Reach for the Sky at the National Air and Space Museum
September 14, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, USA – Let your imagination soar (well, almost literally!) at the National Air and Space Museum in DC. This bright, open museum celebrates the history of flight, giving aviation enthusiasts and excited children and adults the chance to view the various iconic machines and artifacts that call this place home. From airplanes to spacecraft to lunar rocks, this lively museum has it all.
Part of a dynamic duo, the National Air and Space Museum is the heart of this awe-inspiring team. It opened in 1976 and holds more than 60,000 objects, many of which are viewable online (a definite plus when we can’t figure out where to start!). Its newest partner, located by Dulles Airport, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, works in tandem to showcase these remarkable pieces like the relics they are—high above visitors’ heads.
While roaming about the National Air and Space Museum, diehard flight enthusiasts can gaze upon missiles, airplanes, and spacecraft. View icons like Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module, SpaceShipOne, and Bell X-1, to name a few. With its soaring ceilings, glossy walls, and vast windows, the museum’s spacious steel-and-glass atria really are the perfect “airy” showrooms for these sky-high objects.
And there’s more to this iconic threshold than just its machinery; the National Air and Space Museum also has science demonstrations, an IMAX Theater, a planetarium, and flight simulators—not to mention the museum’s 22 exhibition galleries. Cold War relics, stories of famous pilots, NASA gear…this really is any aviation nut’s dream (although even the everyday person will find it fascinating which is why this is one of our Purple Picks!).
Located on the National Mall, the National Air and Space Museum is part of the Smithsonian’s plethora of museums scattered throughout the city (and one of the largest, to boot). You’ll find other Smithsonian sights just around the corner, including the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of African Art among others; this really is the heart of tourist DC. Plus, did we mention admission is free? A definite plus for any gallivanting tourist!
While you might have your sights set on some of DC’s other gems, make sure to squeeze in this landmark facility for an afternoon. Between the iconic flight machines and noteworthy artifacts, the National Air and Space Museum is a must—just make sure to keep your eyes peeled to the skies above.
Read more about the National Air and Space Museum in our Washington, DC guide.