Black Travel Vibes: Reach For The Stars In Orlando
Photo Credit: @themomtrotter

Mention Orlando, Florida to any traveler and their mind immediately goes to the fantasy playground that is Walt Disney World. However, there’s more to the city, and Florida for that matter, than Mickey Mouse and his crew.

In addition to great beaches and mouth-watering restaurants, Orlando is also home to the Kennedy Space Center, an attraction that’s sure to fascinate kids and big kids alike. The center is a unique change of pace from pricey theme parks and can create a spark in the imaginations of little ones. For mom Karen Akpan (@themomtrotter) and her husband Sylvester, opening children’s minds to the wonders of the universe is exactly why they recently visited.

As founder of Black Kids Travel (@blackkidsdotravel), homeschooling mom to son Aiden, 6 and aunt to Ethan, 6, Avery, 5 and Milania, 5, Karen and Sylvester are always looking for fun and exciting ways to combine travel with learning. So when they came across the activities at the space center, they knew this was the perfect opportunity for not only a family getaway but an experience that would encourage the children to dream bigger – and maybe have a little fun for themselves in the process.

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Do not go to Orlando without visiting Kennedy Space Center. These kids love everything space, and were walking around there like they owned the damn place ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ. But did they not ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ lol. Andddd that's exactly what I want. I want them to be in character in whatever they do. You want to be a pilot, I got mini polot costumes, a chef? I gotcha, apron and chef hat, a Dr, good we got that too. I want them not just to visit someplace, but to feel like that can be them too. I want them to know that they can be just like the photos & videos of all the astronauts they saw there. . My husband and I had as much fun as the kids did, we low key wished we had our own costumes too ๐Ÿ˜‚. This day was a whole homeschool lesson for the kids ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ. We all learned so much. I highly recommend that you add this to your Orlando to do list. The space simulation was the BEST. The kids said "Are we really going to space?" ๐Ÿ˜‚ and then adter they said "Now we want to be pilots and astronauts". I giggled and said, "Sure babies, YOU can be ANYTHING you put your heart to"!!!!! Do note that it is about an hour away from Orlando, so plan accordingly. Link to their astronaut costumes in my bio. I got it on Amazon because it was much cheaper. Aiden had the Melissa & Doug astronaut costume a few years back, but he outgrew it and this was perfect for all the kids. Have you been to Kennedy Space Center? Do your kids love to learn about space? #TheMOMTrotter #astronauts #kennedyspacecenter

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“My husband and I had as much fun as the kids did, we low key wished we had our own costumes too, lol. This day was a whole homeschool lesson for the kids. We all learned so much,” she recalls.

ESSENCE caught up with Karen and her awesome family to find out more about why she thinks parents should hit the Kennedy Space Center on their next visit to Orlando, why travel is important and where this crew will be jetting off to next.

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What made you choose the Kennedy Space Center for this adventure?

Karen Akpan: I chose the Kennedy Space Center because for one of our homeschool lessons, the kids were learning about space, planets, and astronauts. I then pulled out a video of how astronauts live in space and they were very intrigued by it. I knew then that a visit to Kennedy Space Center will help them connect the dots. I made sure to get them costumes as well because I wanted them to really be in character.

Why do you feel itโ€™s important to incorporate travel into their homeschooling experience?

Travel helps them connect the dots. It is one thing to read it or watch a video about it, and it is another thing to see it in person and experience it. Experiences are a very essential part of our homeschooling journey.

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**๐“๐ก๐ž ๐’๐ค๐ฒ ๐ˆ๐ฌ ๐๐จ๐ญ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐‹๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ. ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ˆ๐ฌ ๐๐จ ๐‹๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ** . My goal as a mom/aunt is to inspire them as much as I can and to guide them, and offer them the experiences they need to keep dreaming. I don't want them to have any limitations whatsoever. I want them to dream, and to dream BIGGER than I ever got the chance to dream as a kid. And to know that "Dreams do come true" โค. . Remember my favorite phrase, "If you go someplace new or experience something new, you have travelled". EVERY EXPERIENCE MATTERS !! Don't say we just went to the Zoo, or we just went to a Museum. Or we just went to the park. Every experience is an opportunity for your kids to experience something new and begin dreaming ๐Ÿ˜‰. . How do you inspire your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, or just any kid who is important to you? How do you encourage them to perform to their potential? And be their very best? How do you encourage them to dream? PS: SAVE this post so you can come back to see what other people have said about inspiring their kids / the kids around them. . #TheMOMTrotter #showthemtheworld #kennedyspacecenter

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What adventure will you take them on next?

We are very spontaneous and usually plan our trips very last minute based on where it is cheap/affordable to fly to or visit. We do try to travel every month and experience something new, so I’m currently planning out our next adventures for November and December.

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