Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing on National Ice Cream Day

Along the Space Coast

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Sunday, July 21, 2019

  • On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-A
  • On July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong was the first human to take a “giant leap” for mankind
  • On July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Presidential Proclamation 5219 establishing National Ice Cream Day

And it all came together last week as tourists flocked to the Space Coast to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.

We both still vividly remember watching the Saturn V launch; watching the Lunar Lander, Eagle, as it landed at Tranquility Base; seeing Neil Armstrong step down to the moon surface; and viewing the recovery as the USS Hornet plucked astronauts Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin from the landing site of the capsule, Columbia, in the North Pacific Ocean!  We were glued to the TV!  What an amazing feat!

So, of course, we flocked to Cocoa Beach, too!!  Let me tell you all about it:

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This is an aerial view over the Kennedy Space Center of Launch Complex 39, showing the Vehicle Assembly Building (front), and launch pads 39B (back left) and 39A (back right). Apollo 11 launched from 39A on July 16, 1969. (Wikipedia Photo)
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This is a photo of a Saturn V, carrying Apollo 15, as it rolls out to Pad 39A in 1971 on Mobile Launch Platform 1. (Wikipedia Photo)
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Since 1962, the NASA Launch Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (becoming the Kennedy Space Center in 1963) consistently drew increasing crowds of visitors. Tourism began with an Information center and hub for bus tours.
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By 1995, the complex had grown to include the Astronaut Hall of Fame (later moved & replaced by Heroes and Legends); exhibits of artifacts; displays of equipment; and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Delaware North was hired to operate the facility.
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The Kennedy Space Center is always relevant and remains, to this day, an amazing place to visit!!!
The Rocket Garden at KSC.  Now, I ask you, how cool is this?!?
The Rocket Garden at KSC. Now, I ask you, how cool is this?!?
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Ahhh, and then there’s Cocoa Beach! Another great place to visit on the Space Coast.
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Established in 1925, Cocoa Beach garnered notoriety in May,1942 when the German submarine, U-109, torpedoed the La Paz and the SS Laertes off the shore. Thereafter, the federal government ordered coastal blackouts for the remainder of the war.
Today, Cocoa Beach attracts surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers.
Today, Cocoa Beach attracts surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers.
Hotels line the streets.
Hotels line the streets.
Condominiums are everywhere.
Condominiums are everywhere.
Shopping has sprung up to serve the tourists' needs.
Shopping has sprung up to serve the tourists’ needs.
And Ron Jon has built a huge complex!!!  A surfer's paradise.
And Ron Jon has built a huge complex!!! A surfer’s paradise.
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This is great. And the the beach bar, Coconuts On the Beach, provides libations, and a great view!

 

But wait, there’s more!  Sunday, July 21st is National Ice Cream Day.  This celebration, sponsored by Senator Walter Dee Huddleston of Kentucky, originated in the United States Senate with Joint Resolution 298 on May 17, 1984; on April 11, 1984, Representative Kika de la Garza of Texas sponsored Joint Resolution 543 in the House of Representatives.  It was signed into public law by President Ronald Reagan on July 9th.  Interestingly, all this only mentioned a single occurrence in 1984!  But leave it to the dairy and ice cream industries to promote the day!  For 35 years, we have celebrated the day with tasty concoctions!

It is believed ice cream started in China.  Returning from his explorations in the Far East, Marco Polo is said to have introduced the taste sensation to Italy.  Ice Cream made its way to America in 1744.  By the 1930s, due to the Industrial Revolution and the advances made with steam power, refrigeration and trucking, ice cream made it to grocery shelves all over America!

We chose to sample the frozen creations of Fat Donkey Ice Cream & Fine Desserts at 247 Minutemen Causeway in Cocoa Beach.  But first, we stopped for lunch at the Tiny Turtle right next door (249 Minutemen Causeway).  We were attracted to the quirky names of these two establishments and after a little research, discovered the history of the Wayne Coombs’ Mai Tiki Gallery complex where they are located.

Wayne Coombs created colorful paintings with a distinctive style; but he was best known for the Tikis he began carving in 1967.  He was a popular Space Coast artist.  He became a legend in Cocoa Beach.  His Tikis shipped world-wide!   And they may be spotted all over Cocoa Beach.  Go back and look at the Ron Jon photo above.  You’ll spot Tikis!!!     Wayne Coombs passed away on September 4, 2012.

Today, you will find Coombs’ Mai Tiki Studio complex still attracts customers.  The Tiny Turtle serves a Caribbean Fusion Cuisine.  The owners, Chef Moises and his wife Kelly, call it “Sofrito”, the essence of Puerto Rican Cuisine.  At the Fat Donkey Ice Cream & Fine Desserts they handcraft ice cream in unique flavors and quirky presentations.  The Zonkey is sorbet layered with soft -serve ice cream.  The Jack Smasher is a waffle cone layered with soft-serve, strawberries, a slice of Key Lime pie or Cheesecake, more soft-serve, more strawberries and topped with cool whip.  And even more enticing are the Baked Dessert Jars!  Here are the photos:

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The Tiny Turtle occupies space originally part of the Wayne Coombs Mai Tiki Gallery. Note the Tiki between the two upper windows.
Inside, more Tikis!!!!
Inside, more Tikis!!!!
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The space is, in fact, tiny. But it’s quirky, beachy, and totally entertaining!
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We started out with nachos; and ordered tacos and a four-cheese quesadilla. They were both yummy!!!
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Rog’s afternoon libation was Night Swim, a porter. All the beers at Tiny Turtle are canned. But the selection is amazing!
Night Swim is brewed in Tampa.
Night Swim is brewed in Tampa.
Look at that selection!  These beers are all available.
Look at that selection! These beers are all available.
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These diners come to the Tiny Turtle on a regular basis. Tho’ not full-time locals; they are regular part-time visitors. They said this is their favorite lunch-time venue. We met because they were a joyful group! Having fun. Spreading happy!
Now this looks like a refreshing beer.  Funky Buddha meets Pineapple Beach.
Now this looks like a refreshing beer. Funky Buddha meets Pineapple Beach.
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The portions at Tiny Turtle are not tiny. Quite the contrary, they are huge! You are looking at only 2 tacos!!
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This is the Sofrito Bowl: black bean rice topped with fresh guacamole, sour cream and creme caribe; served with beach slaw and additional options.
Sofrito Salad
Sofrito Salad
Thank you all--your smiles and good cheer enhanced our day!!!
Thank you all–your smiles and good cheer enhanced our day!!!
As did our smiling and helpful server, Erin.
As did our smiling and helpful server, Erin.
After lunch, we sauntered on over to The Fat Donkey, next door.
After lunch, we sauntered on over to The Fat Donkey, next door.
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It’s a walk-up, take-out with umbrella-covered seating behind the building. This building had been the work center of Wayne Coombs’ Tiki carving. Note the window has a garage door roll-down–the former entry point for the palm trees used for Tikis!!!
Sandy had a single scoop of Baja Chocolate Marshmallow.
Sandy had a single scoop of Baja Chocolate Marshmallow.
Roger thoroughly enjoyed his single scoop of Cherry Oblivion!
Roger thoroughly enjoyed his single scoop of Cherry Oblivion!
Ahhh, the S'Mores Baked Dessert Jar.  This looks so wonderfully ooey-gooey!!!
Ahhh, the S’Mores Baked Dessert Jar. This looks so wonderfully ooey-gooey!!!
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William is the owner’s son and provided great service with a warm and generous smile and happy, pleasant attitude.
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As we left, we spotted fat-tired beach bikes parked outside. Looks like a fun way to check out the beach!
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And I’ll close this post with a photo of a shiny red convertible! This is the perfect vehicle for seaside exploration!!! It can take you all the way back to the 1960s!!!

 

For a couple of septuagenarians, this was a fun trip down memory lane.

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