Space Coast Stadium and little-known facts about Brevard

Space Coast Stadium

Kennedy Space Center had a tremendous impact on Brevard County, they even named Space Coast Stadium in its honor. (photo: Michael R. Brown/Florida Today)

DealChicken spends a lot of time hunting and pecking around in search of the best daily deals in the Space Coast. Stadiums, beach shops, and astronaut lodging all provide the backdrop for some very interesting stories. Here are a few fun facts that even your favorite fine-feathered know-it-all didn’t know until recently.

Brevard County has the nation's first vanity area code, 321, in tribute to the shuttle countdowns at Kennedy Space Center. Resident Robert Osband suggested the code to officials and advised they "reserve this number with all due deliberate speed—before someone in Houston figures this out." Locals and officials alike rallied around the idea, and the new code went live in late 1999.

The city of Titusville was very nearly named Riceville. Colonel Henry Theodore Titus and Captain Clark Rice wagered on a game of dominoes, with the winner to decide the new moniker of the city then known as Sand Point. Titus was triumphant, and Sand Point was renamed after him in 1873.

The Space Coast is a baseball fan's dream, with two minor league baseball teams: the Gulf Coast Nationals, a rookie-level affiliate of the Washington Nationals, and the Brevard County Manatees, an A-level affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. In addition, the Washington Nationals attend spring training at the Space Coast Stadium as part of the Florida Grapefruit League.

Among the buildings at Kennedy Space Center is an unassuming wood-frame and concrete block house, known as the Astronaut Beach House, where astronauts prepared for space missions and bid their families farewell. The house was acquired in 1963 as part of an expansion for the space center and survived even as neighboring homes and businesses were torn down. The Center's staff members also use it as conference room space.

Each year, the weeklong Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival draws birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts from around the world. The region is renowned for the largest collection of endangered species in the contiguous 48 states and affords glimpses of native sea birds foreign to many birdwatchers. The festival has grown to be the largest of its kind in the nation since its beginning in 1998.

Brevard County is the world's only quadramodal transportation hub, boasting space travel via Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, air travel via two airports, sea travel via Port Canaveral, highway travel via multiple state and interstate highways, and rail travel via Florida's East Coast Railway. In addition, many of the county's transportation hubs are part of a government-designated Foreign Trade Zone, which provides tax and tariff relief.

Even if there weren’t dozens of billboards pointing the way from 95, it would be hard to miss Ron Jon Surf Shop. The brightly-colored palace in Cocoa Beach welcomes visitors any time of day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While the store covers more than two acres, the brand’s presence is much further reaching. The famous logo has been seen on the Eiffel Tower, and even captured in photos in Space. Now that’s out of this world!

The Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science is home to the official Windover exhibit, featuring artifacts from the famous archeological dig near Titusville as well as a simulated version of the dig site. The shallow bog pond has yielded dozens of bodies, many with brains still intact and all about 7,500 years old. Other finds include ancient weapons, tools and some of the world's oldest textiles.

Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building is home to the world's largest doors, each towering 456 feet high. In comparison, the Statue of Liberty stands 305 feet tall, and London's Big Ben clocks in at 316 feet. The Vehicle Assembly Building originally housed assembly of the Apollo and Saturn space vehicles and was most recently used to support shuttle operations.

Many notable folks have called the Space Coast region home, including Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today. When Neuharth's groundbreaking paper first rolled off the presses in 1982, it was panned for its colorful design, short stories and abundance of lifestyle and sports coverage. The paper was an almost instant success with subscribers and advertisers, however, and today, its influence is visible in many other publications.

Did you know about Space Coast Stadium and other Brevard facts? Test your knowledge on Tampa’s  history.