Apollo 11 50th Anniversary

Saturday, July 20, 2019 • 10:00 a.m.–midnight

Free for Daytime members and After Dark members.
Bring your Exploratorium membership card for entry.

Come early, stay late, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with us. For one day only, the Exploratorium will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight—it’s a soiree for Earth’s own natural satellite. Experience the thrill of NASA’s newly restored footage of the 1969 landing, bask in the glow of a detailed 16-foot spherical sculpture of the moon, and make a place for yourself in the lunar legacy of that giant leap for humankind.

To celebrate this special occasion, Seismic Joint Cafe, our Gallery 2 coffee kiosk, and Seaglass Restaurant and bar will be open extended hours, listed below. Additionally, bars serving a variety of beverages will be open throughout the museum during the evening. 

Seismic Joint Cafe: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Coffee Kiosk (Gallery 2): 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Seaglass Restaurant and Bar: 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.


Timed Programming

Storytime Science 
11:00 a.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

Let your little ones celebrate Moon Month with Storytime Science! Every Saturday and Sunday in July, at 11:00 a.m., bring your little ones to hear a moon-themed story book read aloud. Then make a simple rainbow "moon gazer" to take home. This program will last about an hour, and is especially appropriate for preschool- and kindergarten-aged visitors.

Moon in Motion: Celestial Short Films
With Cinema Arts

Noon and 9:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

See the moon up close, animated, and reimagined through the eyes of storytellers in this short film program designed to delight viewers of all ages. Featuring heartwarming stories of an ambitious young astronaut, imaginative lunar myths, and gorgeous footage of the moon, the films are sure to inspire you to look up and spend time with the stars.

A Moon Story from the Land of the Rising Sun
With Ken Finn

1:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

Japanese folklore gives us one the earliest folktales in history to feature science fiction elements, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Four hundred years ago, travel to the moon was indeed the realm of imagination—but fifty years ago this month, this ceased to be the case. Come for a retelling of this ancient story; stay for a tasty moon snack. Once you know this story, you’ll never look at the moon the same way again.

Egg Drop Lander
With Explorables

1:00–4:00 and 6:00–9:00 p.m.  |  Gallery 2

When it takes months to reach your destination and millions of dollars to build a rover, you want to make sure it lands safely. Can you do the same on a smaller scale? Take the Explorables team challenge and build your own capsule to protect a “rover” (raw egg) from a second-story drop. First-come, first-served, while supplies last.

Paper Rockets
With Explorables

1:00–4:00 and 6:00–9:00 p.m.  |  Gallery 2

Rocket design is as simple as…rocket science! See how high your rocket can launch with the help of a plastic tube, a water bottle, and an enthusiastic stomp.

Apollo 11 Documentary Screening 
With Cinema Arts

1:00 and 7:30 p.m.  |  Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Apollo 11 by Todd Douglas Miller (2019, 93 min.) 

Get an up-close and astounding look at the launch and landing of the Apollo 11 mission. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes you straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put humans on the moon and made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, you can vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.

With Ron Hipschman 

2:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

Time and tide wait for no one—but why not, and what keeps them coming and going? Join host Ron Hipschman for the ins and outs of tides: king tides, high tides and low tides, what tides have to do with the Sun and moon, and what they can tell us about the future and our rising seas.

The Science of Bottle-Flipping
With the Stanford Student Space Initiative 

2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m.  |  Gallery 2

Have you ever wondered how engineers make sure rockets and airplanes don’t flip over and tumble out of control in the wind? In this 45-minute activity for all ages, learn the basic principles of aerodynamic stability and use them—and a bit of duct tape—to compete in a high-altitude bottle-flipping tournament.

Our Mother Moon: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Earth’s Natural Satellite
With Isabel Hawkins

3:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

From an early age, the beauty and mystery of the night sky inspired Dr. Isabel Hawkins to become a professional astronomer. Working with indigenous colleagues in Latin America and Polynesia, she has been researching astronomical and cultural knowledge of the Moon in the context of themes including midwifery and fertility, eclipses, natural pigments, medicinal plants, and native foods. Join her in an exploration of our familiar natural satellite as seen from a variety of cultural perspectives.

Gallery Walk: Our Moon
With Exploratorium Educator Ernest Aguayo

3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00 p.m.  |  Meet at Museum of the Moon

Explore Earth’s in-law unit—that would be the moon—on this guided tour of Exploratorium exhibits featuring lunar science. Ask all your questions and play your way to an understanding of humankind's journey to the moon and about some of its famous features and effects, such as craters, phases, tides on Earth, and more.

Phases of the Moon
With Ron Hipschman 

4:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

From the brilliant sliver of the new moon to the heavy glow of the full, our view of the moon is constantly changing, but in consistent ways. But did you know that you’ll never see a crescent moon at midnight, or why the full moon always rises around sunset? Get a grip on the phases of the moon with Exploratorium host and raconteur Ron Hipschman.

Moonstruck Photobooth
With Snap Fiesta

5:00–9:00 p.m.  |  Gallery 2 

Never forget the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11—have your photo taken in front of a lunar- or space-inspired background, complete with props, then take home a print or have it delivered digitally.

The Eagle Has Landed
With the Lindsay Wildlife Experience

5:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

With the words “the Eagle has landed,” Neil Armstrong announced the safe arrival of the first lunar lander and the first people on the moon. You may not be able to go to the moon yourself—yet—but you can come face to face with an actual bald eagle, the national bird of the United States. Learn more about these fierce, social birds with the Lindsay Wildlife Experience and their animal ambassadors.

Lunar Eclipses: Why They Happen and What to Expect
With Ron Hipschman

6:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

Every lunar eclipse happens during a full moon, but not every full moon involves a lunar eclipse. Yet many more people have witnessed lunar eclipses than solar eclipses. Find out what causes lunar eclipses, what kind of schedule they’re on, and what to expect when you do see one.

The Trip to the Moon
Accompanied by Scienceband
6:30 p.m.  |  Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Launch your imagination with the seminal science fiction film Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902, 15 min.) accompanied by the fact-based Bay Area supergroup Scienceband. Created by Georges Méliès in the early years of cinema, The Trip to the Moon is a fantasy of rocket exploration and extraterrestrial discovery. Keeping this cinematic treasure fresh, Scienceband will perform a full set of contemporary grooves and science facts alongside the celluloid.

Firing a Laser at the Moon:
Perspectives from a NASA Solar System Ambassador
With Hildreth (Hal) Walker, Jr.

7:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

In 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission, Hildreth (Hal) Walker, Jr. and his team used a ruby laser to measure the distance from Earth to the moon. They trained a laser beam from Lick Observatory in California all the way to a reflector mirror, just 18 inches wide, set up on the moon’s surface by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin—and recorded the most accurate measurement of the distance ever, exact to within five meters. Find out firsthand what it takes to aim your laser at a tiny mirror on the moon and actually hit it, and other adventures in laser research. 

Moon Tour 
With Brian H. Day

8:00 p.m.  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

Relive the memories of 50 years of lunar research with NASA scientist Brian H. Day—take a look back at each of the Apollo landing sites, examine why NASA chose each one, and reflect on what they learned at each site. Then look forward, previewing some of the proposed landing sites for future missions to the Moon and what makes each a good choice.

Dancing in the Moonlight
With DJ Celeste Lear

9:00 p.m.–midnight  |  Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6 

It’s just a fine and natural sight—everybody’s dancing in the moonlight! Join the party and move your body to the spacey sounds of DJ Celeste Lear.

Unistellar Scope
10:00 p.m.–midnight  |  Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6 Terrace

See space more clearly than you ever thought possible with a portable telescope, know exactly what you’re looking at, and share your findings with the whole community of scientists. The eVscope uses enhanced vision technology and automated field detection to offer a self-orienting interface and a detailed view of objects in space, plus connectivity with other users—both professionals and citizen scientists. Take the eVscope for a test drive on our Observatory Terrace. 

Gazing Into Space
With Adam Esposito

10:00 p.m.–midnight  |  Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6 Terrace

See beyond the (probable) fog and into the final frontier with the optical help of a telescope and the know-how of Exploratorium staff astronomer Adam Esposito. 

How Much Do You Weigh on the Moon?
With Maz Kattuah

10:00 p.m.–midnight  |  Bechtel Gallery 3

Despite what the scale says, your weight on Earth isn’t absolute. Because weight depends on gravity, and gravity depends on the mass of the object—planet, moon, or something else—you’re standing on, you might weigh a very different amount on our moon. Step up and find out how different at this interactive activity.

Ongoing Programming

Museum of the Moon
by Luke Jerram
Ongoing  |  Bechtel Gallery 3

Wonder at the majesty of the moon brought down to Earth: suspended in our own Bechtel Gallery 3, Museum of the Moon is a 16-foot photorealistic sculpture of the moon featuring high-resolution NASA imagery that shows every cliff and crater. Created by UK artist Luke Jerram, Museum of the Moon encourages surprising, intimate connections with the astronomical world and with fellow visitors.

Space Oddities
Ongoing  |  Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio

You can’t see much in space without the help of a telescope, but you can see these moon-inspired treasures with your very own eyes—including three lunar landers (including one made entirely of toothpicks!), a Lego Saturn V, and a tiny piece of moon rock.