Celebrate Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary

Half a century ago this month, the Apollo 11 astronauts took one “small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” July is filled with big and small celebrations and space-related events in honor of that historic occasion. Do you know of more? Let us know here.

Museum Events

Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab Open House
Museum of Natural History in Raleigh
Saturday, July 20, 2019, 12pm-4pm
Check out the Apollo landing sites on the Moon with new OpenSpace software and learn how you can use it to explore the Universe. The Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab will have interactive tours of lunar terrain where the samples were collected by Apollo astronauts

First Man in the Museum Park
North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh
Saturday, July 20, 2019, 8:30pm (gates open at 7pm)
(2018) Directed by Damien Chazelle. Written by Josh Singer. 141 min. PG-13. Discover the truth behind the headlines in this biopic depicting the career of Neil Armstrong from Project Gemini to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Armstrong suffered hardship and tragedy before his triumphant “giant leap for mankind” took him into legend.

One Giant Leap Festival
North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh

Saturday, July 20, 2019, 11am – 4pm
This indoor and outdoor celebration will feature hands-on crafts, demonstrations, and activities—including a virtual-reality lab where you can “travel” to space and be on the moon; and a bungee-jumping station where you, too, can experience weightlessness, like real astronauts.

Apollo Days
Life and Science Museum in Durham

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 to Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Your mission—should you choose to accept it—explore Mercury and Apollo-era artifacts and Aerospace exhibit with a special scavenger hunt. Zoom around the moon on the Science on a Sphere exhibit and watch historic footage from Apollo 11. Visit this summer’s special temporary exhibits: Sun, Earth, Universe, a new exhibition from NASA and the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) and photographs taken by the astronauts who landed on the Moon.

Carolina Skies: Lunar Landing Edition
Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill

Summer 2019
“Carolina Skies” takes Morehead visitors on a guided tour of the nighttime sky as it appears on the at very night above North Carolina. Visitors learn how to identify celestial objects visible to the naked eye and how to find the cardinal directions using celestial signposts. They learn about the legends and myths created by ancient cultures to explain the astronomical phenomena observed by those cultures. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Carolina Skies shows in Summer 2019 will additionally feature some highlights of the mission and how astronauts from the Apollo program were trained in celestial navigation right here at Morehead!

Park Events

Moon Landing 50th Anniversary
Eno River State Park, Friday, July 19, 2019, 8pm
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with crafts related to the Apollo 11 mission and other night-sky-related crafts. The park will provide small snacks and drinks as well as star gazing maps if there is clear weather.

One Giant Leap: 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11
West Point on the Eno, Saturday, July 26, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm RESCHEDULED FROM JULY 20
On July 20th, 1969 Neal Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon. Join Durham Parks and Recreation 50 years later for an evening of fun and learning! Visit the Environmental Education Pavilion to meet with NASA ambassadors and other local experts to learn about what it took to get to the moon, and take in views of the night sky from the meadow! This event is free and open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Bookstore Events

Reading Space Book Club for Rising 5th to 8th Graders: I Love You, Michael Collins
Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill
NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Tina Coyne-Smith will lead discussions of Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s historical fiction novel, I Love You, Michael Collins. The group will approach the book in four sessions with various themes. Kids may join for all sessions or individual ones. The themes for the discussion are:

Saturday, July 19 at 4pm: Apollo 11 and Michael Collins
Saturday, July 26 at 4pm: Friendship
Saturday, August 9 at 4pm: Solitude
Saturday, August 16 at 4pm: Roles of Women and Men

About I Love You, Michael Collins:
It’s 1969 and the country is gearing up for what looks to be the most exciting moment in U.S. history: men landing on the moon. Ten-year-old Mamie’s class is given an assignment to write letters to the astronauts. All the girls write to Neil Armstrong (“So cute!”) and all the boys write to Buzz Aldrin (“So cool!”). Only Mamie writes to Michael Collins, the astronaut who will come so close but never achieve everyone else’s dream of walking on the moon, because he is the one who must stay with the ship. After school ends, Mamie keeps writing to Michael Collins, taking comfort in telling someone about what’s going on with her family as, one by one, they leave the house thinking that someone else is taking care of her — until she is all alone except for her cat and her best friend, Buster. And as the date of the launch nears, Mamie can’t help but wonder: Does no one stay with the ship anymore? With I Love You, Michael Collins, Lauren Baratz-Logsted has created a heartwarming story about family and being true to yourself.

Library Events

Chapel Hill Public Library
To The Moon Movie Series

  • Monday, July 15 at 6pm – The Dish: The true story of a group of oddball scientists who man a satellite dish on a remote Australian sheep farm.that’s the world’s only hope for receiving the historic images of man’s first steps on the moon.
  • Tuesday, July 16 at 6pm – Apollo 11: Never-before-seen footage and take you straight into the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins embark on a historic trip to the moon.
  • Wednesday, July 17 at 6pm- First Man: Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in A visceral, first-person account, that explores the sacrifices and the cost on Armstrong and on the nation of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
  • Thursday, July 18 at 6pm – For All Mankind: Composed of actual NASA footage of missions and astronaut interviews, the documentary offers the viewpoint of the individuals who braved the remarkable journey to the moon and back in the 60s & 70s.

Space Explorers Book Club
Do you love to read about space? Learn more about the universe around us by checking out some of our favorite out-of-this-world reads and join us for a spacetastic activity! Pre-registration required.
July 11 at 3pm (rising grades 1-3) and 4pm (rising grades 4-6)
July 25 at 3pm (rising grades 1-3) and 4pm (rising grades 4-6)
August 8 at 3pm (rising grades 1-3) and 4pm (rising grades 4-6)

Finding Harry Potter in the Stars with NASA Space Ambassador Tina Coyne-Smith
Wednesday, July 31 at 2pm and 4pm
Did you know that almost two dozen Harry Potter characters bear names of stars? Join us to find out all about them! (There will be spoilers!) Space is limited, pre-register here! Recommended for ages 6+.

Bright Star Theatre: One Small Step: The Real-Life Journey to Outer Space
Thursday, August 1 at 2pm and 4pm
This tale marks the history of flight and space travel from the ancient tale of Icarus, to the first flights of the Wright Brothers on the beaches at Kitty Hawk, to the Great Space Race of the 1960s and beyond! Your young pilots and astronauts will be thrilled to learn about the real life characters that took One Small Step! Recommended for ages 4+.

Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough
Spaced Out!
Thursday, July 11 at 4pm
Explore our amazing solar system through observations and hands-on astronomy activities.

East Regional Library in Durham
Global Rocket Launch
Tuesday, July 16 at 4pm
Launching rockets to honor the Apollo 11 anniversary & celebrate Summer Reading! For all ages, outdoors. Please register.

Stanford L. Warren Branch Library in Durham
Walking on the Moon
Tuesday, July 23 at 1pm
What’s it like to travel in space? With the help of some volunteers, kids will learn what it’s like to explore space and the space technology used on earth today! For elementary schoolers.

Southwest Regional Library in Durham
Moon Rocks!
Tuesday, July 23 at 3pm
Make a little moon that can fit in your pocket! For Ages 7+. Registration required.

Galaxy Rocks!
Thursday, August 1 at 4pm
Make a little galaxy that can fit in your pocket! For Ages 7+. Registration required.

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