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“We thought our 12 yr old girls would be bored, but LOVED it!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

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 11 Attractions in Chantilly
Type: Science Museums, Specialty Museums, Museums
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“We thought our 12 yr old girls would be bored, but LOVED it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

My husband has always been an aviation fan, and I've always loved the Smithsonian museums, so we decided to take our 12 yr old girls to the Dulles branch of the National Air and Space Museum. They absolutely loved it!
We spent our entire day there casually strolling through all the exhibits, first heading to the Space Shuttle on display. It was amazing to see an actual space shuttle so close up. As one who remembers the tragic accidents the U.S. experienced in its shuttle fleet, it was incredible to be able to see the tiles that were designed to protect the shuttle. We loved seeing the evolution of space flight as well.
We enjoyed all the other galleries, too. It was easy for all of us to read the narratives that accompanied each item on display. The girls had fun, too, as we took photos of them pretending to be sucked into a huge engine or "holding up" many of the aircraft suspended from the ceilings.
After we watched an IMAX movie, we went back to watch two more! Although there was an extra fee for the IMAX movies, they were well worth it.
For me the best part was riding in a simulator with my husband. The simulators cost extra, but it was the best money we spent all day! It was so realistic, and my husband did not really have control of the "jet," so I alternated between screaming and laughing so hard it hurt!
The only negative was that the only food venue is a McDonald's, which doesn't exactly offer lots of healthy options. Also, the demand at lunchtime made the restaurant feel like a zoo.
Our girls talked about our day to family and friends for weeks, and we can't wait to go back, despite the nearly 3-hour car ride to get there!

Visited August 2013
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English first
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Aerospace Heaven!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

This beautifully maintained, superbly designed centre has a wonderful array of aerospace exhibits that chart aviation from its beginnings to the space shuttle. Real air and space craft are the stars - sitting proudly front and centre. The layout is great. There are many elevated viewpoints and abundant opportunities for photography. Free guided tours are frequent and led by knowledgeable docents. There's an elevated tower that looks onto Washington Dulles Airport and an IMAX theatre. A wonderful outing. Admission free, but $15 to park.

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Virginia Beach
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
33 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Great Air and Space Museum”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

Actually located next to Dulles Airport. Free to the public but you pay for parking until 4:00. Lots to see from planes to rockets to space craft. They have The Enola Gay B29, a Space Shuttle and even a Black Bird.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Worth the trip, something for everyone”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013

A well-designed, very accessible collection of some of our most significant planes, missiles, spacecraft. Whether it's the Shuttle, the Enola Gay, or the Concorde -- whether it's WW2 aviation or space adventures -- whether it's the human side or the science, this is an easily comprehended, well-organized array. You'll be touched and excited by the history that's visible there. Be sure to view it all from all levels. During busy tourist season, get there at opening and go up into the Observation Tower first. Can be done in 2 yrs., three is more leisurely.

Gift shop is limited and, except for the books, mostly young-child oriented. Food is McD's.

Visited November 2013
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Durham, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A gem of a museum!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013

Visited this huge museum over Thanksgiving weekend. Many people visited but because of its size, it did not feel overly crowded. The museum holds aircraft and spacecraft from the Wright's Brother's planes to modern satellites and jets. They are position on the ground and hanging at various levels from the ceiling. There are ramps and viewing areas so that you can see them from all angles. Lighting is wonderful as it highlights the colors and shininess of the planes. Just a few of the famous planes include: the Enola Gay, the Concord, the Space Shuttle, the Blackbird jet...... The museum also has an Imax theater and a McDonalds. Beware that the McDonalds will be very very crowded. Plan your visit so that you don't have to eat there. The museum has two types of simulated rides inside. One holds about 15 people and moves a little to simulate riding in a WWI fighter plane or a ride in the space shuttle. This is not worth the $7 price for the 5 minute video. Definitely avoid it. However, the other is much better. My 17 yr old son got to control a simulated jet fighter. EAch person gets their own simulator in which you can barrel roll while chasing the enemy planes. It is $8 for a 5 minute ride. He thought that it was worth the price. The rest of us lamented not picking the interactive simulator. One can spend hours in this museum reading all of the signs and looking at planes and accessories. It was quite enjoyable. The museum is free, however, the parking is $15/car. Depending on your route, you may also have to pay a road toll as well.

Visited November 2013
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