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Houston’s Best Apollo 11 Moon Landing Celebrations — the Ultimate Guide to Space Fun

11 Ways to Enjoy a Historic 50th Anniversary

BY // 07.16.19
photography NASA

If thoughts of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11’s blastoff make you feel over the moon, you’re not alone. It was an epic, world-changing event, with Americans swelling with pride and our flag waving out in outer space.

The iconic lunar landing, with Neil Armstrong taking those very first steps, is worthy of celebrations every bit as historic. Houston isn’t disappointing, with moon parties and bashes coming from top museums to popular concert venues.

Countdowns, live music, film screenings and more are all part of this blast off.

Read on for the top ways to toast one of the most astounding achievements in spaceflight to date. This is your guide to Apollo 11 celebrations in Houston:

Thursday, July 18

Space on Screen: Armstrong

6 pm

Space Center Houston, 1601 East NASA Parkway

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Every month, Space Center Houston puts on a space-themed film as part of its Space on Screen series. This time around, it’s the compelling new documentary Armstrong, chronicling the life and times of Neil Armstrong from his formative years in the Midwest to his world-changing moonwalk.

You’ll find a blend of Armstrong’s home videos and never-before-seen NASA footage. And it doesn’t end there — you can also enjoy a dinner in the Astronaut Gallery.

Tickets range from $24.95 to $39.95.

Friday, July 19

Mixers and Elixirs: From Houston to the Moon

8 pm to 11 pm

5555 Hermann Park Drive, 77030

Artist Luke Jerram’s unparalleled, internally lit Moon sculpture is the centerpiece of this bash, with a 23-foot diameter shining in the Glassell Hall. The scale’s approximately 1:500,000 inches. The dazzling sculpture represents 24 feet of the moon’s surface.

Doors will open for the performance by out-of-this-world band The Space Rockers at 8 pm. Meanwhile, DJ Dame Hype will pump up the crowd in the paleontology hall.

Sadly, it’s cash bar as always. But you can purchase food from a bevy of trucks, including Dipped Dessert, Moon Rooster and Luv Me Tenders.

Tickets for members are $15, and tickets for non-members are $25.

Apollo 11 50th Anniversary

5 pm to 11 pm

Kemah Boardwalk, 2155 Kipp Avenue

This one’s got it all, covering the eats, crafts, live music and movie screening bases. Kemah is pulling out all the stops with a show from the Houston Rockets Power Dancers, live music from the Lone Star Brass Band and David Joel Band and a sunset show of First Man.

More fun’s on its way after dark. A fireworks show kicks off at 9:30 pm. You can enjoy the view with Moon Pies, because, you know, the moon.

This event is free.

Moon Festival

11 am to 2 pm

Nighttime Star Gazing

8 pm to 11 pm

HMNS at Sugar Land, 13016 University Boulevard

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is making major moves at its Sugar Land campus, offering not one but two ways to commemorate this crazy-impressive event.

The lunchtime Moon Festival has a docent discussing the past, present and future of NASA, while a NASA ambassador shares what life on the moon is like. Kids can take part in arts and crafts.

Nightfall means even more fun, with the chance to stargaze through telescopes alongside George Observatory astronomers.

Tickets range from free on up to $12.

Saturday, July 20

Apollo 11 50th Live

9:15 am — 

Space Center Houston, 1601 East NASA Parkway

This epic all-day party features a lunar celebration and a special, live interactive countdown celebrating Neil Armstrong’s very first steps on the moon.

NASA is doing this in spectacular fashion, with late-night NASA Tram Tours, book signings, notable speakers, a family STEM zone and an outdoor festival by the aptly selected Walk the Moon and Phillip Phillips, too. You should also plan for delights like parachute demonstrations and a robotics exhibit.

Tickets for members are $20 per ticket for up to six tickets, with non-member tickets running $49.95.

nasa historic first moon landing (Photo by Photos by NASA)
Neil Armstrong has the coolest resume.

Apollo’s 50th Anniversary Lunar Landing Celebration

6 pm to 11:11 pm

Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake, 3000 NASA Parkway

Party like it’s the 1960s at the Hilton, tunes courtesy of The Crossroads Refugees. Your attire is key, thanks to the costume contest.

A digital photo booth allows you to take pictures you’ll never forget, followed by an International Space Station video and fireworks show on the patio.

Tickets range from $50 to $500.

Sky Fest — Apollo 11: Looking Back to Move Forward

1 pm to 4 pm

The Lunar and Planetary Institute, 3600 Bay Area Boulevard

Sky Fest celebrations come quarterly, but this time, it’s a unique, anniversary-themed edition. Virtual Reality is the name of the game with intangible moon exploration, plus planetarium shows.

A moon rock is available, letting you touch a piece of outer space, and a special moon backdrop for Instagram opps is set up.

The best part? The educational angle — you can flip through the many, many panoramic photos and geologic charts of the moon.

This fest is also free.

Shooting the Moon: Photographs from the Museum’s Collection 50 Years after Apollo 11

Times vary from the July 20 to September 2

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 Main Street

This haven for fine arts is celebrating the best way they see fit — through gorgeous, notable pieces of art ranging from NASA documentary photos to more whimsical images, like a 19th Century-style portrait of a man in a solar-themed costume.

Ansel Adams’ MoonriseHernandez, New Mexico and Gary Winogrand’s Apollo 11 Moon Launch, Cape Kennedy, Florida and Hitoshi Nomura’s intersectional Conceptual Art and stargazing called ‘moon score,’ December 19, 1975 are just a few of the stunning, notable works on display.

Tickets are $17.

Apollo 50-Foot Mothership: Tribute to Led Zeppelin & Eclipse: Tribute to Journey

8 pm

House of Blues, 1204 Caroline

This one, admittedly, has no explicit ties to Apollo 11. But “Don’t Stop Believin'” it’s gonna be a blast, even if it doesn’t reference a blastoff.

San Antonio’s finest band Mothership bring the bang with lasers, lights and fog as part of their tribute concerts. Eclipse is big into Journey classics, sure to end in an iconic sing-along.

Tickets range from $15 to $20.

Lecture and Grand Tour of the Moon

7 pm

Houston Museum of Natural Science, 555 Hermann Park Drive

Esteemed space exploration scientist Dr. David Kring speaks on asteroids, landing sites and geologic formations.

Award-winning wind quintet WindSync will put on a show, tackling composer Marc Mellits’ piece specifically commissioned for the anniversary of the moon landing.

Tickets are $40 for members and $55 for non-members.

Wednesday, July 24

Apollo 11 Mission Splashdown Party

6 pm to 10 pm

Space Center Houston, 1601 East NASA Parkway

 Is there any better place to celebrate the anniversary of this epic spaceflight than Space Center Houston? We’re thinking no.

Especially not when they celebrate in fitting 1960s-style, with swinging live tunes from Beatles tribute band The Fab 5. The Apollo 11 artifacts provide the dazzling backdrop, and food and drinks are available for purchase.

This one may come a little late, but it’s not just celebrating the takeoff — it’s paying homage to the safe return.

The party is included with NASA general admission.

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