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PGAV Destinations: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s $16 Million New Entry Plaza, Retail, and Restaurant Now Open


Phase I of Master Plan and Design by PGAV Destinations Completed

The end of 2012 welcomed the unveiling of the new entry experience, retail shop, and restaurant at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The $16m project is the first phase of a 10-year master plan developed by PGAV Destinations, preceding the opening of the new $100m home for the space shuttle Atlantis later this year.

Related: PGAV Destinations Profile/ Space Shuttle Atlantis Safely Arrives at PGAV Destinations Designed Orbiter Home/ Authentic, Immersive Thrills? PGAV Destinations on The Art of the Family Vacation  

PGAV Destinations: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complexs $16 Million New Entry Plaza,  Retail,  and Restaurant Now OpenThe new entrance incorporates a grand entry plaza, a 75-foot-long, 5, 000-gallon fountain, and a completely re-designed ticket station, increasing guest flow with will-call and guest services stations. New offerings like the “Voyagers” retail shop provide rich new opportunities for visitors before they’ve even set foot inside the Kennedy Space Center.  The retro-themed “Rocket Garden Cafe” restaurant offers an all-new menu and a view of the historic rockets.

“The entry experience at any destination is one of the most important moments you have with your guests, ” says PGAV Destinations principal Mike Konzen.  “You only have one chance to make a crucial first impression that sets the tone for their entire day.”

Working in tandem with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex operators Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, PGAV Destinations’ design incorporates numerous thrilling elements into the entry experience. The strongest of which is the complete redirection of foot-traffic entering and exiting Kennedy Space Center: guests are now directed through the Rocket Garden, dwarfed by the towering powerhouses of Titan, Redstone, Atlas, and Saturn 1B rockets that propelled capsules into space. Combined with these brand-new intriguing elements is the theme of “explore, ” interwoven throughout the design imagery of the entry experience – melding with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s over-arching brand. Among many elements is a fountain show themed to a space shuttle launch, an 18-foot glass model of Mars, a pathway constructed of the same Tennessee river rock which the “crawler” moves along to carry rockets from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad, and anPGAV Destinations: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complexs $16 Million New Entry Plaza,  Retail,  and Restaurant Now Open entire themed lay-out that evokes the lift-off of space shuttles.

“From the very outset, every single aspect of our design goal was to be “fitting to the arrival to the world’s greatest space port, ” says PGAV Destinations project lead Emily Howard. “After seeing the reactions by the guests and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex team at its opening, I think we’ve hit that mark.”

For additional details on the new elements of the entry experience, please select “Click here to download this article” in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Newsroom.

About PGAV Destinations

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now in its fifth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning. 

PGAV’s key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the St. Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Hearst Castle, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.

About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is an industry leader, providing Stewardship and Hospitality in Special Places SM with hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations at historic and scenic properties in North America and Australia. The company operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Olympic, Shenandoah and Yosemite national parks, including The Ahwahnee and other Yosemite lodges; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia; Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and in Niagara Falls State Park. The company also owns and operates Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; the Park Gate Lodges at Yellowstone, which are the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn, Gray Wolf Inn and Suites and Yellowstone Park Hotel, all in West Yellowstone, Mont.; and five luxury resorts in Australia: Lizard Island Resort, Heron Island Resort, Wilson Island Resort, Kings Canyon Resort and El Questro Homestead and Wilderness Park. To learn more about Delaware North Companies’ hospitality management expertise, visit

About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex features many attractions and year-round interactive programs, including meeting real astronauts. The standard bus tour, included with admission, explores the history of the Apollo moon and space shuttle programs with panoramic views of Kennedy Space Center, the VAB’s exterior and a stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where visitors see an authentic 363-foot Saturn V moon rocket and relive the historic Apollo missions that saw man land on the moon.  For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit

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