Explore the Cosmic History of Downey - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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Explore the Cosmic History of Downey

2.5 hours
$30 per person
Up to 30 people
See Dates
$30 per person
Downey, California
What We’ll Do

During this exclusive tour led by the president and executive director of the Columbia Memorial Space Center, Ben Dickow, we will discover aerospace artifacts and relics of the space program, explore the interactive space mission simulator, and learn more about the fascinating history of both the Space Center and the aerospace industry in Downey.

Known as the "Cradle of the Cosmic Age," Downey was the center of manufacturing for the U.S. lunar space program in the 1960s. We’ll take an expedition to Downey together for a private, guided tour of the Columbia Memorial Space Center, a hands-on science museum located on the manufacturing site of the Apollo Space program.

Also joining us will be a former employee of the rocket industry who will speak in depth about his time at the original site. Through his personal stories, he'll illuminate not only what it was like to be working for the space program in its heyday, but how it helped to shape the future of the industry and how it’s history is vanishing.

Finally, we will have an opportunity to check out the Robotics Lab, where you can program your own robot and send it on a moon mission!

Where We’ll Be

We will begin at the museum, where we will learn about the history of Downey and the surrounding sites involvement in the space industry. We will tour the museum, including seeing some areas that the common visitor would not be able to see. Lastly, we will walk a few blocks to a currently abandoned former rocket-building site, which is located in the basement of a nearby shopping center.

About Your Host

Hi. I'm Ben, a member of the Atlas Obscura community.

I am someone always seeking out strange, intriguing, off-the-beaten-path, and under-the-radar venues and locations in and around Los Angeles. I am also an environmentalist and support a variety of local environmental nonprofits.

For this event, I’ll be partnering with Ben Dickow, president and executive director of the museum. Ben will lead us around and provide the history and details of the museum, as well as the aviation/space industry in and around Downey. We will also be joined by Jerry Blackburn, former Boeing Project Manager and 40-year Aerospace Industry veteran, who will provide many insights into the space industry and anecdotes about his time working onsite at the former facility.

For questions about this experience, please contact me directly through Airbnb.

What Else You Should Know

Wear comfy clothing/shoes and be prepared to stand/walk for half the tour. Feel free to bring a water bottle as well. Hat and sunglasses may come in handy on our walk over to the former rocket site.

Group Size

There are 30 spots available on this experience.

Who Can Come

Guests ages 18 and up can attend.

The former site does not have electricity, but we will provide flashlights so that everyone can see and navigate the space safely.

Cancellation Policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase. See cancellation policy.

Dates and Availability

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

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