Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston Commemorates Moon Landing

Updated on February 28, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Space City

Tranquillity Park commemorates Apollo 11's unforgettable moon landing back in 1969. This two-block city park is just one more indication of why Houston has the nickname of Space City.

Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Moon Landing Memories

Most people are well aware of the part Houston plays in the aerospace industry.

I will never forget watching television with friends in Florida when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, followed by Buzz Aldrin. Armstrong’s first words, when setting foot on the moon, are written on a plaque within the park in 15 different languages.

Also inscribed onto that plaque is an image of a helmeted astronaut walking on the moon.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. [. . .] That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

— Neil Armstrong

Did you watch the moon landing live on television?

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Image of Astronaut Walking on the Moon
Image of Astronaut Walking on the Moon | Source

Wording on Plaque

The following words are directly taken from the same plaque and written here for those who may never get to read them in person.

Tranquillity Park

Two hundred years ago there was born on this continent a concept of freedom that mankind before had only dreamed of…a concept that would lead America safely through the turbulence of a great civil war dominating the decade of the sixties of our first century.

That this government has survived is a tribute to the soundness of man’s greatest excursion into previously unexplored areas of personal liberty.

It was this system of “government by and for the people” that brought together the capital, initiative, talent, determination and faith for realization of man’s oldest dream.

The moon has long been humanity’s treasure trove…so close it could only beckon…so far that it could only dare! It remained for 20th century America to accept that challenge and to close the distance.

From its surface, on July 20, 1969, came the message, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

The world watched, electrified by the success of history’s most noble experiment in individual freedom. America possessed the only system of government ever known with the capacity to succeed in fulfilling mankind’s quest for the secrets of the moon.

May we renew our faith in freedom and rededicate ourselves to the proposition that, “One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind,” is only a first step toward man’s eternal destiny: the heavens themselves!

LOUIE WELCH, July 4, 1976

Louie Welch was the Mayor of Houston at the time of the park’s dedication.

Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Visiting the Park

My husband and I visited Tranquillity Park one weekend in May almost a year ago. The falling water sounds mingled with the rustling of leaves on the trees. Some people were sitting on benches, seemingly enjoying the ambiance while reading books. Some were bicycling through the park and others walking, such as we were doing.

I can well imagine that nearby office workers during the week would enjoy going for a stroll or eating lunch in such a pretty spot.

Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Location

Tranquillity Park is a location in which various festivals are held. This beautiful site is undoubtedly also chosen for the taking of memorable photos such as engagement or wedding. It is situated near City Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and a U.S. Federal Court building.

The address of Tranquility Park is 400 Rusk St., Houston, Texas 77002.

Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Charles Tapley

Charles Tapley was a well-known architect, as well as a landscape architect in Houston. Tranquillity Park, as well as renovations and improvements all along Buffalo Bayou near downtown Houston, bears the imprint of his landscape plans.

He was also a professor at two of our universities, Rice University and the University of Houston. Many people will long remember Charles Tapley, and many of us will enjoy what he designed far into the future.

Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Moonscape Design

Mr. Tapley’s idea in designing this downtown park was to have features similar to those found on the moon. Thus there are varying heights supposed to remind us of hills and craters on the moon.

Those distinctive stainless steel cylinders with water cascading down the sides are supposed to remind us of the rocket boosters on the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Named the Wortham Fountains, they are one of several parks and water features in Houston bearing the name of those well-known philanthropists.

There is also a replicated footprint of Neil Armstrong in this park. It is designed to make us think of his prints in the dust of our silvery moon.

Tranquillity Park in downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in downtown Houston | Source

Parking

There is free street parking on weekends in downtown Houston. During the week there is some metered parking and plenty of available parking garages in the area.

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Tranquillity Park in Downtown HoustonTranquillity Park in Downtown HoustonTranquillity Park in Downtown HoustonTranquillity Park in Downtown HoustonTranquillity Park in Downtown HoustonTranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Have you visited Tranquillity Park?

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Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston
Tranquillity Park in Downtown Houston | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi frogyfish,

        The moon landing was an event well worth waking your daughters up to see. If they were that young, they may not clearly remember the event but will know that they were alive when it took place, thanks to you.

      • frogyfish profile image

        frogyfish 

        3 weeks ago from Central United States of America

        Yes...I remember...watched it on TV. Got my daughters up to watch it too and they barely do remember. Mostly, they remember getting waked up in the middle of the nigh! Thank you for views of the Tranquillity Park too.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ehren,

        It is always interesting how people meet and get to know one another. Thanks for getting back to me. We have many great parks in Houston. If you get downtown to see Tranquillity Park, be sure to visit Discovery Green and Market Square parks as well.

      • skydancer profile image

        Ehren E Grunewald 

        5 weeks ago from New Orleans / NC

        @peggy-w: Hi there! My uncle (the one who also knew Gene Cernan) actually messaged me this evening and said they have been to the park and love it. I hope to go next time I visit. I think he and Gene Cernan worked out at the same gym together.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Ehren,

        It will be interesting to know if your relatives who live in Houston have visited this downtown park. It would also be interesting to know how your uncle knew Gene Cernan. Was it a social connection, or did they work together?

      • skydancer profile image

        Ehren E Grunewald 

        5 weeks ago from New Orleans / NC

        This is so awesome! I will have to ask my relatives in Houston if they have seen it yet. My uncle down there actually knew Gene Cernan (last man on the moon) before he passed away.

        The park is aptly named, that's for sure!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Robert,

        Houston's nickname is "Space City," so it is appropriate to have a park named Tranquillity Park in our midst.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        5 weeks ago

        It is great that Houston did this. Thank you for sharing.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        Many of our parks do not have flags. I guess the reasoning is that someone would have to be responsible for raising it and lowering it each day. The public works employees have enough to do to keep the parks well maintained. That is my guess, anyway.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        Very lovely! I’m surprised they don’t have an American flag somewhere as a part of it.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Linda,

        The water effects are particularly nice. Yes, I agree that the moon landing deserves commemoration.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Donna,

        Perhaps someday you can visit Tranquillity Park in person. If not, at least you have some idea of what it is like should you be there. So glad you liked this.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        5 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This sounds like a pleasant park. I think I would enjoy sitting peacefully by the water, daydreaming or reading. "Tranquillity Park" is a lovely name. I'm glad the park commemorates the moon landing. The event should be remembered.

      • Donna-Rayne profile image

        Donna Rayne 

        5 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

        Peggy, this trip was amazing, I truly wish I could go there one day and I thank you for making it so vivid and stunning! I felt like I was there!

        Have a wonderful day,

        Donna Rayne

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Nancy,

        I am glad that you are enjoying my articles about things to do and see in Houston. Admittedly, it gets hot in the summers. Having lived in Wisconsin for a portion of my life, those winters can get pretty cold. I guess it all evens out. We cozy up to the heat and also relish the air-conditioning when necessary, all depending upon the season of the year.

      • profile image

        Nancy Hinchliff 

        5 weeks ago

        I always enjoy your posts, Peggy. They're informative, well-written, and have lots of pictures. This one is particularly interesting. Houston is beautiful but too hot for me. I lived in Dallas for a few years, in the sixties, where I worked for Neiman Marcus. Keep doing what you're doing.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Rachel,

        Thanks for sharing this information with your granddaughter and thanks for your comment.

      • profile image

        Rachel Alba 

        5 weeks ago

        Hi Peggy, What beautiful pictures and very interesting facts. My granddaughter lives in Texas but not near Houston. I'm going to tell her if she gets an occasion to travel to visit this park. Thank you for sharing the pictures and facts about Tranquility Park.

        Blessings for you.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        It is my pleasure to be able to show off many parts of Houston and the surrounding areas to you and others. Thanks for your comment.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        5 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        I remember well when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Tranquility Park is beautiful. Houston has many sites that are exceptional. Thanks again for sharing your home town.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        We saw quite a few people doing just that on the day that I took these photos. More than a few benches were filled with people reading a book. The sounds of the splashing water made a soothing background noise.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        I got to watch that first moonwalk live on television. Although the broadcasts were a bit fuzzy in comparison to today, it was amazing to see. Tranquillity Park commemorates that moon landing in fine fashion!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        What a lovely, peaceful, "artificial" park. Just lovely! I can see myself sitting by the sculptures enjoying a book and a coffee...just wonderful.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        5 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        I remember how exciting it was when the Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. This is another lovely park in Houston and I think it is nice they honor the astronauts. The park is really lovely and a nice place for a walk.

      • bhattuc profile image

        Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

        5 weeks ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

        Nice sketch wnd well presented. Thanks.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        Yes, I can well imagine that office workers near this park enjoy it on their breaks. It is a beautiful downtown Houston park that carries much meaning.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 weeks ago from UK

        I am sure office workers must appreciate having this park nearby. The moon landing was an iconic moment in history and deserving of commemoration. You have highlighted this park well, with interesting background information on the architect and great illustrations.

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