How to Celebrate the Moon Landing's 50th Anniversary - United Hub
Hemispheres

How to celebrate the moon landing’s 50th anniversary

By The Hub team , July 09, 2019

Story by Susan B. Barnes • Hemispheres July 2019

10 ways to commemorate Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind.

10. Walk like an astronaut

A picture of an astronaut

Long before liftoff, all of the astronauts who would walk on the surface of the Moon trained in the desert and forest around Flagstaff, Arizona, from 1963 to 1972. Join a three-hour guided hike through the Bonito Lava Flow in Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument to experience firsthand the places where the astronauts learned to drive the Lunar Roving Vehicle (or moon buggy) and to pick up tiny pebbles while wearing clumsy space-suit gloves.

9. Cheers to 50 years

A cocktail to celebrate 50 years

Sommelier and mixologist Sean Beck developed a trio of cocktails for three Houston restaurants to celebrate the milestone. “I'm a history buff and always enjoyed the study of space," he says, “so it was easy to find inspiration for such a monumental event." At Xochi, his Tranquility Base Margarita features a moon rock–inspired ice sphere made from crème de violette and Oaxacan poléo tea. The “moon" also appears in Backstreet Café's We Came in Peace for All Mankind (pictured), a riff on the classic Last Word cocktail that's named for the final sentence on the plaque placed on the moon. Finally, at Caracol, the Michael Collins Remembered is an ode to the third Apollo 11 member, who stayed on the command module during the moon walk. “Michael Collins was quite simply the loneliest man in the universe when he was on the far side of the moon, out of communication and view of our planet," Beck says. “He doesn't get nearly enough attention. When I think of him, I think of being crazy-brave, passionate, and so calm and in control." The spin on an old-fashioned captures Collins's passion through the use of Glenfiddich Fire & Cane Whisky and is served with an ice cube studded with toasted blue corn kernels, which hover in the drink like little moon rocks.

8. Party like it's 1969

The moon landing celebrations that took place 50 years ago

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, I am still in awe by the fact that I walked on the moon," Buzz Aldrin recently said. He and a slew of other astronauts—along with the retired Air Force One that carried the Apollo 11 crew on a post-mission world tour—will appear at the “black-tie/white-spacesuit" gala at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on July 13. In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum will hold its culminating celebration on July 20 at 10:56 p.m. (the exact time Armstrong's foot touched the moon). And Space Center Houston will cap its festivities with a '60s-themed Splashdown party on July 24 to honor the successful return of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, whose command module floated down to the Pacific Ocean with the help of three enormous parachutes.

7. Where to see moon memorabilia

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

Thanks in part to a Kickstarter campaign, Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit goes back on display on July 16, for the first time in 13 years.

The Museum of Flight, Seattle

The command module Columbia is the centerpiece of the exhibit Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission (through September 2), which features a 3-D tour of the module's interior made with high-resolution scans from the Smithsonian.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Merritt Island, Florida

The newly refreshed Apollo/Saturn V Center houses one of the three remaining Saturn V rockets, which propelled the Apollo 11 crew into space, and the Astrovan, which transported them to the launch pad.

6. Hop onto a spacecraft

Spaceport America in New Mexico

Although space tourism is still a thing of the future, more than 700 people have reportedly already signed up for a $250,000 commercial flight into orbit that will eventually blast off from the sleek Spaceport America, deep in the New Mexico desert. Until then, check out the Spaceport America Visitor Center, which is housed in a historic adobe building in nearby Truth or Consequences, to test your mettle in a G-force simulator—the perfect training for young space lovers who might be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mars landing in the not-too-distant future.

5. Houston, we have restoration

Scenes from the Apollo Mission Control Center

On June 28, Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center debuted a totally restored—down to the last scrap of wallpaper and carpet—Apollo Mission Control Center. The goal? If a scientist who worked there in the 1960s arrived today, he or she wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

“[The restoration] will not only help share our history with visitors from around the world," says Jim Thornton, the restoration project manager, “but also remind our current employees who are planning missions to send humans back to the moon and then further, to Mars, that anything is possible, and we are standing on the shoulders of giants."

The museum took every detail into account: After workers uncovered original wallpaper and carpeting, curators tracked down the manufacturers and had them replicate the 1960s look. They also hand-stamped the ceiling tiles with original patterns and ordered a period-appropriate coffee pot on eBay.

Old machinery from the Apollo Mission Control Center

“We're using modern methods to make things look old," says historic preservation officer Sandra Tetley. The original flip tops on the Visitors Viewing Room ashtrays, for instance, had vanished over the years—likely taken as souvenirs—so Tetley's team had new ones 3-D printed. Meanwhile, a team at Kansas's Cosmosphere is restoring the flight control consoles to the original Apollo configuration (they had been modernized for space shuttle launches). These updates have a purpose beyond aesthetics, says Space Center Houston president and CEO William T. Harris: “The accomplishments of the Apollo era inspired people and spurred innovators to chase impossible dreams. We hope experiencing the restored historic Mission Control will spark curiosity and fuel people of all ages to join the science, technology, engineering, and math pathway."

4. Kids in space

This summer, let your budding astronauts get in on the action. During Discover the Moon Day (July 19) at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in D.C., visitors can follow a route that's roughly the distance the Apollo 11 crew walked on the moon (about 3,300 feet), stopping at informational stations along the way. On July 20 at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, kids can sketch their own space-suit designs and make suit components from household materials. And Denver's Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum hosts an Apollo-palooza (July 13–20) with speakers such as NASA flight director Gene Kranz, who was played by Ed Harris in Apollo 13.

3. Shoot the moon

Photography of the moon

The moon has served as a muse since the earliest days of both art—the 15,000-year-old Lascaux cave paintings contain a lunar calendar—and photography. Two newly discovered 1840s daguerreotypes, believed to be the earliest existing photographic images of the moon, form the centerpiece of Apollo's Muse (through September 22) at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is also displaying cameras used by the Apollo crew. At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., By the Light of the Silvery Moon (through January 5, 2020) includes glass stereographs taken more than a century apart: some captured by British astronomer Warren De La Rue in the 1850s, others by Armstrong and Aldrin on the surface of the moon in 1969. Finally, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Shooting the Moon (through September 2) includes works by Ansel Adams, Garry Winogrand, and “remix artist" Cassandra C. Jones (pictured).

2. Lunch with an astronaut

An out-of-this-world experience—with an otherworldly price tag that starts at $10,000—awaits at The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston. The two-night Space Center Houston Package includes travel via helicopter to Ellington Field (a former NASA training center), a private tour of Johnson Space Center, and a private lunch with an astronaut. Afterward, return to earth with the hotel's Ritual of Five Worlds treatment.

1. ...We have liftoff

Huntsville, Alabama—aka Rocket City—is the home of the Saturn V rocket. To honor its place in history, the city's U.S. Space & Rocket Centeris launching a record 5,000 model rockets at the exact local time of liftoff, 8:32 a.m., on July 16. The organization has also tasked everyday space lovers with launching their own model, stomp, and makeshift rockets and posting photos with the hashtag #GlobalRocketLaunch.

A makeshift rocket with three men inside at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Marvelous sites to local hideaways: The expert’s guide to Toronto

By Nick Harper

Canada's largest city spreads out along the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, and it's a dynamic, multicultural and inclusive experience like almost no other place on earth. Not only is Toronto a thriving living city,it's also become one of the world's truly must-visit destinations. Regularly ranked as one of the greatest places to live, Toronto is the cultural center of the country and home to the biggest events, the most pro sports and the greatest concentration of theaters and restaurants.

Recent decades have seen regular multi-million-dollar upgrades to the city's public spaces, with a slew of great museums, iconic architecture and the redevelopment of the now glittering lakefront adding to the city's appeal.

Add in an ever-growing number of world-class hotels, upbeat nightlife that runs from dusk until dawn and a vibrant and diverse culinary scene influenced by the eclectic makeup of the city's people. Bright and bustling, cosmopolitan and cultured, unpredictable and energetic, Toronto has become one of the greatest cities on earth.

What you see and where you go will depend on the length of your stay. A week is good, longer is better. But even a long weekend will give you a taste of 'The Six' — one of the city's many nicknames, reworked recently as 'The 6ix' by one of its most famous sons, Drake.

However long you stay, you can't hope to see it all. So, consider what follows a starting point for your first visit…

City Hall, Toronto City Hall, Toronto

The checklist sites

No visit to The Six can be considered complete without ticking off several of Toronto's true heavyweight sights. All of the following are in or within easy reach of the city's compact, walk-able and very vibrant center.

The CN Tower is unmissable in every sense, a vast freestanding spire that looks down upon the city and takes its place as one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Modern World'. Head up for the city's best 360-degree views, or get your heart racing on the EdgeWalk — a journey around the circumference of the tower's main pod, 116 stories high and tethered by a harness.

Back on solid ground, Ripley's Aquarium is almost right next door to the CN Tower and is home to 16,000 aquatic animals and the Dangerous Lagoon. A moving sidewalk that whisks you through a long tunnel surrounded by sharks and stingrays is guaranteed to make your heart race all over again.

Ripleys Aquarium Ripleys Aquarium

Also close to the CN Tower is the Rogers Center, home to Canada's only baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Visit on game day for the full experience, or take the stadium tour to go behind the scenes and through closed doors.

In a city of so many museums and galleries, the Royal Ontario Museum stands out. Not just because it's home to a world-class collection of 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, but as much because it hosts exciting Friday night events that include dance, drink and top DJs.

Two other must ticks include the Art Gallery of Ontario, which houses 95,000 works of art and is free for visitors under 25, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, which taps into Canada's national obsession in stunning depth.

Art Gallery of Ontario Art Gallery of Ontario

Casa Loma is a must-visit Gothic castle in the heart of the city. North America's only castle is filled with artworks and treasures from Canada and beyond, but its big pull is the network of hidden tunnels to explore as they stretch out beneath the city.

Casa Loma Casa Loma

Toronto's multi-cultural makeup is visible all across the city but reflected best in its remarkable culinary scene (see Where to eat and drink). The city's 'fresh and local' mantra is perfectly showcased at St. Lawrence Market, one of the world's greatest food experiences. Pay it a visit and grab a peameal bacon sandwich — a Canadian staple invented in Toronto and now considered the city's signature dish.

St. Lawrence Market St. Lawrence Market

Afterwards, walk off the calories by wandering the historic cobblestone and car-free Distillery District. Once a vast whiskey distillery and an important spot during prohibition, historians mention that even Al Capone would visit the Distillery to load alcohol destined for the States[9] . This iconic landmark now distils creativity within the 19th century buildings now home to hip restaurants, bars, independent boutique stores, galleries and theaters. Visit in December for the Toronto Christmas Market.

Finally, don't even think about returning home without having had a picture taken with your head poking through an 'O' of the multicolored, 3D Toronto sign at City Hall — the most Insta-worthy location in a city of so many. You'll need to head there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

If you stay long enough, take a ferry and hop across to Toronto Islands, a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario just south of the mainland. They're home to beaches, a theme park and a breathtaking view of the city's skyline and will very happily fill a full day of your stay.

The bucket list

You absolutely cannot leave Toronto without having witnessed the power of the Niagara Falls and its hypnotic mist up close. Trying to visit the Falls from the States is a trip on its own, but it's almost non-optional when you're less than two hours away in Toronto. Take the trip, buy the T-shirt and tick off one of the world's must-see sights.

Explore like a local

Away from the sleek, gleaming towers of downtown lie many of Toronto's less obvious but no less essential attractions. West Queen West is Toronto's hippest neighborhood and artistic heart, a one-mile strip of very chic galleries, stores, restaurants and boutique hotels. Kensington Market is a fantastically chaotic neighborhood and perhaps the best example of the city's famous multiculturalism. It's not a market as the name implies, but a collection of independent shops, vintage boutiques, art spaces, cafés, bars and restaurants from every corner of the globe.

The Bata Shoe Museum is one of the city's quirkiest collections, an unexpectedly fascinating exhibit that retraces the 4,500-year history of footwear. And as you wander the city, you can't fail to notice that Toronto's walls are alive with graffiti. Take a free 90-minute walking tour through the back alleys of Queen Street West and down Graffiti Alley to gain a better understanding of the city's street art scene. If you visit during the sunnier months, escape the hustle by heading just east of the center to High Park, the green heart of the city where forests, walking trails, picnic spots and even a zoo await you. Ideal to unwind after a long day of urban adventures.

The essentials

When to go With the sun shining, May through October is a great time to visit, but the city is alive through all four seasons. The Spring and Autumn months are ideal as the humidity and visitor numbers are lighter, while Toronto comes alive through the colder months through a wide array of winter celebrations. One of the most spectacular is the Aurora Winter Festival, a six-week celebration that sees the Ontario Place, West Island transformed into four mystical worlds. Whichever season you choose, plan to stay for at least five nights to get a true flavor of the city.

Toronto skyline view Toronto skyline view

Where to stay To be at the heart of most of the attractions you'll want to see, aim for downtown. One of the best options is the Marriott City Center, not only because it's located right next to the CN Tower but also because it's attached to the iconic Rogers Center where the Toronto Blue Jays play and countless concerts and popular events are held.

Toronto Blue Jay stadium Toronto Blue Jay stadium

Opt for a Stadium room and you'll look out onto the field. If you want to experience Toronto's non-stop nightlife, the Entertainment District is the place to be. If you're looking for a luxury experience, discover Canada's first St. Regis hotel in the heart of downtown.

Where to eat and drink Nowhere is Toronto's incredible diversity more evident than in its food scene — taste Toronto and you're tasting the world. The city is brimming with restaurants and cafés serving everything from high-end fine dining to comfort food from an informal neighborhood joint — plus every option imaginable in between.

For fine dining, consider Alo, Canis and Edulis. Book a table at Canoe, Lavelle, The One Eighty or 360 at the CN Tower and you're guaranteeing a view as spectacular as the food. Or experience the city's remarkable fusion food at DaiLo (French-Cantonese), El Catrin (Mexican-French) and the unexpected mashup of Rasta Pasta (Jamaican-Italian).

The above suggestions don't even scratch the surface of a food scene to rival any city on earth, with options to suit every taste and any budget.

How to get around Toronto is perfect to explore on foot or via a growing network of cycle routes. For a quicker journey, buy a Presto card to use the TTC, Toronto's subway, streetcar and bus system.

How to get there Fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) with United and you're around 15 miles west of the city center. The most comfortable route in is via the Union Pearson Express, which runs every 15 minutes and gets you downtown in 25 minutes ($13).The TTC is a cheaper option at under $5, but it can take an hour and a half and involves a number of transfers, while a taxi will take around 30 minutes and cost $45.

United flies to Toronto from numerous U.S. cities including our Hub city locations. Book your trip via united.com or by downloading the United app.


Taking action to make a global impact

By The Hub team , January 17, 2020

Following the devastating wildfires in Australia and powerful earthquakes that shook Puerto Rico last week, we're taking action to make a global impact through our international partnerships as well as nonprofit organizations Afya Foundation and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).

Helping Puerto Rico recover from earthquakes

Last week, Puerto Rico was hit with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake it experienced just days before. The island has been experiencing hundreds of smaller quakes during the past few weeks.

These earthquakes destroyed crucial infrastructure and left 4,000 people sleeping outside or in shelters after losing their homes. We've donated $50,000 to our partner charity organization Airlink and through them, we've helped transport disaster relief experts and medical supplies for residents, as well as tents and blankets for those who have lost their homes. Funding will go towards organizations within Airlink's partner network, which includes Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps and Americares, to help with relief efforts and long-term recovery.

Australian wildfire relief efforts

Our efforts to help Australia have inspired others to make their own positive impact. In addition to teaming up with Ellen DeGeneres to donate $250,000 and launching a fundraising campaign with GlobalGiving to benefit those impacted by the devastating wildfires in the country known for its open spaces and wildlife, our cargo team is helping to send more than 600 pounds of medical supplies to treat injured animals in the region.

Helping us send these supplies is the Afya Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to improve global health by collecting surplus medical supplies and delivering them to parts of the world where they are most needed. Through Airlink, the Afya Foundation will send more than $18,000 worth of materials that will be used to treat animals injured in the Australian fires.

These medical supplies will fly to Melbourne (MEL) and delivered to The Rescue Collective. This Australian organization is currently focused on treating the massive population of wildlife, such as koalas, kangaroos, and birds, that have had their habitats destroyed by the recent wildfires. The supplies being sent include wound dressings, gloves, catheters, syringes and other items that are unused but would otherwise be disposed of.

By working together, we can continue to make a global impact and help those affected by natural disasters to rebuild and restore their lives

Help us (and Ellen DeGeneres) support wildfire relief efforts in Australia

By The Hub team , January 08, 2020

Australia needs our help as wildfires continue to devastate the continent that's beloved by locals and travelers alike. In times like these, the world gets a little smaller and we all have a responsibility to do what we can.

On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show announced a campaign to raise $5 million to aid in relief efforts. When we heard about Ellen's effort, we immediately reached out to see how we could help.

Today, we're committing $250,000 toward Ellen's campaign so we can offer support now and help with rebuilding. For more on The Ellen DeGeneres Show efforts and to donate yourself, you can visit www.gofundme.com/f/ellenaustraliafund

We're also matching donations made to the Australian Wildfire Relief Fund, created by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network. This fund will support immediate relief efforts for people impacted by the fires in the form of emergency supplies like food, water and medicine. Funds will also go toward long-term recovery assistance, helping residents recover and rebuild. United will match up to $50,000 USD in donations, and MileagePlus® members who donate $50 or more will receive up to 1,000 award miles from United. Donate to GlobalGiving.

Please note: Donations made toward GlobalGiving's fund are only eligible for the MileagePlus miles match.

In addition to helping with fundraising, we're staying in touch with our employees and customers in Australia. Together, we'll help keep Australia a beautiful place to live and visit in the years to come.

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