TITUSVILLE, Fla. – The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled a new tribute to NASA's Apollo program astronauts ahead of the 50th anniversary of the first manned mission to the moon.

On Friday, officials opened the Moon Tree Garden, which is located adjacent to the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

The garden features 12 trees that were grown from seeds that orbited the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.

The ribbon cutting for the Moon Tree Garden outside the Apollo/ Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex.



The sycamore trees represent each of the manned missions during the Apollo program, and a plaque for each mission is placed at the base of the trees.

"Every tree represents the hardships, the sacrifices, the successes and the greatness of the Apollo program," Moon Tree Foundation President Rosemary Roosa said.  "Those brave men of each crew did so much for humanity, and these trees are in their honor and for their triumph."

At the center of the garden is a George Lundeen sculpture depicting Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in their space suits. The statues show the three Apollo 11 astronauts gazing toward the launch pad of their historic mission.

Prior to Friday's ribbon-cutting, officials previewed new exhibits at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

The changes include a closer look at Lunar Module 9, projection mapping on the side of the Saturn V Rocket, a 1969 living room that recreates the experience of watching the Moon landing, a Fisher Space Pen legacy display and an up-close look at the Command and Service Module 119.

The reimagined Apollo/Saturn V Center reopens to visitors Monday and is part of the Apollo 50th anniversary celebration Tuesday.

"Florida's Space Race: The Next Step," airs July 16 on WKMG News 6 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch and moon landing. Visit ClickOrlando.com/moonlanding for more coverage.