Celebrate the 1969 lunar landing with a visit to one of these Ohio locales.
July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. The event, which revolutionized space travel, is being observed at numerous science centers and museums across the country, including the one named in the Wapakoneta, Ohio, native's honor.
The Armstrong Air & Space Museum is one of several places around the Buckeye State dedicated to astronomy, science education and honoring astronauts from Ohio—a group that includes John Glenn, Jim Lovell and Judith Resnick. For an unforgettable day trip, plan a visit to one of these space-related sites.
Armstrong Air & Space Museum
500 Apollo Drive, Wapakoneta; 800-860-0142; armstrongmuseum.org
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, April to September; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, October to March
Cost: $8 adults, $4 children ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and younger
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon and uttered those famous words, “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The lunar landing launched a new frontier for space exploration that is showcased at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum. The venue, designed to look like a futuristic moon base, features interactive exhibits and artifacts including spacesuits, moon rocks and the Gemini VIII spacecraft. There is even a zero gravity simulator that lets visitors experience what it's like to work in space.
“It is exciting to see the smiling faces on kids who have a memorable experience from a program or an exhibit. It is equally exciting to see joy on the faces of the parents who witness their children learning and appreciating the achievements in space and aviation that happened when they were adolescents,” says executive director DanteCentuori.
Armstrong's hometown is hosting a 10-day festival to commemorate the 50th anniversary from July 12-21, with NASA exhibits, astronaut presentations and entertainment. For the full calendar of events, go to firstonthemoon.org.
John Glenn Astronomy Park
Use 20531 State Route 664, Logan, for navigation purposes; jgap.info
Cost: Admission is free, but program reservations are requested.
John Glenn Astronomy Park is dedicated to the Cambridge native, who was the first American to orbit the earth and the oldest astronaut to return to space. This year marks the first full season for the park, located in the Hocking Hills region. The site hosts programs where visitors can observe the night sky through a 28-inch telescope on Friday and Saturday nights (weather permitting) from March through November. There are some daytime programs, and the park is open around the clock 365 days a year for anyone to visit on their own.
NASA Glenn Visitor Center
601 Erieside Avenue, Cleveland; 212-694-2000; greatscience.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, May to September; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, September to April
Cost: $16.95 adults, $13.95 ages 2-12. (COSI members get free admission through a reciprocal program.)
The NASA Glenn Visitor Center is part of the Great Lakes Science Center, which offers hundreds of hands-on exhibits. It is one of 11 NASA visitor centers in the United States. Events are planned July 19 and 20 for the Apollo 11 anniversary.
“Our hands-on exhibits and live science demonstrations encourage our guests to ‘stay curious' with plenty of opportunities to tinker, design, play and create,” says director of communications Joe Yachanin.
As visitors explore the center, they can learn how astronauts live day-to-day on the International Space Station and look inside the real Skylab 3 Apollo Command Module.
International Women's Air & Space Museum
1501 N. Marginal Road, Cleveland; 216-623-1111; iwasm.org
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
It's easy to make a full day of space exploration in Cleveland, since the International Women's Air & Space Museum is within walking distance of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. It is the only museum of its kind in the world that recognizes the female trailblazers in air and space travel. The venue showcases the history and accomplishments of space pioneers such as Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and includes an area dedicated to women who were mission controllers in the NASA program.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; 937-255-3286; nationalmuseum.af.mil
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is one of the best free museums in Ohio. While there are many galleries to explore, the Space Gallery is one of the most impressive. The Space Shuttle Exhibit takes visitors inside the spacecraft to see how the crew trains together. There are several other vehicles on display, including a Mercury spacecraft, the model used to put the first American into space. Don't miss the Apollo 15 Command Module and a collection of space food scientifically formulated to feed astronauts during their missions.
61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware; 740-363-1257; perkins.owu.edu
Cost: $10 to $12
The Perkins Observatory is an educational center for Ohio Wesleyan University, but it offers astronomy programs to the public. The best opportunity to experience the facility is during one of the Friday night programs that include an astronomy lecture and a tour. Some programs also include a chance to look through the massive telescope in the dome if the skies are clear. Since space is limited, it's best to purchase tickets in advance.
Space: A Journey to Our Future Exhibit
Bossard Memorial Library; 7 Spruce St., Gallipolis; 740-446-7323; bossardlibrary.org
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 7 to Jan. 5
In cooperation with NASA, the Bossard Memorial Library will feature a special exhibit with artifacts from the space program on display. Kids can experience a lunar base camp and touch rocks collected from the moon, along with other interactive exhibits.
John and Annie Glenn Museum
72 W. Main St., New Concord; 740-826-3305; johnglennhome.org
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays, May to September; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays in October
Cost: $7 adults, $3 students, free for children younger than 6
A visit to the John and Annie Glenn Museum takes visitors into the astronaut's personal life. The living history museum uses costumed actors who lead tours through the Glenn home as if it were 1944. The house features Glenn's boyhood bedroom and toys, and provides insight into his military and political service and his time in the space program.
Editor's note: The admission fee for Perkins Observatory has been updated in the online version of this story from the Summer 2019 issue.
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