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Melbourne Florida Ready to Blast Off with Canada

Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) is getting a multi-million dollar makeover, and that’s great news for Canadians who are hoping to visit Florida’s Space Coast.

MLB recently completed a $9 million renovation of its Federal Inspection Station (FIS) where all international passengers are processed through U.S. Customs. It is now the most technologically advanced entry into the U.S. and one of the fastest for passengers. The facility is equipped with Global Entry kiosks and sparkles with beautiful new terrazzo floors. In addition, Porter Airlines announced seasonal weekly service for Ottawa and Windsor to MLB until March 31 and Toronto until April 7. Service from Toronto includes twice weekly flights during peak periods, plus three times weekly for March Break.

At 10,181 feet, the runway at Orlando Melbourne International Airport is so long it was an alternative landing site for the Space Shuttle. (Photo Courtesy Orlando Melbourne International Airport)

MLB is betting that these increased flights and renovations will be a boon to the local economy and there is no doubt that Canada is a huge part of that bet.

“When you land at Orlando Melbourne on Porter Airlines, you’re in the center of it all. It’s the airport closest to beaches, closest to Port Canaveral cruises and just a short drive to some of the world’s most famous attractions,” said Greg Donovan, A.A.E., Executive Director at MLB. “Our local community has proudly embraced our Canadian visitors, even featuring ‘Welcome Canadians’ signs on our store fronts.”

Besides being the Space Coast’s only international airport, MLB has a massive 10,181 foot (3.100 metre) long runway. Because of its unique length and capabilities, MLB has served as an alternate runway for returning space shuttle missions. The primary landing site was the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, located one hour drive north.

Why You Should Visit Melbourne

A beautiful shot of downtown Melbourne. Events are held on the Melbourne’s beaches throughout the year. (Photo Courtesy Florida Space Coast)

Historic Downtown Melbourne

Historic Downtown Melbourne is home to more than 20 restaurants and 40 retail stores. One of the city’s favorite restaurants is The Mansion. Originally built in 1905, The Mansion has a long history and an outstanding reputation in the community – not to mention several wonderful treats on the menu. Visitors can see eight brand new large scale murals in the downtown area and the city hosts several events including the Brevard Renaissance Festival and the Satellite Beach Lion’s Club Car Show. One of the largest downtown renovations that has wrapped up is Hell n Blazes Brewing Company, a family owned and operated brewery that is working to maintain the historic roots of a building.

Exploration Tower offers spectacular views of Port Canerveral, as well as several opportunities to learn about space travel. (Rod Charles photo for VacayNetwork.com)

Exploration Tower

Located in Port Canaveral, Exploration Tower is seven floors of exhibits and interactive displays that will awaken your inner Buzz Aldrin. I loved the model NASA rockets and displays and I enjoyed learning about the environment and wildlife of Port Canaveral. Visitors have access to indoor and outdoor observation decks, as well as almost 5,550 feet of exhibit space so it goes without saying that the views are exceptional.

This is what a traffic jam at Sebastian Inlet State Park looks like. It’s hard to believe but the water is only three to four feet deep. (Rod Charles photo for VacayNetwork.com)

Art Galleries, Museums and Theaters

One of the most prominent theaters in Melbourne is the Henegar Center for Performing Arts. Foosaner Art Museum, a gallery that displays and interprets all aspects of the visual arts is another popular stop. Historic Rossetter House Museum & Gardens and Derek Gores Gallery are two other attractions worth a visit. If you love cars, an attraction you will adore is the American Muscle Car Museum featuring everything a A100 Golden Jubilee 1/2 Ton Pickup, a Cobra CSX 2703 and the Porsche GT3 RS.

Another way to spend time on the water in Melbourne is aboard the Indian River Queen paddle boat in Cocoa Village. (Photo Courtesy Melbourne Tourism)

Get On The Water and Around Beauty

It goes without saying that a big draw in these parts are beaches. Melbourne’s offers 33 miles of unspoiled beaches, meaning there is plenty of great spots for you and your family to perfect your sand castle building technique.

It’s not all beaches though, as Melbourne offers several opportunities to get close to nature. Begin your journey at Sebastian Inlet State Park  in a kayak or canoe. The water here is shallow and the waves are calm so you don’t need to be an expert or feel intimidated. Located just 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach, these waters are filled with snook, redfish, bluefish and Atlantic Spanish mackerel.

Other fantastic stops are Linear Park at Brevard Zoo, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society Melbourne Beach and the Florida Tech Botanical Garden. The Indian River Queen paddle boat in Cocoa Village (about a 30 minute drive north of Melbourne) is another way to get on the water and enjoy the wonders nature has to offer in Melbourne.

Feautured Picture: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying an Air Force communications satellite blasts off from launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo Courtesy Malcolm Denemark, Florida Today via Melbourne Tourism.

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