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Parks, Recreation & Community Services

Posted on: July 17, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Loudoun Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Lunar Landing

Planetarium at Franklin Park Arts Center

The Franklin Park Performing and Visual Arts Center in Purcellville will mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing with an exhibition, two theater programs and planetarium events. At 4:18 p.m. EDT July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module touched down on the moon at Tranquility Base, with Neil Armstrong reporting, "The Eagle has landed." At 10:56 p.m., Armstrong, descending from Eagle's ladder and touching a foot to the moon's surface, announced, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The Arts Center will host an art exhibition, “Feathers & Kites: A Celebration of Flight,” with the opening reception Sunday, July 21, 2019, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Featuring original artwork from local artists, the exhibit is co-sponsored by Friends of Franklin Park Arts Center. Cash prizes will be awarded in three categories, with entries including artwork depicting birds of flight, flying machines, kites and other flying things, as well as 3D works that can be “flown” in the gallery. 

On Monday, July 29, there will be two theater shows presented by Bright Star Touring Theater, a national professional touring company from Asheville, North Carolina. The first show, Jack’s Adventure in Spaceis the fast-paced tale a young student who, almost accidentally, journeys through the solar system. Along the way, he meets the planets and learns interesting facts about each one. This show debuted in spring 2019 and is best appreciated by prekindergarten through sixth grade audiences. Showtime is 11 a.m. Admission is $8.

At 1:15 p.m. July 29, children can enjoy One Small Step… The Real Life Journey to Outer SpaceThis tale marks the history of flight and space travel from the ancient tale of Icarus, to the first flights of the Wright Brothers on the beaches at Kitty Hawk, to the Great Space Race of the 1960s and beyond! Young pilots and astronauts, prekindergarten through fifth grade, will be thrilled to learn about the real life characters that took One Small Step! Admission is $8.

On Thursday, Aug. 1, the public is invited to explore the galaxy at the center’s “Discover the Planetarium” event. Audience members can step inside a Digitalis Delta 4 inflatable planetarium and experience the wonder of space, launch to the moon and learn to identify constellations. Star shows last 30-40 minutes and are appropriate for ages four and older. Planetarium shows are held on the theater stage, with mostly floor seating. Registrations must be made each showtime by calling 540-338-7973. Admission is $8.

The Arts Center purchased the portable planetarium in 2018 thanks to a generous grant from the Dan and Arlene McGinnis Foundation. Nearly 700 people attended star shows in the first year, and the Arts Center is offering its first Planetarium Camp the last week of July.

The Franklin Park Arts Center, owned and operated by the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, is located at 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, Virginia  20132. For more information, call 540-338-7973 or visit


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