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Five Unforgettable New Experiences on Florida’s Space Coast

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NASA may have scrapped its space shuttle program, but Jackie Perrin offers five new reasons that you should plan a side trip to Florida’s Space Coast on your next central Florida visit.

Beyond surfing and space flights, there are many more exciting experiences to embrace on Florida’s Space Coast – – like the opportunity to soar over alligators on an aerial adventure, take a nighttime sea turtle trek and make friends with a manatee on an expert-guided eco-tour.

And yes, you can still see rockets blast off to outer space at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – -a top spot to take in the rich history of U.S. space exploration through a variety of interactive exhibits.

Consider one or more of the following Space Coast adventures on your next central Florida journey. Chances are, you’ll have a blast.

Adventure Course at Melbourne's Brevard Zoo. Credit: Brevard Zoo.

Soar over alligators

Bring your bravado and your stamina to the Brevard Zoo, where a new high-rise experience will send your heartbeat and your body flying. On the Melbourne, Florida attraction’s new Treetop Challenge course, adventurers can soar over alligators, on a far-flung zipline tour that sends participants flying 40 feet high above the ground. “Treetop Challenge” is the most difficult of Treetop Trek Aerial Adventures park’s three levels of high-wire challenge. The upper level experience includes twelve zipping adventures, and is the only of the three to feature an aerial alligator encounter. Additional courses include “Canopy Walk” (must be 54 inches tall) and “Chutes and Ladders” (designed for those ages 4 and up and 36 to 60 inches tall). The Canopy Walk course involves plenty of energy-burning challenges, from tightropes to ziplines, and allows participants to hang with an array of zoo animals, from monkeys to macaws.

Since this is a self-guided experience, participants must be able to hook and unhook carabiners to and from the safety cable. Treetop Trek is open year-round and zoo admission is not included or required to participate. Reservations are not accepted – – admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early (typically the coolest time of the day) for the most comfortable and expedient tour.