8 ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in Birmingham

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An iconic moment for the United States and for the world. Photo via the Project Apollo Archive (public domain image)

Happy Apollo Week, Birmingham! If you’re looking to celebrate that “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” we’ve got 8 ways to do it! Keep reading to find out.

One Giant Leap for Mankind

Photo via the Project Apollo Archive (public domain image)

This week is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. For those of you who (like me), may need a little history refresher, I’ve got you covered. On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from Cape Kennedy. Those infamous words above were uttered by Neil Armstrong on July 20, when he became the first human being to step foot on the moon. On July 24, the Apollo 11 crew returned home to earth safe and sound.

On the 50th anniversary of this historic mission, Birmingham is celebrating! Whether you fancy a rewatching of the original footage or a moon-themed drink, rest assured there’s something for you.

1. Blue Moon Bar Crawl in Lakeview

Cheers to 50 years! Photo via Blue Moon Brewing Co. on Facebook

Co-hosted by Birmingham Mountain Radio and Blue Moon Brewing Company, this event will include a procession to six different bars and/or restaurants in Lakeview. Plus, they’ll be giving away concert tickets and other great swag all along the way.

  • Saturday, July 20
  • 7-11pm
  • 29th St S, Birmingham, Alabama 35233
  • FREE Admission

2. Retro Moon Landing Party

All ages are welcome to this celebration at the Pinson Public Library! Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Landing with a retro party filled with snacks, games, & more. They’ll be watching original footage of the Moon Landing from 1969.

  • Saturday, July 20
  • 2-4pm
  • 4509 Pinson Boulevard, Pinson, Alabama 35126

3. Visit the Moon Tree

Bham Nower Jon Eastwood finding some shade under the Moon Tree! Photo by Jon Eastwood (via camera timer and tripod, he claims) for Bham Now

Did you know that our beloved Birmingham Botanical Gardens is home to a tree grown from a seed that orbited the Moon in 1971? Well, now you do! It’s a pretty neat story- you can read all about it here.

  • Open daily from dawn to dusk
  • 2612 Lane Park Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223
  • FREE Admission

4. McWane for the Kiddos

Have a blast this week at McWane! Photo via McWane Science Center

Bottle rocket launches, moon lander design challenges, science on a sphere, oh my! McWane Science Center has no shortage of activities for space lovers this week.

5. McWane for the Grown-Ups

McWane After Dark hosts an exclusive 21+ after hours event. Join them as they relive the historic landing on its Golden Anniversary with astronaut challenges, music, snacks, and local brews that are out of this world. Find out all you need to know here.

  • Saturday, July 20
  • 7:30-10:30pm
  • 200 19th St N, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
  • $25 VIP Experience | $20 General Admission
  • Get your tickets here!

VIP tickets include entry into a special viewing of Apollo 11: First Steps in the IMAX Dome as well as access to the VIP Launchpad Bar.

6. Toast the Historic Trek at the Lumbar

The Lumbar is celebrating with a tap takeover of space-theme beer, happy hour specials, talks about our celestial home, all things moon-related (think Blue Moon, MoonPies, moonshine), and a few more surprises.

  • Begins Tuesday, July 16, 11:00 AM 
  • Ends Saturday, July 20, 12:00 AM
  • 212 29th Street South Birmingham, AL, 35233

7. Launch a Rocket in Vestavia

Ready for liftoff! Photo via Global Rocket Launch

Bring the whole family– and your rocket, of course. In addition to the rocket launch, you can find a moon bounce, food trucks, playground, splash pad, and more! Find more info here.

  • Tuesday, July 16
  • 6-8pm
  • 4851 Sicard Hollow Road, Birmingham AL 35242
  • FREE Event

8. Day Trip: Huntsville Offerings

Photo via Helen Vynne at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

If you’re looking for even more space-related fun, take a day trip up the road to our Huntsville neighbors! They’re having events all week, including a celebration car show, and Apollo Homecoming Dinner at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, a concert on moon landing day, and more! Check out all their info here.

Happy Apollo Week, Birmingham! Time to party like it’s 1969!

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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