Little Rock Look Back: Apollo 11 Lifts Off on July 16, 1969

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from Florida as 528 million people (15% of the world’s population at the time) viewed it on television.  As would be expected for that historic trip to the moon, both the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat were filled with stories covering all aspects of the preparations and the launch.

The Gazette carried a story in which Sargent Shriver, then Ambassador to France, recalled his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy saying that if he died before the US landed on the moon, he would be watching it from his rocking chair in heaven and would have a better view than anyone on earth. The comments were made on May 25, 1962, the same day President Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress about the quest to send man to the moon.

But Apollo 11 was not the only thing in the newspapers.

  • July 16 was the first preliminary night for the Miss Arkansas pageant.
  • Ruth the elephant was ailing at the Little Rock Zoo.
  • The Arkansas Constitutional Convention continued
  • The Loch Ness Monster had gone into hiding according to Scottish officials
  • Plans were underway to bring private Little Rock University into the University of Arkansas System

Sports headlines included:

  • The Cardinals beat the Phillies 5 to 0
  • The Travelers were rained out at home.
  • Joe Namath was in secret meetings with NFL leadership regarding his retirement plans. He’d announced them rather than give up ownership of a club frequented by mobsters.
  • Brooks Robinson was named to his 13th consecutive All-Star game.

In advertisements (and there were pages and pages and pages of advertisements – comparing them to papers of today one really sees how much a drop in revenue newspapers are facing):

  • Curtis Finch Furniture offered a side by side refrigerator with icemaker for $499
  • Bruno’s was now serving wine and cocktails
  • Moses Melody Shop had a color TV for $399.50
  • Pfeifer-Blass was selling shoes for $3.50 and women’s jersey dresses for $11.99

Women’s World Cup Watch Party today at War Memorial Stadium

Image may contain: stripesThe City of Little Rock and War Memorial Stadium invite the public to watch Team USA take on the Netherlands in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, today, July 7.

This is a free watch party, and the public is asked to bring blankets and/or lawn chairs to view the game from the field.

No cleats; shoes must be worn.

Concessions will be sold. Gates open at 9:30. The match begins at 10.

The Little Rock Zoo invites persons to stop by the Zoo for lunch and to see the exhibits there following the match.

HAPPY FEET being shown at Clinton Center today

Image result for happy feetThe Clinton Center’s popular Super Summer Saturdays are back – and this year they have penguins!

Join them tonight for a showing of Happy Feet (and make plans to come back in two weeks for Happy Feet Two on July 20).

The Little Rock Zoo is bringing hands-on activities designed to raise awareness about how plastic pollution affects animals and our environment. Movie screenings will begin at 4:30 p.m. and the activities will end by 7:30 p.m. In conjunction with our current temporary exhibit, Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, these two FREE family programs will encourage environmental stewardship in a fun way.

Super Summer Saturday programming is FREE and open to the public, but admission fees are required to tour the museum. Click here to plan your visit to the Clinton Center.

Pollinator Awareness at Little Rock Zoo today

The Little Rock Zoo asks, “How you can protect our pollinators?”

Today (June 29) from 9am to 2pm, they are offering a host of activities about this. Because without pollinators, many foods will go extinct.

FREE fun activities and thoughtful information so you can make a big difference in the population of your local pollinators! Learn how to become a pollinator powerhouse – spray less pesticide, plant responsibly and create pollinator habitats.

9 AM – 2 PM: Biofacts in the main plaza

10 AM: Monarch butterfly presentation by Holly Anderson of the Arkansas Monarch Conservation Project

11 AM: Bee/pollinator presentation by Joshua Byrne of the Little Rock Zoo

Help Bukavu the gorilla celebrate his first birthday today at the Little Rock Zoo!

On June 20, 2018, Bukavu the gorilla was born at the Little Rock Zoo.  To celebrate his first birthday (a few days early), the Little Rock Zoo is throwing a Birthday Party for him today, June 8.

Zoo staff and docents have been preparing gifts for Bukavu as well as her family.  He was born last year to Sekani (mom) and Kivu (dad).   This is the third child for Sekani and the first for Kivu.

Bukavu is named for an African city located on the south-western edge of Lake Kivu (see how it relates to the dad’s name?)

Festivities get underway at 11:30 with Crafts & Fun at the top of the Great Apes Viewing Area.  Then at 1:30PM there will Cake & Refreshments also at the top of the Great Apes Viewing Area.

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit