The other night, while my daughter and I were watching one the many programs about the upcoming anniversary of Apollo 11 she turned to me and asked what I remembered most about the night Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. She’s heard me talk about the space program many times, but I don’t think she actually put it together until right then that I was a kid during this important event in our history.
If I’m being truthful, what I remember most about that night is seizing the opportunity to run around the neighborhood with my friends until very, very late into the evening. We kids were completely forgotten by all of the adults who were gathered around their televisions holding their breath as Neil Armstrong took those first historic steps on the moon. For 6 and 7-year-old kids staying outside until 11 p.m. was historic even if it was summer. We might not have been inside watching the coverage, but we knew what was happening was important. We flopped down in the back yard, stared up at the sky and thought if we looked hard enough, we could see Neil and Apollo 11 up there on the surface of the moon. I also remember the sense of pride we all felt. We were the first county to put a man on the moon! How cool is that? More importantly, we were inspired. We all wanted to take our own moon trip just like Neil, Buzz, and Michael.
Fast forward 50 years and kids are still wanting to fly among the stars. Inspire them to the moon and back with one of these picks.
A great way to spark those budding astrophysicists in your life is a visit to one of the many planetariums in North Texas. It just so happens UTA Planetarium is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing with Mooniversary, an all-day event happening both inside and outside the planetarium. The event features planetarium shows as well as free shows covering the Apollo missions leading up to and including Apollo 11. Additionally, Dora Musielak, a UTA Research Professor in the Physics Department will be giving a talk about the future NASA launch vehicles and how we will return to the Moon. Besides the planetarium events, there will also be engineering crafts, rocket launches, and even some telescope time.
Celebrate the Apollo 11 mission this Saturday at Frontiers of Flight Museum’s annual Moon Day event. Billed as the largest annual space-themed exposition in Texas, the day-long celebration of space exploration will feature over three dozen exhibitors, demonstrations, model rocket builds, and artifacts from space missions including moon rocks! Be sure to get there early because the first 200 kids through the door will receive a Lunar Sample Bag stuffed with space-related materials.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is commemorating the milestone anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with artifacts and experiences in their Launchpad: Apollo 11 Promises Kept exhibit. Highlights of the 10,000 square foot show include spaceflight artifacts from the Museum’s collection, hands-on activities to learn about the physics, chemistry and engineering behind space exploration, an opportunity to create cosmic art, and virtual reality headsets that allow you to see what the astronauts saw back in 1969.
Join the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for a whole day of space exploration as they also celebrate Moon Day. Take a picture with roaming spaceman, listen to a moon-themed story, engineer a stomp rocket, or make your own lander to get your astronauts to the surface of the moon safely. Also, don’t miss the FIRST LEGO League and FIRST TECH Challenge robotics teams. They’ll be on hand showing off the robots they created for their Into Orbit and Rover Ruckus seasons.
There’s no better place to learn about the Apollo program than your local library. Many local branches have special programming to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Just one of the many library events you should check out is SRC @ West, a daylong celebration for the whole family at Irving Public Library’s West Branch. Activities include outer space crafts, a visit from the Perot Museum’s Tech Truck and an evening star party in the parking lot where you can look at the moon and the stars through a variety of telescopes.
For even more Moon Day activities and kid-friendly events, explore the Kids & Family section of the Art&Seek calendar.