Apollo 11 at 50 Celebration is Spectacular!

This week, NASA and the National Air and Space Museum celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a festival on the National mall.  The highlight of the festivities is the projection of a 363-foot Saturn V rocket onto the east face of the Washington Monument. This is accompanied by a special “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” show displayed on large screens throughout the grounds.

We mentioned this event in our weekly weekend events guide and our family checked it out last night.  The experience was spectacular, breathtaking and awe-inspiring!

Saturn V rocket
The Saturn V rocket taking off from the launchpad at Cape Canaveral

The Work of 400,000 Lifetimes

The 17-minute film combines digital artwork with archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11. Banks of  subwoofers (speakers) deployed along both sides of Mall put the roar of the mighty Saturn V rocket engines right inside your chest.  This really has to be experienced live!

It can be argued that the moon walk was one of the greatest achievements in human history.  A mere 66 years passed between the Wright Brothers’ successful flight at Kitty Hawk and Neil Armstrong’s heroic first steps on the moon.  The presentation pays tribute to the more than 400,000 men and women who paved the way for this accomplishment by working as engineers, technicians, scientists and more.

Soaring music, President John F. Kennedy’s uplifting admonishment and the once-in-a-lifetime visuals make this a must-see event! After this politically challenging week, it is a great reminder to all Americans that we can achieve greatness when we work together as one.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

– President Kennedy at Rice University

Details

Apollo 50: Go for the Moon show

Location: On the National Mall, in front of the Smithsonian Castle between 9th and 12th Streets

Showtimes: 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, and 11:30 pm on Saturday Night

Tips:

  • Travel by Metro is recommended, but limited street parking is available.  We drove and parked on 3rd Street NW and found a space without any issue.
  • Bring a blanket; lawn chairs block the view of guests behind you and is not so neighborly.
  • Bring snacks, there were only a few vendors open at that time.
  • The 9:30 show will be extremely crowded. The later shows will offer more personal space.
  • Arrive 20 – 30 minutes before the show you want to watch.
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