While visiting DC over the long President’s Day weekend, we tried to visit as many Smithsonian museums that we could. After visiting the National Museum of Natural History, we walked down the National Mall and stopped by the National Air and Space Museum. This is one of the most excellent museums if traveling with boys. I mean, come on. Planes and space, what more can a little boy ask for?
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum consist of two actual museums. The most notable one that most visit would be in Washington DC (which is the one we went to) and Udvar-Hazy Center which is located in Virginia and houses the larger planes/exhibits. If you are traveling via public transportation (as we did) then Udvar-Hazy Center location will be a little harder to get to or should I say not as convenient. The Washington DC location also has a Planetarium. Shows are extra but you can attend the 10:30 am show for FREE (call ahead at (866) 868-7774 to see if tickets are available).
Make National Air and Space Museum First (or second)
One thing I ‘d like to mention before moving forward, I would recommend seeing this museum first as it was the longest wait we had (besides National Museum of African-American History and Culture).
So our wait was a long one compared to the others (excluding National Museum of African-American History and Culture).
I’d recommend utilizing this time for a snack break. We had snacks but they smashed in my son’s backpack. 😉
Or you can play games while you wait.
Or just have a mini photo session.
After a while we got restless.
I know child, these lines are for the birds.
After approximately an hour we made it inside. As noted in previous posts, the admission is FREE to all Smithsonian Museums. Plan 2-3 hours, this museum is an interactive with a lot to see!
As soon as you walk in you are greeted with planes from above.
What’s inside the National Air and Space Museum?
The National Museum of Air and Space houses several exhibits, one of the most notable one’s is Early Flight. Here, you will be able to view the very first plane that the Wright Brother’s ever create (and flew). Among the first plane, you can also see gliders, which were the very early stages of flight. One of the things that I loved about this museum is that it was very interactive. Throughout the museum we caught several staff members performing demonstrations. For instance, in Early Flight, the staff member showed us how the gliders worked.
In the picture above is the actual very first airplane that the Wright Brothers ever flew (only once though). With the fabric being updated over the years, the wood is the same. In addition to seeing the first plane, you can also see the gliders that the Wright Brothers created prior to the first plane.
Is the National Air and Space Museum Interactive?
The most hands-on area is How Things Fly. This area allows you to explore the way gravity works, wings work, etc. The kids had the most fun in the area.
I found a great at home experiments that you can do with the family (click HERE to print).
Here we seen another live experiment demonstrated by one of the knowledgeable staff. Again this was very interactive and made the audience think and answer questions, in addition to really putting their hands on the experiment.
He was really putting those muscles to work. Tongue out and all!
Clearly this specific exhibit is about force and it is also clearly interactive. The kids enjoyed participating.
Space Exhibits at National Air and Space Museum
Before we headed out, we stopped by the Exploring the Planets exhibit. Here, you can learn about the planets and stars in our solar system through the exploration of robotic spacecrafts that allowed us to learn more.
Not surprising, but this area is interactive too. This is how my son learns best. He needs hands-on in order to learn it and retain it. That is another reason why I love this museum.
Why do you recommend the National Air and Space Museum?
I think visiting a museum like National Air and Space Museum really puts what the kids are learning at school into perspective. They can see actual artifacts, hands-on activities and a different level of learning than what they get in the classroom. It makes it more fun when it is interactive.
We only spent about an hour and a half here, it seems as though the time passed by quickly for us. We were trying to visit as many as we could during our short stay, which can be bad and good. The good side is you can at least view a few exhibits/museum, the bad part is you don’t get the full visit as you would like.
In the short time that we spent in the National Air and Space Museum, we had a great time. I highly recommend it, it was fun, educational and on the top of my list to return to when we are in DC again. Click HERE if you’d like to know more about the National Air and Space Museum, and with help to planning your visit.
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