Driving Destinations For Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing
Few news reports could bring anchorman Walter Cronkite to tears. The iconic newscaster was speechless as he removed his glasses and rubbed his hands together when two Americans placed their feet firmly on the moon in 1969.
Fifty years later Cronkite’s coverage of Apollo 11 still evokes shivers for anyone old enough to remember the event.
How can you and your family can relive this great moment in American history?
Take a day drive to some of the places celebrating this significant accomplishment. Most of the venues are located within a short drive of major metropolitan areas.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Washington DC.
With its renowned collection and expertise, programming across the country, and activities in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum aims to spark a national conversation about the past, present, and future of innovation and exploration.
The museum's 50 Years From Tranquility Base opened in March, and includes a wealth of artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission. (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/50-years-tranquility-base)
Neil Armstrong's spacesuit goes on display July 16. (https://airandspace.si.edu/events/neil-armstrong-spacesuit-back-display)
July 20 at 10:56 p.m. features “The Eagle Has Landed” late-night celebration to commemorate the anniversary. (https://airandspace.si.edu/events/eagle-has-landed-late-night-celebration)
Space Center Houston: Houston, Texas.
From July 16 to July 24, the museum will host exhibits of spacecraft and spacesuits, as well as tours and films on July 20. A restoration of the original Mission Control Center, now a National Historic Landmark, will soon be completed. (https://spacecenter.org/apollo-50/apollo-anniversary-celebration/)
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Merritt Island, Florida.
Starting July 15, the center's reimagined Apollo-Saturn V Center will reopen. Visitors can try the Astronaut Training Experience, as well as view various spacecraft in the Rocket Garden. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also hosts the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. (https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/launches-and-events/events-calendar/2...)
U.S. Space & Rocket Center: Huntsville, Alabama.
Known as “Rocket City” Huntsville plans to commemorate the milestone anniversary and set a Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 rockets at the same time Apollo 11 lifted off (8:32 a.m.)
The city is also hosting a classic car show, concerts and a street dance party.
Armstrong Air & Space Museum: Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Ten days of celebrations (July 12 to July 21) including exhibits, demonstrations, science experiments and races take place at and around this museum in Neil Armstrong’s hometown. (https://www.firstonthemoon.org/)
Cosmosphere: Hutchinson, Kansas.
A scavenger hunt for Apollo 11 artifacts and a selfie station that allows you to take a photo of yourself "on the moon" await at this Midwest exhibit. A free, family-friendly event known as “Landing on the Lawn” takes place July 20 from 6 to 11:30 p.m. (https://cosmo.org/news-and-events/apollo-50th-anniversary-celebration)
Richard Nixon Library and Museum: Yorba Linda, California.
From now until January 12, 2020, the library and museum is hosting an interactive exhibit titled “Apollo 11: One Giant Leap for Mankind”. Artifacts that will be on display include Buzz Aldrin’s penlight from the Lunar Module, an Apollo 11 patch worn on the surface of the moon and the original draft of a speech President Nixon’s prepared in the event of a “moon disaster”.(https://www.nixonfoundation.org/apollo/)
Virginia Air and Space Center Official Visitor Center for NASA Langley: Hampton, Virginia.
The July 11 "Apollo Celebration" at 6 p.m. includes a private unveiling of the Apollo 12 capsule and a screening of the exclusive 35-minute 2019 documentary IMAX film “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition” featuring never before film footage from Apollo 11. (https://www.vasc.org/apollo-celebration/)
Wright Brothers National Memorial: Devil Hills, North Carolina.
See where it all began, where man first took flight on December 17, 1903.
A 50th anniversary celebration called "One Giant Leap" that's free to the public and runs from 5 to 9:30 p.m. takes place July 20 and will include the replaying of the original moon landing broadcast. (https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?id=C398A11B-D420-126...)
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum: Denver, Colorado.
“Apollopalooza”, a weeklong celebration running from July 13 to July 20, includes STEM activities and a presentation by Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz. (https://wingsmuseum.org/events/apollo/)
Cradle of Aviation Museum: Garden City, New York.
Dine with Apollo alumni, like Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. employees and special guests like Fred Haise of Apollo 13, Rusty Schweickart of Apollo 9 and Walt Cunningham of Apollo 7. (https://www.cradleofaviation.org/plan_your_visit/apollo/event/2019/07/20...)
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: Simi Valley, California.
July 13. Meet Buzz Aldrin at this 50th anniversary gala that also includes Apollo astronauts Walt Cunningham and Charlie Duke, as well as actor Gary Sinise, who played astronaut Ken Mattingly in the 1995 movie “Apollo 13". (https://roadtoapollo50th.com/50thgala/)
Rocky Mount Children's Museum and Science Center: Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
Now through September 1, 2019, the museum celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 with STEM content and interactive virtual experiences through the "Be The Astronaut" exhibit. See if you have what it takes to be an astronaut. (https://imperialcentre.org/science-center/exhibits/)
Da Vinci Science Center: Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The "One Giant Leap" exhibit runs through September 2 and commemorates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 with STEM content and interactive virtual experiences. (https://www.davincisciencecenter.org/one-giant-leap/)
McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning: Framingham, Massachusetts.
Now through December 2019, the center presents “Moon Landing in Context”, panel discussions, lectures, exhibits, and student projects that explore the history and social conditions that lead to the Moon landing. (http://christa.org/fsu-special-events/)
Museum of Flight: Seattle Washington.
From July 18 to July 21, the Museum of Flight is hosting A Lunar Block Party, which includes a taping of "American Idol", a Beatles tribute band and a "meet-and-greet" brunch. (https://pages.museumofflight.org/lunar-block-party)
Through September 2, the museum's "Destination Moon" exhibit will feature Apollo 11's command module, Columbia, and other rare artifacts from the Smithsonian. (https://www.museumofflight.org/Exhibits/Destination-Moon)
Mayborn Museum at Baylor University: Waco, Texas.
Until September 8, 2019, the museum is hosting the “Be The Astronaut" exhibit, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing with interactive and virtual experiences.(https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=2...)
Charles Stark Draper Laboratory: Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The “Hack the Moon Live" exhibit will be on display until October 5. It features artifacts from Apollo 11, and visitors can test their skills at the lunar landing simulation that runs from July 20 to October 5. A 50th anniversary celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 20. (https://wehackthemoon.com/events)
Lunar Dome at the Rose Bowl: Pasadena, California.
“Apollo 11: An Immersive 360 Adventure”, begins July 5 and features live shows with 40,000 square feet of video projections. Shows run daily until July 29. (https://www.rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/apollo-11)
Purdue University: Lafayette, Indiana.
At 3 p.m. on July 18, there will be a screening of “Go or No Go: The Untold Story of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing”, a film about the first moon landing featuring Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz. (https://www.purdue.edu/apollo11/events/index.php)
Selections from the Neil Armstrong papers are on display from July 19 and 20. (https://www.purdue.edu/apollo11/events/index.php?id=103707&m=&y=&c=&em=J...)
Bell Museum: St. Paul, Minnesota.
From July 16 to July 28, the "Year Of Apollo" exhibit will feature a lunar sample disk, six-inch disk containing samples of lunar rocks and lunar soils encapsulated in clear Lucite. (https://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/event/lunar-disk-7-16-2019/)
A 50th Anniversary celebration and 5k fundraiser takes place on July 20. (https://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/apollo50/)