Make plans now to celebrate the 50th lunar landing anniversary

COLUMBUS — To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ohioan Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, Ohio is celebrating its groundbreaking history in space and aviation with special space-inspired celebrations. This summer, attractions, restaurants, breweries, dark sky parks and more will honor the historic lunar landing and showcase Ohioans’ crucial roles in flight and space exploration.

As the birthplace of aviation, the first American to orbit the Earth and first man on the moon, Ohio’s role in space and aviation is unique. In 2019, the state is celebrating one of the country’s greatest achievements, the lunar landing of Apollo 11. TourismOhio has launched a “To the Moon and Back” webpage as a one-stop guide for planning an Ohio air and space road trip that features events, exhibits, museums and lunar-themed food and drinks across the state.

“Come to Ohio this year to experience our state’s long history of flight at the homes, museums, exhibits and special events honoring John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and more,” said Matt MacLaren, director of TourismOhio. “The ‘To the Moon and Back’ webpage showcases distinctive Ohio attractions and events where visitors can learn more about the Ohioans who bravely soared into space.”

Even LEGO has gotten in on the action

The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon will be celebrated next month. And, for the kid in everyone, LEGO has released a replica of the Apollo 11 Eagle Lunar Lander. It is part of LEGO’s Creator Expert collection.

On June 20, 1969, the Eagle, carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. This LEGO replica is a tribute to those two, as well as astronaut Michael Collins and everyone at NASA. The copy for the lander reads: “Celebrate space exploration with this highly detailed display model.”

This is not really a toy for kids. It’s more of a collector’s itemspace enthusiasts can use to decorate their den or office. The set features a descent and an ascent module that can separate from each other, two astronauts, a lunar surface, and of course an American flag. The descent module has two opening bays, and a MESA (Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly) lowering platform containing a LEGO TV camera that was used to televise Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon.

Back in Ohio, the Ohio Tourism webpage highlights Ohio attractions where visitors can see one-of-a-kind space and aviation artifacts in addition to special exhibits this year. Museums including the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, NASA Glenn Visitor Center at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, COSI in Columbus, Cincinnati Museum Center and more are featuring space-related exhibits, movies and special events this year. Explore the stars in dark sky and Ohio State Parks, build a rocket, see Apollo 11 artifacts and moon rocks and don’t miss the lunar-inspired food and drinks on the Moon Menu Trail.

The webpage has six sections:

Road Trip Itinerary – Discover museums, exhibits, dark-sky parks, science centers and more all showcasing aviation and space flight across Ohio. Some even feature special exhibits from NASA.

Lunar Landing Events – Celebrate the Apollo 11 lunar landing with festivities all-around Ohio! Join in Wapakoneta’s 50th Anniversary Parade, build a model rocket at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, hear first-hand accounts from an astronaut at the Ohio History Connection and more.

Outdoors and Beyond – Enjoy the wonder of the universe at these top spots for astronomy and stargazing around the state. From dark-sky parks to planetariums, you’re sure to experience out-of-this-world sights.

Lunar Inspired Eats – The restaurants in Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta have created a Moon Menu Trail with dishes from CinnaMoon pancakes to Houston – We Have a Pot Roast. Ice cream shops and microbreweries are on board too with flavors including Velvet’s Blue Moon and Young’s Jersey Dairy’s Moon Rocks or Land Grant’s Tranquility Base, a black IPA inspired by the depths of space.

Air & Space Experiences – Tour aircraft from the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer to rockets, Gemini and Apollo space capsules, a Space Shuttle trainer and more up-close and personal at Ohio’s best space and aviation museums. There’s something for every explorer to enjoy – from stepping inside a real space suit and viewing one-of-a-kind artifacts to taking a ride in a historic plane.

Meet Ohio’s Astronauts – From the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, and the first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn, to Sunita Williams, who has spent 322 days in space and is training for another mission aboard the International Space Station – read up on the fascinating stories of some of Ohio’s most well-known astronauts and their contributions to space exploration.

TourismOhio, operating within the state of Ohio’s Development Services Agency, works to ensure Ohio is positioned as a destination of choice, enriching lives through authentic travel experiences. The branding Ohio. Find It Here. supports Ohio’s $46 billion tourism industry. For more, visit

Photo courtesy LEGO LEGO has released its 50th anniversary Lunar Lander kit. It is available online and elsewhere. courtesy LEGO LEGO has released its 50th anniversary Lunar Lander kit. It is available online and elsewhere.


Staff report