Events and exhibits celebrating Apollo 11 at 50

Events to celebrate Apollo 11's 50th anniversary
Events to celebrate Apollo 11's 50th annivers... 01:04

When it comes to celebrating Apollo 11's 50th anniversary, the sky's the limit! Here is just a small sampling of events across the country where mankind's giant leap is being commemorated.


The newly-restored Mission Control Room is now open to the public. Houston Space Center

A newly-restored Apollo Mission Control Room is now open to the public at the Houston Space Center. The week's events at the Space Center will include tram tours, pop-up science labs, lunches with NASA scientists and astronaut family members, presentations by Apollo engineers, and a talk on July 19 with NASA flight director Gene Kranz. There will be an interactive countdown to Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, featuring an outdoor concert and festival and Family STEM Zone (July 20); Inside Mission Control with Current Flight Controllers (July 23); and an Apollo 11 Mission Splashdown Party (July 24).

The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) in Portland, Ore., will hold viewing parties, astronomy sessions and films, as well as daily screenings of "Dark Universe," hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse, which explores some of the mysteries of the cosmos. Space Day (July 20) is a day-long celebration with hands-on exhibits and science demonstrations.

On July 16, beginning at 7:30 a.m., the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla., which presents immersive displays of NASA hardware, will mark the moon shot's 50th anniversary with an Apollo 11 Launch Flashback Event Presented by CBS, in which visitors experience the launch sequence in real time at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Hosted by CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann and featuring Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke

ApolloPalooza is a week-long celebration held by Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver, Colorado on July 13-20, featuring presentations by NASA veterans, aerospace experts and space scientists, as well as film screenings.

The kid-friendly Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, has a week of activities planned beginning July 15, including an Apollo 11 Scavenger Hunt; "We Choose to Go to the Moon" exhibit; a presentation by Rick Houston, author of "Go Flight, The Unsung Heroes of Apollo"; a selfie-station; and a "Space Out" on Saturday, July 20, where kids can learn about astronaut training. Landing on the Lawn is an evening-long celebration at the Hutchinson Community College Lawn in Hutchinson, Kansas, with space-theme activities, musical performances, a puppet show, documentary film screening, and Moon, star and planet viewing, beginning at 6 p.m.

Celebrating Apollo is a series of panel discussions and events held in and around Cocoa Beach, Fla., including a Women in Space panel (July 14); a concert by Duran Duran at the Kennedy Space Center's Rocket Garden (July 16); and a day-long One Giant Leap Celebration at the Space Center on July 20.  


Pressure suit AL-7, worn by Neil Armstrong during his 2 hour, 31 minute and 40 second EVA on the moon.  Smithsonian

Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 Spacesuit – Newly restored, the spacesuit that kept the first human on the moon alive will be displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington beginning July 16.

At the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., the 50th anniversary of launch of Apollo 11 will be celebrated on July 16 with footage of the Saturn V blast-off and talks by space historians. And at the Washington museum, on July 20 a late-night celebration (running from 8 p.m to 2 a.m.) will mark the moment Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface.

Apollo: When We Went to the Moon – A review of the political forces behind the Space Race that pushed the United States and the Soviet Union into a competition to set foot on the moon. Featuring objects and artifacts from the archives of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala. (Through January 2, 2020.)

The Apollo 11 command module, Columbia. The Museum of Flight

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, a touring exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum, featuring rare artifacts, including the Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, and a Sputnik satellite. Currently at the Museum of Flight in Seattle (through September 2).

Lunar samples will be on display at the Bell Museum in St. Paul, Minn., from July 16-28 – rock and soil types collected during six different NASA missions.

Small Steps, Giant Leaps, at the Houghton Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., features editions of works by Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, as well as artifacts used on the Moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts. (Through August 3.)

Neil Armstrong life and flight career is recounted at Purdue University's exhibitions and events devoted to one of its most heralded alumni.

Photography and Art

At the Exploratorium in San Francisco, U.K. artist Luke Jerram "Museum of the Moon," a 16-foot photorealistic sculpture featuring high-resolution NASA imagery, gives visitors the opportunity to examine the moon up-close … every nook and crater. (Through July 31.)

Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography – A survey of visual representations of the Moon, featuring cameras used by Apollo astronauts, as well as photographs, prints, films and astronomical instruments. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. (Through September 22)

The Met unveils Apollo 11-inspired exhibit 03:35

By the Light of the Silvery Moon: A Century of Lunar Photographs features approximately 50 works, such as photographs from the unmanned Ranger, Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter missions that led up to the Apollo 11 landing. At the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (July 14, 2019 through January 5, 2020).

Journey to the Moon: How Glass Got Us There is an exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., sees space exploration through a different lens. (Through January 31, 2020.)

Virtual Reality and Interactive

Apollo 11: One Giant Leap for MankindThe Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, in Yorba Linda, Calif., presents a 360-degree virtual reality experience that transports visitors to the lunar surface. (Through January 12, 2020).

Visitors can pilot spacecraft in the interactive exhibit "Be the Astronaut." Eureka Exhibits

Be the Astronaut – A first-person experience for all ages that uses physical exhibits, state-of-the-art video game technology, simulators, and NASA reconnaissance data to teach science and engineering content. At the Virginia Air & Space Center, NASA Langley Visitor Center in Hampton, Va. (Also at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.)


The invigorating documentary "Apollo 11" and Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" – the closest most of us will get to outer space – screen at the Lockheed Imax Theater at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington Saturday, July 20 at 11:15 p.m., and Sunday, July 21 at 12:10 a.m.

"Apollo 11" is getting theatrical screenings elsewhere this week, but if you can't make it to a really big screen where it should be viewed, you can catch it on your TV, on CNN Saturday, July 20 at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.  To view a trailer click on the video player below: 

APOLLO 11 [Official Trailer] by NEON on YouTube

Music and Performance

Among its events this month at the Planetarium at Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) in Portland are several presentations of "Laser Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon" and "Laser Beatles," because the '60s never really left us.

The improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade brings its humorous take on space exploration with a show at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City July 20. Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino (who had a recurring role on the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory") and NASA scientist Noah Petro (who didn't) will also join in the fun.


A Global Rocket Launch, to be held Tuesday, July 16 around the world, is being sponsored by Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Schools, civic organizations and hobbyists are encouraged to register online and participate. To infinity and beyond!

A trip to the Moon is an endurance test, so test yourself in the 5K, 10K and 1 mile Run to the Moon, Saturday, July 20 at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapokoneta, Ohio.

More events can be tracked at

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at and