A smalltown boy from Wapakoneta, Ohio made it all the way to the moon. Now the museum that bears his name draws visitors from all over the world. However, the museum chronicles more than just the life of Neil Armstrong. Here’s what it is like to visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum.
Neil Armstrong fought in the Korean War and was named the first civilian astronaut in 1962. He began working for NASA at a time when more astronauts were lost on earth than in space. New technologies were tested and they were not always successful. It took NASA 6 years to construct the Saturn rocket that would take the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 departed earth. Neil Amstrong stepped out of the rocket after his lunar landing and coined the famous phrase, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The opening exhibits pay more than just homage to Neil Armstrong. While Armstrong’s childhood in Wapakoneta is examined, visitors spend time learning about the beginnings of our National Space Program. The life of Ohio native, John Glenn, is also discussed. There’s even an exhibit showing how early astronauts used the bathroom while in space!
After learning about the early days of NASA, visitors enter the centerpiece of the museum- the dome- and watch a 30-minute video documentary on what it took for NASA (and Neil Armstrong) to make it to the moon. This is definitely NOT a snoozefest! Our family left the movie inspired by the logistics that made the moon landing possible!
Following the video, try one of three simulators. Attempt to land a lunar module, try working in zero-gravity, or docking the Gemini capsule. Our family’s favorite was the zero-gravity simulator. My husband came home wondering how we could build one for our own home. Ha!
Tips for families:
Our children were 8, 6, and 4 at the time of our visit and we found this to be an easy museum to visit with kids. Things that aren’t meant to be touched are behind glass. Interactive displays are sprinkled throughout the museum to keep young ones paying attention. Our youngest, age 4, even found things that kept her engaged.
Before visiting, I’d talk to kids about space and get them excited about learning more. The video documentary does share about the death of 3 astronauts prior to the Apollo 11 mission. Extra sensitive might find this to be anxiety- producing.
There is a ramp in and out of the theatre so you could use a stroller.
Things to do in Wapakoneta, Ohio
Looking for more things to do near the museum? Check out my post on visiting Mercer & Auglaize Counties HERE.
Are you planning to visit the Armstrong Air & Space Museum?
**Our visit was sponsored by the Greater Grand Lake Visitors Bureau. All opinions are my own. **