You can’t fly to the moon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the July 1969 Moon landing, but Ohio has created a very cool alternative: an aviation and space-themed road trip through the home state of the Wright Brothers and astronaut Neil Armstrong.
You can piece together your own path by consulting the “To the Moon and Back” website, which lists events, special exhibits, museums, historic sites, and places to pull over for lunar-themed food and drinks (like Space Food IPA, Blue Moon ice cream, or a Blastoff burger). Or, to make the task easier, the tourism experts in the Buckeye State are sharing a suggested road trip itinerary that covers 546 miles with great stops. (While the whole route can be covered in 11 hours, we suggest you don’t try to do it all in one day.)
The trip starts in southwest Ohio, with Dayton’s National Aviation Hall of Fame, National Aviation Heritage Area, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Then it’s north to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, to see a moon rock, two full-sized aircraft flown by Armstrong, authentic space suits, and more. If you can, time your trip to arrive during the Wapakoneta Summer Moon Festival, which runs July 12-21.
The next stops include the Ohio History Center, in the central part of the state, which documents the state’s role in aviation and space history; the John & Annie Glenn Home and Museum; the Great Lakes Science Center, which has a 'Living in Space' exhibit; and Observatory Park, in Montville, a “Dark Sky” park in northeast Ohio that is home to the Nassau Astronomical Station.
As a bonus, we’d suggest adding a stop in southeastern Ohio at the John Glenn Astronomy Park in Hocking Hills. On July 20, the park will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing from mid-afternoon to long past midnight with a minute-by-minute recounting of that day’s historic event.
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