disney World Resort. Call (407) 934-7781. Shopping, entertainment and themed restaurants featuring House of Blues, with live music nightly, and productions by Cirque du Soleil. Parking free; entertainment priced individually. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Gatorland: 14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando Call (407) 855-5496. A 110-acre amusement park and wildlife preserve. Admission: adults, $19.95; children 3 to 12, $9.95; children 2 and younger, free. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visit www.gatorland.com.
Holy Land Experience: 4655 Vineland Road, Orlando. Call (866) 872-4659. Christian theme park that re-creates the biblical-era Holy Land. Cost: adults, $29.99; children ages 4 to 12, $19.99; Parking: $3. Open daily; hours vary. Visit www.theholylandexperience.com.
Islands of Adventure: Off Interstate 4 and Kirkman Road, Orlando; (407) 363-8000. One of two theme parks in Universal Orlando. Rides and attractions include Jurassic Park and Marvel Super Hero Island. Directions: From Interstate 4 West, take exit 29B and follow signs; from Interstate 4 East, take exit 30A and follow signs. Open daily; hours vary. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; 2 and younger, free. Parking: $7; RVs and trailers: $8. Visit www.universalstudios.com/themeparks.
Jungle Adventures: 26205 SR 50, Christmas. Call (877) 424-2867. Features Florida panthers, alligators, American Indian village tours, exotic animal exhibits and jungle swamp cruises. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission: $17.50, adults; $14, seniors; $8.50, children 3 to 11. Visit www.jungleadventures.com
Orlando Science Center: 777 E. Princeton St., Orlando. Call (407) 514-2000 or (888) 672-4386. Explore all aspects of science through interactive exhibits. The center also features shows and IMAX films in the Dr. Phillips CineDome. Admission: unlimited ticket, $14.95 adults; $13.95 seniors; $9.95 children age 3 to 11; 2 and younger, free. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; call for summer hours. Visit www.osc.org
Pleasure Island: A Disney nightlife complex with a nightly New Year's Eve celebration. Clubs include BET SoundStage, Mannequins Dance Palace (Top 40 dance), Adventurers Club (interactive comedy), 8Trax ('70s), Comedy Warehouse, Rock N Roll Beach Club and Pleasure Island Jazz Company. Admission: $16.95. Call (407) 934-7781 or visit www.disneyworld.com
Ripley's Believe It or Not!: 8201 International Drive, Orlando. Themed galleries feature oddities, artifacts, pranks of nature and illusions. Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Admission: $16.95, adults; $11.95, children 4 to 12. Visit the www.ripleysorlando.com
SeaWorld Orlando: Off SR 528 (Bee Line Expressway) at Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando. Call (800) 327-2424 or (407) 351-3600. Marine park that features Wild Arctic, Key West at SeaWorld, whale, dolphin and sea lion shows. Also features Journey to Atlantis water thrill ride and Kraken floorless roller coaster. Open daily; hours vary. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; 2 and younger, free. Parking: $6; RVs, $7. Visit www.seaworld.com
Universal Studios: Off Interstate 4 and Kirkman Road, Orlando. Call (407) 363-8000. One of two theme parks in Universal Orlando. Rides and attractions include Back to the Future and Twister: Ride It Out. It's also a movie-TV production studio, where kids have a chance to see taping of Nickelodeon Studio programs. Directions: From Interstate 4 West, take exit 29B and follow signs; from Interstate 4 East, take exit 30A and follow signs. Open daily; hours vary. Admission: adults, $59.75; children 3 to 9, $48; 2 and younger, free. Parking: $7; RVs and trailers, $8. Visit www.universalstudios.com/themeparks
Universal CityWalk: Themed restaurants, shopping, nightclubs, movies and live entertainment are featured in this themed "downtown" on a lagoon. Directions: from Interstate 4 West, take exit 29B and follow signs; from Interstate 4 East, take exit 30A and follow signs. Admission: free; individual clubs charge. For access to all clubs, pay $9.95; for all clubs plus a movie, $13. Parking: $8; RVs and trailers, $10; free parking after 6 p.m. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call (407) 363-8000, or visit www.citywalk.com
Wonderworks: 9067 International Drive, Orlando. Call (407) 352-0411. An "upside-down mansion" offers interactive activities in a mystery lab and bubble room. Admission: adults, $17.95; children 4 to 12, $12.95; younger than 3, free. Laser tag and magical dinner show cost extra. Hours: 9 a.m. to midnight daily. Visit www.wonderworksonline.comBusch Gardens: 40th Street and Busch Boulevard, Tampa. Call (813) 987-5082. African-themed park, zoo and bird gardens. Edge of Africa Safari and thrill rides. Open daily; hours vary. Admission: adults, $55.95 for adults, $45.95 for children 3 to 9. Visit www.buschgardens.com
Florida Aquarium: 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Call (813) 273-4000. Featuring sections such as wetlands, bays, beaches, coral reefs, offshore and interactive displays. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission: adults, $17; seniors, $14; children 3 to 12, $11; children 2 and younger, free. Visit www.flaquarium.net