One of Florida's most popular and important attractions is NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Located on Merritt Island, Fla., it is the base for the country's three space shuttles. It has been the launch site for every U.S. human space flight since 1968.
The facility is located midway between Miami and Jacksonville on the Atlantic. About 13,500 people worked at the center as of 2008. KSC is a major tourist destination; there are public tours and a visitor center. There are many exhibits and displays, a simulated ride into space, two IMAX theaters and a range of bus tours that give visitors a closer look at restricted areas. The site also serves as an important wildlife sanctuary; center workers can encounter bald eagles, alligators, wild boars, rattlesnakes, panthers and manatees.