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Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA 20151
703-572-4118
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Ranked #1 of 10 Attractions in Chantilly
Type: Museums, Specialty Museums, Science Museums
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction Details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Jacksonville, Florida
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great for everyone”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

This museum is really cool. The inside has shuttle and airplane pieces. Everything you could ever want to know about air and space is inside the museum. Every student should visit it. You can go inside some of the shuttles and airplanes. Sit down videos and simulations.

Visited November 2012
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Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Machines that go through the air and space”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

A great many air and space craft thoughtfully arranged. The time period covers the 1700s (ballons) through the space shuttle.

I spent three hours and enjoyed myself. It takes time to go through and soak in the details so plan accordingly. The day I was their, the Friday after Thanksgiving, the docent led tours were canceled. I think I'd try and go on a day when they were on.

To get much substantive out of the visit requires some knowledge of aviation. While at the museum you will not learn much if anything about why things fly. I didn't see any discussion about lift for example. Much less any discussion how rockets, airplanes, kites, balloons, and satellites differ in why they stay off the ground. For example, why is it interesting that the Germans developed a jet without an elevator? You will not find the answer here yet it could be worked into the exhibits.

The gift shop could be enhanced. The focus is on selling souvenirs such as clothing, coffee mugs, wallets, plastic models fully formed. I believe this is an opportunity wasted. How about selling a model of the Wright Flyer you could build from balsa, string, and paper? How about a model rocket you could build and launch? Neither of these need cost $ 15.00.

How about a plug for the NAR (National Association of Rocketry), the members (which include teenagers) build and launch rockets for a hobby. Perhaps a mention of how to get involved in model aircraft built and flown by kids as well as adults. All of these things are doable by children in their early teans, need not cost a lot of money, teach real skills, and are fun!

Perhaps even a shout out for the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) who's members build and fly real aircraft that carry people in them? Experimental aircraft are shown, it would be easy to work something into the exhibit indicating building an aircraft is something motivated teenagers can and are doing with adult supervision.

Also, letting children in their late teans know they can legally solo an aircraft when they are 16 years old, and even act as pilot-in-command at 16 (gliders and balloons) and 17 (powered aircraft) might motivate them to work towards goals more ambitious then wearing a T-shirt.

Full disclosure: TripAdvisor asks if their is a fee for the museum, I clicked no because their is no fee to enter. However, parking is $ 15.00 per car. I don't know how to avoid that, their does not apear to be public transportation to the museum. If this is important to you, you may wish to investigate.

Visited November 2012
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Saint Augustine, Florida
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Air & Space Museum”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

If you're a fan of aviation, this is a place you don't want to miss. Plan to spend at least 2 hours, more likely 3. One of the very few Space Shuttles (Discovery), a Concorde supersonic airliner, many one-of-a-kind WW2 aircraft, and much, much more are on display. What did I like? Everything. What did I dislike? Nothing.

Visited November 2012
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Big Can Be Beautiful”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

I live near the museum but only went to one of the opening events years ago. This time I went with cousins, one of whom acted as a docent. He knew so much! It is much more fun being well informed about what you are seeing. The big hulking aircraft come alive. Just learning that the 1950's spy plane which greets you as you enter was designed with a slide rule [if you are under 30, look it up!] rather than with computers was sobering. Skip the trip up to the observation tower unless you have never seen countryside before - takes to long to go up and get down. And the planes taking off and landing from Dulles do not get that close to make it fun. [Better to go to Gravely Point off the George Washington Memorial Parkway and see the underbellies of planes as they take off from National Airport.] Coffee at the McDonalds is $2.50 - a tad pricey to my mind but you are a hostage consumer. Do go up and down the ramps for splendid views of the aircraft from the various angles and sightlines. It is a big place with really large pieces - which go across many decades. The place is a WOW. Almost forgot - in the spirit of "no suprises" - parking is $15. There is no alternative place to park unless your chauffeur drops you off and collects you later on. Admission is free.

Visited November 2012
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Bristow, Virginia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Too Much Money for Too Little Experience”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

This would be a very good museum if you did not have to pay so much for parking, outrageous. I understand they don't want the airport crowd to park there but it is far enough from the airport to avoid that. $6 would be more reasonable.

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