Art exhibits, festivals and more ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing


July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, in which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the moon. Events throughout the Houston area will commemorate the historic event.

July 2-4
Watch a NASA spacecraft replica drive city streets

A 20,000-pound replica of NASA’s Orion spacecraft will make its way from Clear Lake to Eleanor Tinsley Park in downtown Houston ahead Citgo’s Freedom Over Texas 4th of July concert and celebration. It will follow the following route from 7 to 8 p.m. July 2.

  • Exit Space Center Boulevard to Clear Lake City Boulevard, Clear Lake
  • Right on Clear Lake City Boulevard to I-45 North
  • Take the Hwy. 59 North exit to the I-10 West exit (Exit 132)
  • Take I-10 West to the I-45 South exit (Exit 768B)
  • Exit onto I-45 South and drive to the Dallas Pierce exit (Exit 47D)
  • Exit Dallas Street
  • Right on Dallas Street
  • Right on Gillette Street
  • Right on Allen Parkway

Once parked downtown, the replica will be on display for onlookers at the 4th of July celebration. 4-10 p.m. Free. 18-3600 Allen Parkway, Houston.

July 16-24
See where it all began

The Johnson Space Center hosts a series of events in celebration of the anniversary, including lunch with Apollo 11 flight controllers, an “Apollo 50 Live” activity event, an outdoor festival and an “Apollo 11 Mission Splashdown Party.” Hours vary. Prices vary. 1601 E. NASA Parkway, Houston. 281-244-2100.

July 20-Sept. 2
Explore the moon through photography

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents “Shooting the Moon: Photographs from the Museum’s Collection 50 Years after Apollo 11.” The broad collection includes documentary photography to 19th century portraits with solar system themes. Hours vary. Prices vary. 1001 Bissonnet St., Houston. 713-639-7300.

July 20
Attend an out-of-this-world party at Discovery Green

Several organizations come together to put on a moon landing-themed festival at Discovery Green, including a paratrooper landing from the U.S. Army’s official aerial parachute demonstration team and displays from the Johnson Space Center and The LoneStar Flight Museum. The evening concludes with an outdoor screening of “Apollo 11.” 6-10 p.m. Free. 1500 McKinney St., Houston. 713-400-7336.

July 21
Run a lunar-themed 5k

The Clear Lake Recreation and Community Center hosts a 5k and child-friendly 1k in honor of the Apollo 11 spaceflight anniversary. 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. (1k), 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. (5k). $10-$45. 16511 Diana Lane, Houston. 281-488-0360.

Throughout July
Check out Friendswood’s month of celebrations

Several events throughout the city of Friendswood commemorate the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Read more about them here.

Throughout July
View the moon up close

Since April, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has displayed “Moon” by Luke Jeram, a 23-foot-diameter moon replica that is internally illuminated and is approximately 1/500,000th the size of the moon. Hours vary. $16-$25 (nonmembers). Free (members). 713-639-4629.

Aug. 3, 31
Hear stories from a retired NASA scientist

Retired NASA physicist F. Don Cooper visits two Fort Bend County libraries to share stories from the Apollo 11 launch. On Aug. 3, he speaks at the Siena Branch Library, and on Aug. 31, he speaks at Missouri City Branch Library. 2-4 p.m. (both sessions). Free.
Siena Branch: 8411 Sienna Springs Drive, Missouri City. 281-238-2100.
Missouri City Branch: 1530 Texas Parkway, Missouri City. 281-238-2100.

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Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered health care and public education in Austin.
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