Cape Canaveral’s historic lighthouse is set to reopen to the public on January 8 after being closed for two years. The pre-Civil War lighthouse had been closed to tourists because of budget cuts and security issues.The 151-foot tall lighthouse is reopening thanks to cooperation between the Air Force and the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation. The lighthouse is the only fully operational one that is owned and operated by the Air Force.
The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation is a private organization devoted to preservation of the lighthouse. A partnership between the foundation and the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base has allowed the lighthouse to reopen to visitors. The three-hour bus tours of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse will leave from Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral at 8:30 a.m. every Friday and Saturday and cost $27 per person. In addition to the lighthouse, the tours will include admission to Exploration Tower, stops at Air Force Space and Missile History Center and at two historic launch complexes.
Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing said in a statement that there has always been interest by the public to visit the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, which is why the the 45th Space Wing entered into a partnership with the private foundation. While the foundation provides the tours, the wing provides the access.
For years the Air Force offered free tours providing its own buses and volunteer tour guides. The tours focused on the Air Force space program with stops to several launch complexes, Missile Museum and the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse.
Unfortunately, the tours were stopped after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and then reinstated only to be stopped one more time in 2013 because of budget cuts.
The lighthouse dates back to before the Civil War. It was 1848 when the original, 60-foot version was first built and lit. Twenty years later, the second, taller lighthouse tower was built. In 1894, the lighthouse was dismantled and relocated about a mile-and-a-half inland where it remains today.