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Franklin Institute Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing All Week Long

‘Summer of the Moon’ includes lunar activities all week, and a big celebration to cap it off!

Fifty years ago, NASA’s Apollo 11 changed history as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. This week, the Franklin Institute will be celebrating that milestone with a series of lunar events they’re calling Summer of the Moon! Events include IMAX footage of the 1969 landing, live science shows, observatory nights, and a daylong celebration on the anniversary itself! Here’s what they’ve got planned.

Free Community Night

July 15, 5—8 pm


The museum is offering free admission Monday night! Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing with moon-related activities and World’s Cheapest Spacesuit demonstrations. Plus, gain free admission to the rest of the museum’s permanent exhibits.

Night Skies in the Observatory

July 16 and 18, 7—10 pm


Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts leads attendees in this popular rooftop stargazing event. The event will also include Planetarium shows, live “walking” tours of the Apollo 11 landing site using integrated data visualization, screenings of the documentary The Apollo Chronicles, and a cash bar for the grownups! If your kids like to stay up late, stick around after the July 18 event for a one-hour all-ages 1960s dance party in the Planetarium from 10—11 pm! Sixties attire is encouraged!

Moon Landing Daily Programming

July 17—20


Stop by the museum this week for moon-related activities all day.


Discover the science of “slingshotting,” and how we got to the moon using gravity to boost the rocket’s speed, and then launch your own stomp rocket or Alka rocket! Can’t make it this week? The Franklin Institute sent along instructions for how you can do this a fun activity at home, and the science behind it! Enjoy!


You can also learn about spectroscopy—a tool scientists use to learn more about the moon, stars, and exoplanets. And in the “World’s Cheapest Spacesuit” live science show, you can explore how a full spacesuit helps astronauts live and work outside of the International Space Station by using a spacesuit built on a budget.


Also, screening this week is the special IMAX movie Apollo 11: First Steps, created from newly discovered 70mm footage of the 1969 lunar mission to tell the story of the historic event in an entirely new way. Learn more and buy tickets here.

Moon Landing: 50th Anniversary Day Celebration

July 20, 10 am—3 pm


The celebration ends in grand fashion with lunar lander tours, small-to large-scale rocket demonstrations—Alka rockets, straw rockets, and colorful trash can rocket explosions! And if you didn’t catch the IMAX screenings or live science shows throughout the week, you can do it at the party, too!



Lead photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

Contributing Writer