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.
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. www.freedomovertexas.org
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. www.spacecenter.org
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. www.mfah.org
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. www.discoverygreen.com/moonlanding
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. www.runningalliancesport.org/lunar-landing5k/
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.
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. www.hmns.org
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. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us