Monday, December 24, 2012

"Apollo 13: Mission Control" at the Tacoma Dome, Washington State Review

Remember when I blogged about going to see this show?  My mom, daughter, and I went on Saturday afternoon, and it was more phenomenal than I could have imagined!  We went to see Apollo 13: Mission Control at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington.  While it was advertised as being an interactive show, I have to admit I did not know what to expect.  I have been to many different kinds of shows in my life, but it is safe  to say I had never been to one like this.

First of all, we arrived way too early.  Honestly, the parking lots were not even opened.  I am a seasoned Tacoma Dome visitor, and from experience, I was expecting a $20 parking fee and lots of traffic.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. You will probably want to be there 30-45 minutes early, and parking is free.  Or at least, it was for us.  I can't guarantee you will have the same experience, but the bustling area around the Dome was really quiet.

When we first arrived, we were allowed to go into a room and look around at some pictures from the Apollo 13 mission.  They started right on time, and we were all brought into the room and met by "Walter Kronkite."  He welcomed us to the mission and said they needed another astronaut since the commander was incapacitated.  A really nice girl named Leisel was chosen (We actually sat with the mother and brother of the astronaut, and her grandparents were in front of us).  And so into the mission control room we went.
As we walked in, one of the men commented on most of the hair of the entrants.  They said my daughter's hair was hippie hair--that gave us all a good laugh.  Oh, and Martha was one of several who got to wear a lab coat--you'll see it later.

One thing to know is to not pay attention to the seats listed on the ticket.  We were not aware of that, and they never explained it.  You may sit where you like.  We ended up in the last row of the console seats.  There were no people sitting in the press seats, but that is an option for those who don't want to spend quite as much for a ticket and don't mind not being a part of the action.  I wouldn't have want to sit there--nor would my mom or Martha--but it is another option.

We all were assigned certain jobs based on where we were sitting.  My mom was the dietitian, and Martha and I were flight activity coordinators--or something like that.  We had role call, and we all had to listen lest we not respond at the right time. And before we knew it, take-off occurred.  I had a set of headphones which I was supposed to wear the entire time for monitoring the astronauts at all time.  I wore my headphones in such a way that I could hear them while still hearing and following all action happening in the control room.  It was a hoot to listen to the astronauts interact.  I got to hear things most did not hear, and it made it challenging to keep up with all the action.

Martha actually had some speaking parts as a certain kind of check was done.  They put a microphone on her, and she read the lines quite well.  She and the astronaut's brother also had to compile a certain list, and it made me so proud to see her walk up front with no fear and take charge of the situation as needed.  They worked a good 5-10 minutes on this assignment, and Martha could not have been happier.  She told me how cool this was following that activity.  I even had to say something at one point when the place was in total confusion.

The actors were absolutely fantastic.  They ad-libbed on many occasions, and all I can say is, you had better pay attention lest you find yourself unwittingly part of the show in a humorous way.  But don't worry--they will help you if you don't understand exactly what you are supposed to do.  While the show was very funny, it was quite historical.  The part that truly struck with me was the end as we waited to see if the astronauts made it or not.  While I have seen the film and know that all is well, I got an inkling of how difficult this wait must have been.  I almost found myself praying they would make it, and there was wild applause when they did!

If you are in the Seattle-Tacoma area within the next week, and you are looking for something to do with your kids (or even just you), I invite you to check the show out.

Here are the upcoming dates:

Wednesday, December 26 / 3:00PM & 6:00PM
Thursday, December 27 / 11:00AM & 3:00PM
Friday, December 28 / 7:00PM
Saturday, December 29 / 3:00PM & 7:00PM
Sunday, December 30 / 11:00AM & 2:00PM

Buy your tickets and read more here:

And I believe this discount code is still available.

KIDS FLY FREE! Make sure and purchase your tickets using the code “MOM” and receive up to two free tickets for kids 6-12. Tickets can be purchased at and the code can be entered in the Promotions and Special Offers box on the purchase page of each event. 

There are still plenty of tickets left, and this will be a show that everyone will enjoy.  Honestly, my mom and I both enjoyed it just as much as Martha did.  My mom was alive and remembered the event.  I wasn't born yet but knew the event well.  And my daughter--she has seen the movie and loves science and space travel.

that was my daughter after the show.  You might wonder why I didn't take more pictures.  Two reasons.  I honestly didn't know about the picture policy.  In fact, my mom saw them ask one person to not take pictures during the show.  And secondly, if I would have tried to take pictures, I can assure you I wouldn't have been able to do my job, and maybe the astronauts wouldn't have made it home!

I was sent free tickets in exchange for posting my honest thoughts about the show.  


  1. You make this sound very interesting. Thanks for posting.

  2. I think I walked right past you guys as you took this picture of your daughter! :) We had such fun too, it really was a great experience.

  3. This sounds super cool! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This sounds like a fantastic family activity! Thanks for sharing this! Too bad I am on the other side of the country. I wonder if there is anything like this in my area.


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