How to celebrate the moon landing's 50th anniversary in SA

2019-07-16 12:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Americans might be able to boast about being the first country to put a man on the moon, but the pivotal moment in human history doesn't just belong to them.

The world collectively held their breath on 20 July, 1969, when Neil Armstrong took his first steps on our lunar neighbour, heralding a new age of space exploration for Earth.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Gaze at the skies with these astronomy events for 2019

Fifty years later, have we progressed any further? While space took a bit of a backseat since then, today the new big space race is centred around Mars, this time with big private corporations throwing their hat into the race. Virgin, SpaceX, Blue Origin and Boeing have all developed faster and better spaceships to further humanity's journey to the stars, and perhaps find proof that we are not so alone in the universe. 

But to move forward, we have to remember how we got there.

How can you join in on the celebrations in South Africa?

WATCH: South Americans marvel at total solar eclipse 

Iziko Planetarium, Cape Town

For the most intense close-up experience with space, visit Africa's most advanced planetarium and digital dome for one of their spectacular out-of-this-world shows. You can opt to see The Secretes of Gravity, Mayan Archaeoastronomy or Dark Universe, all playing on the anniversary.

READ: Moon-walking mini-breaks, 3D-printed room service and hyper-personalised spaces: Welcome to the Hotel of 2119 

Watch one of the many moon landing documentaries on National Geographic

If you're more interested in exploring the universe from your couch, switch to channel 181 on DSTV to check out National Geographic's Space Month programming, including feature documentary Apollo: Missions to the Moon.

South African Large Telescope (SALT), Sutherland

Head to the most famous stargazing spot in the country and take a tour of SALT - the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. Bookings for tours can be made through the South African Astronomical Observatory website. 

WATCH: The photos that made Moon landings possible 

Cape Town Science Centre

Be inspired through science with an educational visit to the Cape Town Science Centre where you can also feel what it's like in zero-gravity with their human gyroscope. They also have an inflatable planetarium that can be rented if you feel like throwing a private party. 

Cradle of Humankind, Maropeng

The moon landing was a major leap for the progress of humankind, but why not take a step back to see how far we've come with a visit to the Cradle of Humankind. There are also stargazing opportunities on offer at the Maropeng Visitor's Centre. 

CHECK OUT: From 20 to 20 billion years: Celebrate the story of our origins with the Cradle of Humankind’s upcoming anniversary 

The South African Airways Museum, Johannesburg

We couldn't have gotten to the moon if it wasn't for our long history of aviation that built the foundation for space flight. Take a trip through history at the Rand Airport and the exhibit includes the Lebombo that flew over Ellis Park at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, a Lockheed Lodestar and a rare Boeing 747SP. 

Play mini-golf in outer space, Milnerton

If you're looking for something a little more Sci-Fi, why not play a round of mini-golf at the Glowing Rooms? You get 3D-glasses to bring the space theme to life and dress up in lumo colours for more fun. 

Karoo National Park

Another stargazing mission can be made to the Karoo National Park - it's open plains might just make you feel like you're on a different planet altogether. 

CHECK OUT: Great Karoo road tripping: Farm stays to make you want to linger longer 

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