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Adler Planetarium celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11

-Plus a City-Wide Street Art Project and a Commemorative Beer in Partnership with Solemn Oath Brewery-

In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced the seemingly impossible goal of putting a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. Nobody knew quite how it would get done, yet eight years later, that dream was realized. Apollo 11 was the culmination of an enormous human effort and a monumental undertaking. It took the imagination, ingenuity, collaboration, and determination of hundreds of thousands.

The Adler Planetarium is celebrating this momentous accomplishment that changed the course of human history with three days of events and special programming. Events are ticketed separately. For more information about individual events and tickets, visit:

Thursday, July 18,

6:30-10:30 p.m

Adler After Dark: Moonshot (21+ only)

Travel back to 1969 and celebrate the Apollo 11 Moon landing! Wear your favorite 60’s-style attire, enjoy period-themed cocktails and music, and discover the untold stories behind the mission, as well as some of the 400,000 people whose hard work and dedication made Apollo 11 possible.

In addition to the usual line-up of Adler After Dark exclusives, check out a new podcast—”Moonrise”—by our friends at The Washington Post. They’ll be giving guests an exclusive advance listen in the Grainger Sky Theater, set to accompanying visuals on the dome for a unique immersive experience. “Moonrise” tells the real original story behind America’s decision to go to the Moon, weaving together the dream of space travel, the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, the transformation of American society and politics, and even the birth of science fiction, to uncover a story that has so much to reveal about our country—and about being human. After the show, join a conversation with host Lillian Cunningham and a panel of space experts exploring the history and future of space travel.

Friday, July 19- Saturday, July 20, 9:00 a.m- 6:00 p.m (regular museum hours)

Moon Bash (All ages) *included with Museum Entry pass

Channel your inner explorer and help us imagine the next “Moonshot” and how the spirit of Apollo 11 can inspire and challenge us to achieve the impossible. Moon Bash includes hands-on programs, special talks and performances, one-day-only theater shows, and fun for the whole family! For more information and a programming schedule, visit:

Friday, July 19, 7:00 p.m

Why go to the Moon? A conversation on the Past and Future of Lunar Exploration

The advancement of space science, the allure of profiting on lunar resources, and ideas for a permanent human presence on the Moon are raising attention. They also generate controversy and pose challenging questions. Why go to the Moon? Should we go back? Who benefits and who pays for going to the Moon? Join us for a conversation with space historian Roger Launius and historian of colonialism Margaret Huettl and share your questions and thoughts on the past and future of lunar exploration.

Saturday, July 20, 8:30-9:30 a.m

Fly Me to the Moon Yoga

Celebrate this special occasion with a special practice. Much like our monthly Sun Salutations Yoga, this slow Vinyasa Flow class under mesmerizing images in the  Grainger Sky Theater will transport you through time and space to our planet’s nearest neighbor. Expect Moon salutations, half-Moon poses, crescent Moon shapes and an opportunity to contemplate the role of the Moon in our history and in our future.

Saturday, July 20, 2:30 p.m

To the Moon and Beyond: A Conversation with Jim Lovell & Beth Moses

Join us for a special moderated conversation on why the Moon still matters with Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 astronaut, and Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor and commercial astronaut with Virgin Galactic. This 60-minute ticketed experience includes a 45-minute conversation with Captain Lovell and Mrs. Moses, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.

Through July 20

Chicago Moonshot Murals

The Adler is partnering with local street artists across the city of Chicago on a series of public art experiences—“Chicago Moonshot Murals”—to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. These experiences invite community members to their local library to color a 5’x4’ line art canvas that has been created by artists including Keith “Afrokilla” Smith and Matthew Mederer. The canvases bring to life each neighborhood’s “Moonshot”—something that is thought to be impossible (like landing on the Moon was 50 years ago) but, with teamwork and determination, can be realized.

Community coloring sessions will be held at select libraries around the city in the weeks leading up to the Apollo 11 anniversary and will last approximately 90 minutes-2 hours at each location. The Chicago Moonshot Murals project will conclude at the Adler Planetarium’s Moon Bash event on July 20, celebrating the anniversary of the day man first walked on the Moon. Artists include Shawn Smith (@shawnimals), Sam Kirk (@iamsamkirk) and STUK One ( Guests at the event can meet the artists and contribute to the Adler community’s “Moonshots” and see the other Chicago Moonshot Murals on display.

The Chicago Moonshot Mural team will be onsite at the following locations from now through July 20:

  • West Englewood Public Library – 2 p.m. on 7/10
  • West Lawn Public Library – 6 p.m. on 7/10
  • Chinatown Public Library – 3 p.m. on 7/11
  • Adler Planetarium – 10 a.m. 7/20

Mid June-Mid July (limited quantities available)

Project Apollo beer launch

The Adler is partnering with Solemn Oath Brewery, Binny’s, Omega Yeast, Country Malt Group and Hopsteiner  to produce a special commemorative beer, Project Apollo. It will be sold at both the brewery and the Adler, as well as Binny’s stores throughout Chicagoland beginning mid-July.  A portion of sales goes to support the Adler’s STEM programming.

July TBD

“Voices of Apollo” Google Arts & Culture Exhibition

On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy promised, “We choose to go to the Moon.” Fifty years later, we celebrate the bold, collective efforts of Apollo 11 and the lasting impact it has had on billions of people throughout the world. The Adler Planetarium collected stories from across the country and compiled them into a digital Google Arts and Culture exhibition that allows these amazing people to tell their own stories. From the collaborative nature of the Apollo program, to memories of the historic event, to continual inspiration for future generations, we celebrate Apollo with those who lived it.

About the Adler Planetarium:

The Adler Planetarium connects people to the Universe and each other. Whether it is introducing a guest to the Ring Nebula, a neighborhood school to a community partner, a research team to a network of citizen scientists, or one staff member to another, the Adler’s focus on meaningful connections dates back nearly a century.

Today, the museum hosts more than half a million visitors each year and reaches millions more through youth STEM programs, neighborhood skywatching events, online citizen science, and other outreach projects. With the Adler’s support, people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities gain the confidence to explore their Universe together and return to their communities ready to think critically and creatively about any challenge that comes their way.

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