National Air and Space Museum : A Smithsonian museum
The National Air and Space Museum draws nearly 10 million visitors a year. At the Mall museum, visitors can touch a moon rock and gaze up at the Wright Brothers’ plane and the Spirit of St. Louis, which Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927. Everywhere you look is another full-size wonder.
In Space Hall, you can tour Skylab and check out the Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft. You can look through a 16-inch telescope, experience cockpit simulations of takeoff and landing at Reagan National Airport or even of aerial combat.
Other icons on display at the National Air and Space Museum include the Apollo II command module, space suits that flew to the moon, several other space captures, and early, more atmosphere-bound vehicles.
The museum’s other facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside Dulles International Airport, houses more than 80 aircraft and dozens of space artifacts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and the Gemini VII space capsule, as well as its own flight simulators and IMAX theater. Its air-traffic-style observation tower has a 360-degree view.There is no shuttle service between the museums.
Touring tips for the National Air and Space Museum:
Though the museums are free, the IMAX theaters and planetarium shows are not ($9 ages 13–59, $8 for seniors, and $7.50 for children ages 2–12 at both museum sites); visit si.edu/imax for show choices and times. Also, the simulators and F-4 Phantom II interactive ride are $8, or $7 with an IMAX ticket purchase.
The food court at the Mall location has a McDonald’s, Boston Market, and pizzeria. The Dulles location has a McDonald’s and a McCafe.
Practical information for visiting the National Air and Space Museum:
Location: Sixth St. SW at Independence Ave., on the Mall
Nearest Metro stations: Smithsonian or L’Enfant Plaza.
Contact information: Call 202-357-2214 or 202-633-1000 (tdd) or visit The National Air and Space Museum website.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA. Please not that there is no Metro access to the center. For more information on the center call 703-572-4118 or visit The National Air and Space Museum website.
Opening hours: September–March: daily, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; April–Labor Day: daily, 10 a.m.–7:30 p.m. The National Air and Space Museum is closed on Christmas Day.
The National Air and Space Museum is one of the many attractions covered in Eve Zibart’s book The Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C.
Credit for picture used in this blog: By HrAtsuo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons