About the Refuge


Green sea turtle with launch pad in the background.

Hours and Procedures:

During normal operations, the Refuge Visitor Center hours are 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM.
Also the refuge does close for rocket launches.

The normal procedure is that Refuge roads are closed one hour before scheduled launch times or when the Canaveral National Seashore beach parking lots are full.


The refuge traces its beginnings to the development of the nation’s Space Program. In 1962, NASA acquired 140,000 acres of land, water, and marshes adjacent to Cape Canaveral to establish the John F. Kennedy Space Center. NASA built a launch complex and other space-related facilities, but development of most of the area was not necessary. In1963 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an agreement to establish the refuge and in 1975 a second agreement established Canaveral National Seashore. Today, the Department of Interior manages most of the unused portions of the Kennedy Space Center as a National Wildlife Refuge and National Seashore.


Merritt Island NWR

PO Box 2683

Titusville, FL 32781

Phone: 321-861-5601

Email: MerrittIsland@fws.gov