It is hard to believe that we are already half way through the first month of 2014! This year, instead of making a New Year’s resolution, we decided to pick one word that would guide us through the year. I knew that the word that I selected had to center around travel and new things. I had originally thought about the word “adventure”, but realized that might imply that I was willing to do stuff that is dangerous. That is when it hit me, I wanted to explore. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word explore means “to learn about (something) by trying it.”
Explore is the perfect word for what I want to do this year. We will explore new places, new ideas, new foods, and even ourselves! It seems fitting then, that our first exploration took us to the new Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral. After a trip to the airport to drop off our son, Alex, we decided to take an unexpected and spontaneous turn onto the Beachline. About 30 minutes later, we arrived at the port.
Exploration Tower was built at the center of what will become the newly redesigned and developed area at Port Canaveral which is known as The Cove. If you like architecture, this building is a beauty (inside and out)! It is a seven story building that overlooks the Port. And if you are a space nerd like me, you will be excited that you can even see the old Vehicle Assembly building at Kennedy Space Center. We were not really sure what we were going to stumble upon once inside, but we were pleasantly surprised!
Inside of the Exploration Tower, you will find a plethora of Port Canaveral’s diverse history. From the space industry to the farming industry, this place has it all. Here are a few fun facts that we learned from our visit!
The port is a homeport and port-of-call for ships from 15 different cruise lines. It is one of the busiest cruise ports and brings in millions of cruise passengers each year. You can even see the ships from the tower.
Some of the important people in Port Canaveral history include Andrew Duda and Rodney Thompson. Andrew Duda was a farmer and land owner. He and his sons started A. Duda and Sons in 1926 after producing their first successful celery crop. In 1989 ground was broken on their land to build Viera, which is now a booming area for shopping and government offices.
Rodney Thompson was also a notable person in Port Canaveral’s history and his family continues to carry that legacy still to this day. Rodney was a local shrimper who invented a de-shelling machine for rock shrimp, which changed the nature of the shrimping industry for Florida. After business doubled, he opened Dixie Crossroads restaurant and Wild Ocean Seafood Market. I would recommend checking out Wild Ocean Seafood Market while you are at the Exploration Tower – it is located right across the street. You can see them unloading the fish right there. Freshness at its best! Check out their website at http://wildoceanmarket.com/
There are also exhibits featuring Ron Jon Surf Shop, the space industry, and so much more.
You can pilot a boat.
You can even wrestle an alligator!
But whatever you do, don’t miss the observation deck on the 7th floor! It is amazing! This is a great place to soak in the beauty of Port Canaveral.
The cost to visit the Exploration Tower is $6.50 for adults and $3.75 for kids. If you happen to be a Brevard County resident, senior citizen, or active/retired military the cost is $4.00 for adults and $2.50 for kids.