Souvenir Sunday: Kennedy Space Center

Ready to travel into space?  Prepare for the trip at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center.

And make sure to bring home souvenirs.

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Today is Souvenir Sunday, the day takes a look at fun, locally-themed souvenirs you can find when you’re out on the road.

This week’s treats come from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Florida.

The giant complex houses the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, an IMAX theater, a Rocket Garden and lots more.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center also has a great gift shops.

Here are some of the favorite items I found, including astronaut pens, t-shirts featuring dogs and cats dressed for space, shuttle key rings, NASA mugs (of course) – and lettuce seeds for when people land on Mars and need to start planting food for the future.

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor CenterSouvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Souvenirs from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center

Have you been to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center? Tell us about your favorite exhibits- and the cool souvenirs – you found there.


Kitten Cuddle coming to Charlotte Douglas Int’l Airport

August 8 is International Cat Day.

To mark the day, Charlotte Douglas International Airport has scheduled a Kitten Cuddle on Wednesday, August 8 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Atrium in front the 1897 Market.

The plan is to have at least 10 kittens on site and available for cuddling, so there should be plenty of cats to go around.

The kittens are coming to CLT courtesy of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control, which currently has more then 250 cats and dogs available for adoption.

Animals in the airport are nothing new at CLT.

While the Kitten Cuddle is a first for the airport, the CLT Canine Crew is mde up of 31 four-legged volunteers who are often on duty to greet passengers. Look for the pups wearing “Pet Me” vests.

‘Lil Rocky Balboa the Griffon, courtesy CLT

Fresh art at San Francisco Int’l Airport: the Cat in Art

Cat night-light late 18th–early 19th century. Courtesy SFO Museum

The SFO Museum is hosting a new exhibit at San Francisco International Airport featuring more than one hundred objects celebrating cats.

There are an estimated 600 million domesticated cats worldwide, with cats edging out dogs as the most popular modern-day pets.

Historically, cats were worshipped by the ancient Egyptians and celebrated as symbols of good luck throughout Asia. In Europe, cats were associated with magic, witchcraft, and evil spirits and were persecuted for centuries before they gained cultural acceptance

Although officially condemned in Medieval Europe, cats were praised by painters, sculptors, and intellectuals during the Renaissance, with Leonardo da Vinci proclaiming that “even the smallest feline is a masterpiece,” the exhibition tells us.

Caticons: The Cat in Art, explores the history of the cat and its allure through art, literature, and decorative arts from around the world and is on view in the pre-security area of the International Terminal at San Francisco International Airport through April, 2019.

Here are some more images from the exhibit, courtesy of the SFO Museum exhibit:

Seated cats c. 1900

Temple cats – 19th to early 20th century


Dogs from CATS on duty at Denver Airport

Photo courtesy Denver International Airport

Photo courtesy Denver International Airport

Denver International is the latest to join the pack of airports with a team of therapy dogs on duty to help relieve stress and anxiety for passengers.

Denver’s crew is called CATS – which stands for Canine Airport Therapy Squad – and each one of the dogs is registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and is trained, certified and insured.

CATS dogs will be easy to spot: they’ll be wearing “Pet Me” vests.

Want a preview? Denver International Airport has a gallery of pooch pictures on line.

Cats & cat allergies on a plane

Each Friday on’s Overhead Bin I get to answer a reader’s question. This week Christopher Ambler wanted to know not how to take a cat on a plane, but how to avoid cats on a plane.

“If I have an allergy attack, it manifests as asthma that could not only cause a trip to the hospital, at best, but also typically means I will be recovering for days after receiving treatment,” wrote Ambler.

He tries to call ahead to see if there might be cats in the cabin, but “I’m often told that I have no recourse. They have said that I should ask for a seat change, but with re-circulated air, no seat is safe. Travel insurance also doesn’t cover this, as it’s a foreseeable circumstance.”

Rebooking on another flight sometimes solves the conflict, but then he’s often hit with an airline’s change fee, Ambler said.

Ambler is not alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), about 10 percent of people with allergies are allergic to pets.

“It can be tough,” said Todd Rambasek, an AAAI fellow and a doctor with E.N.T. & Allergy Health Services in Cleveland, Ohio. “You can try avoidance measures and ask to be moved to another part of the plane. But even if there’s no pet in the cabin or near where you’re seated, remember that a lot of people carry pet dander on their clothes.”

Rambasek said asthma sufferers on airplanes might consider pre-medicating or wearing a face mask, such as those worn by some travelers during flu season.

Ambler has his own suggestion: During the booking process, he’d like airlines to alert a passenger if a pet is already booked on the flight. “If so, I would gladly say, ‘Hey, they booked first, I’ll take a different flight.’ But if someone with a pet allergy books first, pets should be disallowed on that flight. First to book should win,” said Ambler.

I ran that idea past a few airlines. American Airlines told me such a plan would be too complex, too time-consuming and too unreliable to administer.

“Just as with our policy for peanut allergies, we simply cannot assure customers that our aircraft are free of allergens, even if there is no pet onboard,” said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely. “We cannot guarantee our flights to be allergy-free, and customers should consult their physician as to the best way to medically deal with that issue.”  (American does not serve peanuts, but allows up to seven booked pets per flight.)

But here’s another strategy that may help. Many pet-friendly organizations list airline pet-policies on their websites. Studying those will tell you how much each airline charges for an in-cabin pet (some airline pet fares can top $100 each way) and how many pets each airline allows in the cabin. Frontier Airlines, for example, allows up to 10 pets aboard each flight.

Travelers seeking to avoid flying with other people’s pets might choose an airline that either limits the number of pets in the cabin or charges a high fee for passengers to bring their pets along.