Who knew you could do a lot in Melbourne Florida in roughly 24 hours??\u00a0 I was invited as part of a rather large press trip to visit Melbourne\u00a0 through their Orlando Melbourne International Airport (currently undergoing renovations to be all kinds of spiffy by December.)\u00a0 Porter has seasonal non-stop flights there from Windsor, Toronto and Ottawa that begin on December 16th, 2017 and end on April 7, 2018, but they chartered a special flight for us to experience their refined way of travel to MLB.\n\nLoved it! Honestly, trips through Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto have always been stress-free\u00a0for me no matter the time of day. What's not to love when you walk through security in a matter of minutes and then sit\u00a0down to as many complimentary lattes, waters, sodas, and snacks that you could possibly want before your flight.\n\nhttps:\/\/www.instagram.com\/p\/BaWO8ORHCjp\/\n\nOrlando Melbourne International Airport is only 3 hours away, and once you've landed, you are literally only minutes away from the beach. When winter makes itself known to Torontonians, I will be regularly tempted to drop everything and board for the next flight to MLB where I could simply step off the plane and dip my toes into the sand and surf.\n\n[caption id="attachment_10763" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Crowne Plaza Melbourne Beach Oceanfront - we were going to learn how to surf, but the weather wasn't playing fair.[\/caption]\nTo Infinity and Beyond! Watch Rockets Take Flight in Florida\nNASA\nDue to time constraints (our very quick trip was jam-packed with a ton of fun!), we didn't make it to the Kennedy Space Center as I had hoped, but we did get to check out the Exploration Tower!\n\nNormally a vacay would be more than our 24 hour jaunt down south, so the one-hour trip from downtown Melbourne would be an easy thing to do. And, it would be such a scenic ride!\n\n\n\nWant a funny story?\n\nLast time I was anywhere near the Kennedy Space Center, my family was looking for a hotel in Cocoa Beach.\n\nI was 8.\n\nWe were driving down a busy road and all of a sudden my dad saw smoke flying high from the back of the just-rented car, so he pulled over to the curb and made us all get out quickly.\n\nWe got out, turned around, and saw that it wasn't the car that was smoking, but there was a spiral trail of smoke up high in the sky, and we could see a rocket from NASA rising higher and higher up.\n\nWhat a way to be introduced to Florida for the first time.\n\nWhat made that day even more incredible for us, was that after an exhausting search, we finally found a room at Wakulla Hotel, and wound up being neighbours and fast friends with a lead scientist that was in town to watch his baby, the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) return back to Earth, with its 57 individual experiments on board.\nSpaceX\nThe really cool thing about SpaceX launches is that they're easily viewable from just across the water.\n\nIf timed right, you could watch it happen while enjoying a good meal and drink at the Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill, or even on the top balcony of the Exploration Tower.\n\nExpect those places to be busy though, so get in early!\n\n\n\n[caption id="attachment_10768" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Amazing view of a partial rocket on the SpaceX launchpad\u00a0on the balcony of the Exploration Tower.[\/caption]\n\n[caption id="attachment_10772" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] An even closer view of the SpaceX Launchpad from Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill![\/caption]\n\n[caption id="attachment_10780" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill: Pig Wings, Shark Bites, Chicken & Anitpasto Skewers - all of which are delicious![\/caption]\nFalcon Heavy & Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster\nOn February 6th, 2018, SpaceX launched their first Falcon Heavy rocket, with Starman's Tesla Roadster on board.\n\nThere's a website to watch where the Roadster is on its journey to Mars this very minute.\n\nhttps:\/\/www.instagram.com\/p\/Be6VZEzgAEk\/\n\nExploration Tower\nIf you can't make it to the Kennedy Space Center, be sure to go visit the Exploration Tower at the very least!\n\n\n\nEvery notable level of the Exploration Tower is filled with cool things to do, including surfing, or even testing your skills in navigating a cruise ship!\n\n[caption id="attachment_10774" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Navigating Port Canaveral in the Exploration Tower[\/caption]\n\nThe 6th floor, just below the observation deck, is dedicated to space exploration. Check out uniforms and badges from past launches, and learn about NASA's difficult history to get humans into space.\n\n\n\n \nWatch a Rocket Launch on Your Next Trip to Florida\nThere are 30+ launches scheduled for 2018, you can check to see if any of them happen during your next vacay with the Space Launch Schedule App.\n\nAlso, did you know that your name could be on the next flight to Mars?\n\n\n\nEcotourism\nBG's Bayside Marina & Adventures\nThere is a ton of adventure to be had alongside the mangroves in BG's marina!\n\n\n\nWe had the choice of either try kayaking or paddle boarding, and since I have no experience in either, I chose to sit my butt down in a kayak.\n\nThis trip would fascinate amateur ornithologists (the study of birds), and\/or marine-life enthusiasts.\n\nThe list of known birds in Brevard county is, of course, massive (here's a printable checklist if you're in the area, courtesy of Space Coast Audubon Society.)\n\nI saw quite a few species during the water trek by kayak, including possibly a White Heron (didn't have a chance to snap a pic with my camera to compare,) and also a bird of prey... it was too far to tell what kind, and as much as I love the idea of studying birds, I haven't had a chance to crack open a book yet.\n\nWe were lucky to see a few dolphins, and even a manatee was sighted briefly while we were eagerly getting into the water.\n\nIf you look a bit into the distance of this video below, you'll see a couple dolphin fins gliding above the water. They're little blips of dark that come out of the water, but they're there... it's kinda like finding Waldo.\n\nhttps:\/\/www.instagram.com\/p\/BaZo9mgHmLn\n\n[caption id="attachment_10785" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Getting set to kayak in BG's Bayside Marina, Melbourne, Florida[\/caption]\n\n\nTurtle Conservation\nWe didn't visit Melbourne, Florida at the right time to attempt to witness baby sea turtles hatching.\n\nIf you would like to "discover" sea turtles hatching and making their way back into the sea, you'll need to book a trip in June or July and sign up (early) for a Guided Turtle Watch tour.\n\nDid you know that five of the seven sea turtle species from across the globe can be found in Brevard County beaches? These turtles include Loggerhead, which is a threatened species (not quite endangered, but close enough unfortunately,) Green Turtle and Leatherback, both of which are endangered.\n\nPossibly because of this, Melbourne is the largest sea turtle conservation in the world!\n\nVisit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society to learn how you can help the not-for-profit organization help keep these species off of the extinction list!\nNerd It Up at Walt Disney World\nWalt Disney World is an hour and a half away, so you can totally make a trip to the park during your visit to Melbourne. The park is virtually one big geek fest!\n\n\n\nWe spent a few hours to enjoy Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowe'en party, that included short to no lineups for many of Disney's top rides, and an EPIC fireworks show.\n\n\n\nI NEED TO GO AGAIN.\n\nHere's the thing. I had no idea what was happening for the Not So Scary Hallowe'en Party. Our press group was told that fireworks would be a thing, and I quickly found online that costumes are encouraged, so I packed my sparkly cat ears (Get it? Cat and mouse? Heh...)\n\nBut, working out a battle plan for the three hours of adventure we'd been given didn't happen.\n\nMy friend Deanna, of Maple Leaf Mommy fame, and I were all, "What do you want to do? I don't know what do you want to do??"\n\nMEEP!\n\nWe rode the It's a Small World ride, because, ICONIC, and we had the stupidest grins on our faces while in the boat.\n\nWe, of course, had to ride Peter Pan's Flight, because.\u00a0 If you have even a smidgen of love for Peter Pan, you must make a trip to this ride.\n\n\n\nAnd we also made it to the Haunted Mansion. EPIC. The technology they use to make ghosts come to life is mind-blowing. If we had the time, I would have ran right back to the line up!\n\n\n\nAlso got to see what was probably the most incredible display of fireworks I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. The timing, concussions, chemistry mixes for multi-coloured burns, and overall placements was phenomenal.\n\nThe pyrotechnician designer is an absolute genius. Literally brought tears to my eyes to watch their art come to life.\n\n\n\n\n\nDeanna\u00a0took this picture while my pyro-loving heart was pounding, and I absolutely adore it!\n\nDespite having an incredible time, there was so much that we easily missed from not planning ahead.\n\nLooking at the pamphlet now (we could hardly read in the dark while there,) there were trading pins, and magic bands to collect, and specialty foods like a Pumpkin Cheesecake Dome! *drool*\n\nThrough all the excitement I had missed Deanna saying that she wanted to try out the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and I feel all kinds of awful that we didn't make that happen.\n\nSo I'm going to have to convince Jay that we need to bring our nephews to the party next year to experience everything on the list. And, dude, I'm dressing up!\n\nI also made the rookie move of buying a POP! Vinyl toy that could have been purchased anywhere (though there is a sticker on the bottom to show that I had picked it up at a Disney Park.) What I should have done was ask around if there were any exclusive Disney Parks only POP!s for me to bring home (as carefully as possible.)\n\nBut, here's my new Thor: Ragnarok POP! YAY.\n\n\n\n \nComic Book Shops & Collectibles in Melbourne, Florida\nAs much as I would have loved it, comic book and collectible shops weren't on our trip itinerary, so I couldn't scope any of these places out.\n\n\n\nIf you're in the mood to collect though, these stores all have 4.5 to 5.0 reviews on Google Maps.\n\nFamous Faces & Funnies\n\n3020 W New Haven Ave, West Melbourne, FL 32904, USA\n\n9.9 Comics\n\n1284 Sarno Rd, Melbourne, FL 32935, USA\n\nCASSIS Comics\n\n4835 W Eau Gallie Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32934, USA\n\nGet Your Fun On\n\n3020 W New Haven Ave, West Melbourne, FL 32904, USA\n\nJodi's Upscale Resale\n\n15 E Melbourne Ave, Melbourne, FL 32901, USA\n\n \n\n \n\nHave you had a chance to visit Melbourne, Florida?\u00a0 You can check out Porter now for flights starting in December!\n\n \n\nDisclaimer: This post was sponsored by Porter and Melbourne Orlando International Airport in a partnership with Geek with Style to provide you the most up to date facts, helping you make better informed decisions. All opinions in this article are my own.