Remembering Apollo 11, 50 Years Later

Who else is partying like it’s 1969?!? The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has me in a festive, mid-century mood!

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that our big Apollo 11 anniversary party was last Saturday, because I knew that the majority of our family wouldn’t be home today. So I started on my preparations extra early:

I found a lot of cool stuff, both around the house (it’s not like we’ve never studied space before!) and at the store. These Moon Landing Oreos were a huge hit!

I planned our party in several parts. I decided to really achieve the proper 1960s atmosphere, we should have a “cocktail hour.” I tried to come up with period appropriate appetizers, which wasn’t too hard. The menu included deviled eggs, cocktail meatballs in grape jelly, “California dip” (you know, the classic Lipton’s onion soup dip), shrimp cocktail, olives, cheese, and Chex mix (a relative of the especially appropriate nuts and bolts snack mix that I have only the vaguest memories of). For our “cocktail” I made Shirley Temples, complete with swizzle sticks!

We spent the day watching both documentaries and movies related to the Apollo program. We also built Lego’s new Lunar Lander, which was a really fun project, and looks great (if not to scale) with our Lego Saturn V rocket!

I tried to go with a 1960s dinner, as well, which was a little more challenging. After considering my options, I decided on Chicken Kiev for the main course. We also had mashed potatoes, cauliflower topped with Cheez Whiz and browned Ritz crackers (a holiday staple from my childhood!), and orange Jell-O (there had to be Jell-O, and since I was feeling nice, I didn’t even make a weird flavor with vegetables!). We also had the astronauts’ drink of champions (Tang) and Schlafly’s Lunar Lagers for the adults. The meal was a hit. Well, except for the cauliflower, which I’m pretty sure only I liked!

For dessert, we had cake (pineapple upside down, another mid-century classic) and (astronaut) ice cream.

If you know me, you know I even had the perfect outfit to wear, from my moon earrings to my space skirt, and even a cool brooch!

And a few treats for today, the actual anniversary, for those of us at home…Moon Pies (of course), and Moonsicle soda made by a local bottling company, Excel, to commemorate the anniversary of the moon landing:

I’m not sure I’ve had this much fun with a special theme since The Great American Eclipse…I wonder what event we’ll celebrate next?

Destination Moon

Did you know that the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is currently undergoing a renovation? That means that the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia is not currently on display in Washington D.C., but their (temporary) loss is St. Louis’ gain, because they put together a fantastic traveling exhibit, Destination Moon, which is visiting four cities before returning to be permanently installed in its new home in the Air and Space Museum in 2021.

St. Louis is the second city on the list to host Destination Moon. I don’t know how the other cities are setting it up, but I think St. Louis did a fantastic job. Before you even enter the exhibit, the stage is set with period appropriate local details:

The first room you see is a 1960s living room, complete with console TV, record player, and faux launch party food spread:

After seeing a brief film on St. Louis’ contribution to the Apollo program (more great local details!), there are so many amazing items to discover in the main display:

Of course, the real star of the show is the Command Module Columbia itself:

And there’s also a really cool hands-on area that allows you to sit in the driver’s seat, if you will, and communicate with both Columbia and mission control, as well as test your hand at a lunar landing and see what it’s like to be an astronaut trying to pick up moon rocks. Adults and children both love these opportunities, and they’re all very well designed!

This exhibit is only in St. Louis until September 3rd, but Pittsburgh and Seattle are up next on the four city tour, so if you’re local to either of those areas, you’re in for a real treat!

Chickadee Thursday

Today we went to the St. Louis Science Center to see the Destination Moon exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian. Chickadee loved all of the hands-on activities that let her feel like she was really part of the  Apollo 11 mission!