On July 20, 1969, mankind took the first steps on the moon, marking an unprecedented accomplishment for space travel and humanity as a whole. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that landmark event, and the events in DC next weekend to celebrate are can’t miss!
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is going all out, with an incredible nation-wide event designed to “spark a national conversation about the past, present, and future of innovation and exploration.” The Smithsonian-sponsored events will occur across the country throughout the weekend leading up to the 20th, and the activities occurring in DC are a must-see.
Apollo 50 Festival
The Apollo 50 Festival will be held on the National Mall between 4th Street and 7th Street on July 18-20. The festival will include a main stage and 20 tented displays with activities like:
- Hands-on exhibits and activities from exhibitors like NASA, Boeing, Raytheon, The LEGO Group, and PBS’s Ready Jet Go!
- Live performances on stage by Ready, Jet, Go!
- Numerous speakers including Adam Savage, ISS astronauts, and NASA scientists and engineers.
The festivities will run from 9 am-5 pm on July 18-19 and from 9 am-8 pm on July 20th. You can find out more, including a map of the Festival, here.
Discover the Moon Day
On July 19, from 10 am-3 pm, the National Air and Space Museum will be running Discover the Moon Day, with a variety of unique events, including speakers and hands-on experiences, throughout the facility. From hands-on fun with mini robots to learning about radar and planetary orbits, the event boasts something for every space-enthusiast.
You can check out the full schedule and get more details about Discover the Moon Day here.
Apollo 50: Go For the Moon
Finally, the crowning event of this extraterrestrial-extravaganza is the Go For the Moon celebration and show. On July 16, 17, and 18 between 9:30-11:30 pm, a 363-foot Saturn V rocket will be projected on the east face of the Washington Monument.
Then, on July 19 and 20, a 17-minute show titled “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” will be presented. The show combines “full-motion projection mapping artwork and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the story of the first Moon landing.” It will be shown on the face of the Washington Monument and supporting screens – including a 40-foot-wide recreation of the Kennedy Space Center countdown clock.
The show will run at 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, and 11:30 pm on July 19 and 20. You can find out more about the Go For the Moon show here.
The best part? These events are free and open to the public! So if you’re looking for something to do next weekend, be sure to stop by the national mall to learn about space, the moon, and the incredible men and women who made the Apollo mission possible.