“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” may be one of the most famous quotes of all time, and though Neil Armstrong later insisted he was speaking more personally — he said for “a man” — there is no denying that his historic walk on the moon made for excitement shared by everyone, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Eight years after President Kennedy spoke of space travel and a potential moon walk, NASA fulfilled the mission on July 20, 1969, with more than half a billion people watching and listening live around the world. The 50th anniversary of this unforgettable event is definitely something to celebrate. Here’s how to do it in L.A. this weekend.
A custom built “Lunar Dome” touted as the world’s largest traveling performance tent, has sprouted at the Rosebowl, and it serves as homebase for APOLLO 11: The Immersive Live Show, a massive interactive/intergalactic theater presentation about man’s most epic landing. In the show, a grandfather (Ben, a retired NASA aerospace engineer) recalls the stellar story of space travel and lunar landing to his granddaughter Sydney, as a full cast of actors, enhanced by projections inside the 40,000-square-foot venue (reportedly costing about $5 million to create, by the way), bring it all to life. Melding fictional elements with true historical events the show is a fantastical and factual journey to the Moon and back that audiences are sure to remember for many moons to come. Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena. Tue.-Sun., through Sept. 1. $45-$215. (833) 527-6556, apollo11show.com.
An Apollo 11 Celebration is an all-day celebration featuring hands-on activities and screenings of Miller’s Apollo 11 in IMAX. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will be on hand offering a custom portable planetarium, and a team from USC will present an AI-powered system featuring an Apollo 15 astronaut. Interactive video and simulated amusements both educational and entertaining round out the planetary play. California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park. Sat., July 20. Full schedule at californiasciencecenter.org/imax/apollo-11-first-steps-edition.
The Paley Center screens the first hour of the moon walk, along with several documentaries (Epic Journey of Apollo 11: Moonwalk, From the Earth to the Moon: Mare Tranquilitatis, ABC News Special: Infinite Horizons: Space Beyond Apollo The Day They Landed: July 20, 1969) to spotlight “the enduring legacy of man’s first visit to the moon.” Screenings are free and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance ticketing. The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. Sat. & Sun., July 20 & 21. Full schedule at paleycenter.org/2019-moon-landing-50th-anniversary.