NEW ORLEANS — Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission, in which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon on a mission with fellow astronaut Michael Collins.
New Orleans marked the occasion by giving local kids a chance to learn the history behind the mission in a fun, technology-filled way. On Saturday morning, City Park was the launch site for countless miniature rockets.
Dozens of kids flocked to the park for local non-profit STEM Nola's "Rocket Day."
It was an eventful day for kids like Alexis, who showed she didn't need to be an aspiring astronaut to learn and join in on the fun.
"I shot a rocket and I tested balloons to see how a rocket's engine works," she said.
On top of building and launching miniature rockets, participants watched scientists create insulation for actual rockets that keep astronauts from freezing in space.
"The fact that our kids are out here today working alongside engineers, loading the rockets, launching the rockets -- We don't know what seeds are being planted," said STEM Nola's founder Dr. Calvin Mackie.
"One day, one of these kids could be that person that land on the moon or, land on Mars and be right here from New Orleans," he said.
Boeing, the aerospace company that designs and builds airplanes and rockets, sponsored the event, with employees at the park to teach kids the history of the Apollo 11 mission and introduce them to aerospace science.
"What they're doing here with the children is they're talking about Apollo 11 and where we were 50 years ago putting the first man on the moon. They're talking about the new Space Launch System or, what we call SLS, that is being built here in Louisiana," said Boeing spokeswoman Jennifer Boland-Masterson.
Mackie and Boland-Masterson both agreed that the day was about giving the next generation an opportunity and preparing them to make a difference in the world.