If you live in, or are traveling to, the DC metro area, consider a day at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Located in Chantilly, VA, it’s kind of a sister museum to the National Air and Space Museum in DC. I’m a self-proclaimed space nerd and my husband and children are decidedly not. But, we all had a great time here.
There are two enormous hangars to explore-one for air and one for space. The centerpiece of the Boeing Aviation hangar is a LockheedSR-71 Blackbird. This sleek aircraft was built for speed. It’s top speed is 2,200 mph. Used by the US Air Force for recon missions, it is impressive. Check out flight suits, Amelia Earhart memorabilia, military planes, and strange imaginative prototypes. The James S. McDonnell Space hangar is what I went for. It is the proud home of the Space Shuttle Discovery. This shuttle served NASA for 39 missions. Most notably, it carried the Hubble space telescope into orbit. See a redstone missile, Mercury capsules, and all sorts of space paraphernalia.
There are daily tours, hands-on demonstrations, visiting pilots and astronauts, and FLIGHT SIMULATORS! There’s an IMAX theater, a nice gift shop, and am observation tower where you can watch planes come in and out of nearby Dulles airport.
Some things to know before you go:
Parking is $15 but admission is free.
There are two options for food on site: a concession counter or McDonald’s.
There is security at the door because this is part of the Smithsonian. So, no pocket knives.
Download the app. They have an app that will keep your kids busy while standing in line for the flight simulators or Pilot For a Day Cessna exhibit. It also has a scavenger hunt on it.