CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

For the first time in 45 years, Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex will be open on Christmas Day for special holiday themed events.

The visitor complex tells Local 6 that they are used to seeing about 4-5,000 people walk into the gates on an average day. For Christmas, they were anticipating around 2000 people and they believe they surpassed their goal.

Kathleen Saxena came from Phoenix, she told Local 6, "I just assumed everything was closed on Christmas Day."

The Melo family thought the same, they came all the way from Canada. Natalia Melo said, "My son reads a lot of planets, rockets and all that so we thought it'd be a good idea to come here to NASA."

10-year-old Conner Huey came to space from Washington State, he said, "I like space and I'm interested in the Apollo program."

Visitors like Conner and his family also got to see the new fountain. It simulates the Atlantis launch countdown.

For the Melo family, being at KSC for Christmas is like a gift itself.

The Holidays in the Space program starts on Tuesday and runs through Jan. 1. The event includes Santa Claus storytime, a Launch Control Center with Santa, caroling and IMAX holiday traditions in countries that partner with the International Space Station.

Adults receive one free child ticket with their ticket purchase. KSC also offers a 4-pack of tickets for $99.

For more information, visit Kennedy Space Center. 

Officials say people can expect the complex to be open again next Christmas.