Everything you need to know about Space Center Houston's Apollo celebration

(Photo: Space Center Houston)

HOUSTON – Space Center Houston is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a special event Saturday night.

Apollo 11 50th Live, an all-day lunar celebration and countdown to Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon, will include late-night NASA Tram Tours, notable speakers, book signings, an outdoor festival with a concert, a family STEM zone, and more.

Six things to know

1. The first 15,000 guests will get a commemorative LED wristband that glows throughout the indoor experience, during the concert and the official first steps countdown at 9:56 p.m. 

2. An opening ceremony kicks off at 9:15 a.m. featuring notable and inspiring speakers from the Apollo era and today. The Golden Knights, the US Army official aerial parachute demonstration team, will parachute in during the ceremony.

3. An outdoor evening concert will start at 8 p.m. and will feature WALK THE MOON and Phillip Phillips. Here's more info about the artists.

4. There will be a live interactive countdown to Armstrong's first steps at 9:56 p.m. Space Center Houston says it will be very much like the ball drop on New Year's Eve in New York's Times Square.

5. There will be 45-minute panel presentations featuring Apollo-era flight controllers. Those sessions will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Topics will focus around lunar module development and operational issues, science operations and landing operations. 

6. There will be a host of book signings by renowned authors. "Dutch" von Ehrenfried will be signing copies of his book, "Apollo Mission Control; The Making of a National Historic Landmark." And Rick Houston will be signing copies of his book, "Go Flight! The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control."

Below is more information on parking, directions, the bag policy and permitted items (all info from spacecenter.org):

Parking & directions

General admission guests will park off-site at the Challenger Columbia Stadium. Highway signage will direct concertgoers to parking areas at Challenger Columbia Stadium located at 1955 W NASA Blvd, Webster, TX 77598. Shuttle service from Challenger Columbia Stadium parking lot will be provided beginning at 8:30 a.m. People with a disabled parking placard may park at the center on July 20. If you have accessibility questions or needs for July 20, please contact Space Center Houston accessibility and inclusion specialist Stephanie McMahon at +1 281-244-2147 or accessibility@spacecenter.org.

Shuttle buses will pick up guests from the Challenger Columbia Stadium and drop off guests at the main Apollo celebration entrance at Space Center Houston. Guests who need to visit the ticket booths to purchase or pick up tickets may do so. Guests who do not need ticket assistance should go directly through security and bag check. Guests must present their tickets or VIP credentials for scanning. 

Bag policy

For your safety and the safety of others, all bags must clear and must be screened by security officers prior to entering Space Center Houston. Oversized backpacks, large duffel bags and suitcases, cannot be brought into the facility. No bags or purses larger than 8.5? x 11? (the size of a standard size piece of paper) will be allowed into the center. Lockers are not available for rental. Medically necessary bags, including diaper bags, are only permitted when the medical contents will not fit into an 8.5? x 11? bag.

Permitted items

The following items are allowed onto the Space Center Houston festival premises on July 20. Please be prepared to have your belongings searched by Space Center Houston security.

Empty, reusable bottles and cups. Water fountains/bottle fillers are available inside Space Center Houston
Non-detachable lensed cameras
Personal food is allowed in the amount of one, one-gallon Ziploc bag per person.
Small blankets
Small umbrellas
Small outdoor fold-up chairs no bigger than 33? L x 20? W x 33.5?
Clear, NFL-approved bags are permitted

Prohibited items

The following items are NOT allowed:

Weapons of any kind
Inflatables (i.e. balloons, beach balls, basketballs, etc.)
Clothing or signs deemed obscene or indecent
Laser pointers
Large umbrellas (compact only)
Noisemakers (bells, whistles, vuvuzelas, etc.)
Seat cushions
Wrapped gifts
Folding chairs
Hover boards and other personal recreational devices
Pets (with exception of service animals)
Aerosol cans (hairspray, bug spray, sunscreen)
Glass of any kind, including perfume bottles
Play pens
Signs of any kind or size
Tents or sun shades
Large camera equipment such as telescoping poles (tripods, monopods, gimbals and selfie-sticks), lenses exceeding 8”, external lighting and audio equipment
Guests will be encouraged to take prohibited items back to their cars. Items left at the gates are not the responsibility of Space Center Houston.

Photo policy

Guests are welcome to bring small flash photography cameras. Large camera equipment such as telescoping poles (tripods, monopods, gimbals and selfie-sticks), lenses exceeding 8”, external lighting and audio equipment are not allowed at Space Center Houston. Photography is not allowed inside our theaters. Crew members will point out photo restrictions on the NASA tours.