Spend a Day at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

 

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One of the must-see destination in Washington, DC is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It is recognized as the most visited museum in the world and is perfect for all ages. Most of the displays and exhibits are interactive, which is great for kids. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Take a ride at the flight simulator for $6.50 per ride. This takes about 4 minutes.
  • Journey through space and the manmade wonders of the world through the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater for ($9 for adults, $7 for children).
  • Tour the universe at the Albert Einstein Planetarium. It lasts for 20 minutes (also $9 for adults, $7 for children).

The museum continually develops new exhibits in various fields like history, science, as well as technology of aviation and spaceflight. It is also a center for research and offers guided tours, educational programs, and fun school group activities.

Tips for a Fun Visit

  • The Smithsonian National and Air Space Museum is the busiest Washington, DC museum. In order to avoid crowds, better arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • Buy IMAX or Planetarium tickets in advance or as soon as you arrive at the museum.
  • Allow at least 2 to 3 hours to spend inside the museum.

The museum houses the biggest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It has 22 exhibition galleries and displays hundreds of artifacts. The most famous artifacts found here are the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo 11 command module.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum opened a companion facility in the year 2003. This is the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which stands on the property of Washington  Dulles International Airport found at Chantilly, Virginia. The museum gives a  second location, about 30 minutes drive from Washington, DC. It displays the huge space shuttle Enterprise, Lockheed SR-71, and other aircrafts, spacecrafts, and artifacts that the main museum cannot accommodate. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Dramatic views of an aerobatic airplane
  • World War II fighters, engines, rockets, satellites, gliders, helicopters, etc
  • Watch air traffic arriving and leaving from the Washington Dulles International Airport at the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is an educational institution. It captures the heart of the people coming from all age groups. It is open from 10:00 am  to 5:30 pm, for seven days a week. Admission to the center is free, but public parking costs around $15. There is also an IMAX theater and flight simulator rides are offered. Here are details of the center.

  • Address: 14390 Air & Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA
  • Contact Number: 202-633-1000
  • How to Get There: Take the VA-267 W to Dulles Airport. Exit the 9 for VA-28, then merge onto Virginia 28 S. Take the Air and Space Museum Pkwy W exit.

Compared to the main museum in Washington, DC, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is easier to get to from the suburbs. Aside from that, there is less crowd here.

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