The Museum of the Moon sculpture, here pictured in Leeds, UK, is currently installed at the Exploratorium. Designed by UK artist Luke Jerram, the Museum of the Moon is a 16-foot photorealistic, topologically correct model of the moon that is lit from within. (Luke Jerram)
On July 20, 1969, the world watched, transfixed, as two American astronauts set foot on the moon. This year, the Bay Area will join the rest of the country in celebrating the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission on Saturday, July 20th.
Whether you would like to meet an astronaut and learn about what it’s like to be in space, enjoy a symphonic journey through the galaxy, or hike through redwoods in the moonlight, we’ve put together this chronological list of moon-themed events where you can go to celebrate all summer long.
Marin County Fair
Wednesday July 3 - Sunday July 7 San Rafael
Tickets start at $3 online
This year’s Marin County Fair is moon landing themed. The four-day event will feature carnival rides, free concerts, live culinary contests, and a Cheese of the Day stage — in homage to the moon made of cheese, of course.
Kick off a month of space-related activities at the Chabot Space & Science Center with a sneak peek of the new documentary film Chasing the Moon — and catch a conversation with Ben Burress, a staff astronomer, and Kat Snow, senior science editor at KQED.
Chasing the Moon
Monday July 8 - Wednesday July 10, 9 pm on KQED 9 Airs on PBS member stations, including KQED
This long-anticipated film by Robert Stone will air across three nights, beginning on July 8th. Chasing the Moon features never-before seen archival footage of the drama surrounding the Apollo 11 mission and tells the story of the diverse array of characters involved in the space race.
Walk through the Luminous Moon exhibit to see high resolution images of the moon and hear an astronomer talk about its geography and geology. Check out the moon through one of the center’s historic telescopes. Hot chocolate and snacks will be available for purchase.
Go on a 4-5 mile hike through the redwoods, lit by the full moon. Learn about local history and ecology along the way. Conclude the evening with stargazing, planet hunting, and two complimentary glasses of beer or wine.
Enjoy cosmic-themed music — everything from the Star Trek theme to Clair de Lune — by the SF Symphony, accompanied by visuals on the big screen. Hosted by retired astronaut Leland D. Melvin.
Splashdown 50 Stargazing Overnight
Friday July 19, 6 pm - Saturday July 20, 9:30 am USS Hornet Museum, Alameda
Ticket prices from $65; pre-registration required by Friday, July 5
In this special 50th anniversary overnight, you can spend the night aboard the USS Hornet, which served as the historic recovery vessel at the conclusion of the Apollo 11 mission. Sleep in the original crew’s compartments with family, and eat breakfast and dinner inside the original Crew’s Mess. Enjoy stargazing from the vessel's Flight Deck, and take a ride in the Flight Simulator.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing aboard the historic USS Hornet, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps back on Earth after returning from the moon. Meet the veterans of the Recovery Team who retrieved the astronauts and their capsule. Afterwards, enjoy an inflatable planetarium, a VR arena, docent-led tours of the ship, and snacks from food trucks.
Watch moon demos and a planetarium show, with screenings of Chasing the Moon and Apollo 11.
Apollo Party 21+
Saturday July 20, 6 pm - 10 pm Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland
Break out your moon walk at an after-hours dance party, or entertain your friends with moon-themed karaoke. Enjoy Apollo cocktails, astronaut training, live music, and a comedy show, a simulated mission to the moon. Commemorate your experience with an airbrushed moon tattoo.
Apollo 11 50th Anniversary
Saturday July 20, 10 am - midnight Exploratorium, San Francisco
Free for Daytime members and After Dark members; $29.95 adults; $24.95 seniors, students, youth; $19.95 children
Watch restored footage of the 1969 landing and marvel at a 16-foot sculpture of the moon! In the evening, enjoy food, retro cocktails, music and a dance party.
Visit the 8th annual Novato Space Festival to meet astronauts and other aerospace VIPs, as well as Star Wars characters and non-space friends like Snoopy. The diverse collection of 30 exhibits includes a real moon rock, large-scale replicas of the Apollo Lunar Lander and Apollo Command Module, and a genuine Apollo spacesuit.