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“I now want an Airphibian...combo plane/automobile!” 4 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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$39*
and up
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Chantilly
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
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118 attraction reviews
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126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
“I now want an Airphibian...combo plane/automobile!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

We're from the West Coast and stopped by the museum with friends who live in the DC area. We spent several hours exploring the museum, took the guided tour, which I would recommend, and really enjoyed the few hours we passed here. We haven't been to the main museum near the Mall that is affiliated with this one but found this place to be one of the better airplane museums we've seen. The exhibits that likely bring the most crowds are the Discovery Space Shuttle, the Enola Gay, and the Lockheed Blackbird. The Discovery was really neat but several other favorites were lesser known planes such as the Airphibian (a plane with wings that detached to create a car), the Messerschmitt Komet with it's comical pygmy propeller, and the Aichi Seiran, a Japanese war plane designed to operate from a submarine.

We appreciated the free entry (though didn't appreciate the $15 parking fee...make sure to carpool or look into public transportation). Another option is to come after 4 pm when parking is free. Hours currently are 10 am to 5:30 pm everyday except Christmas (closed) so if you don't want a guided tour or to spend a ton of time here, you could probably be satisfied with seeing the museum in an hour and a half to save the parking fee.

We appreciated the large variety of exhibits available but did find ourselves wishing each exhibit had more space so we could better appreciate each one. We couldn't walk around each plane and found them to be displayed together in such tight space that some of the displays resembled just a jumble of wings, wheels, and airplane parts. I think we were in part expecting to find a more spacious layout, such as the Evergreen Air & Space Museum in Oregon. That being said, if you're in the area, it's worth a visit!

Visited December 2013
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Connecticut
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92 reviews 92 reviews
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47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Incredible number of exhibits”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

Great aviation museum. They have two complimentary guided tours daily - the guide was excellent. Also there is a observation tower where one can view the activity at the Dulles airport - we watched the Airbus 380 approach and land. They have a feed from the tower and we confirmed the arrival time of the Airbus 380 from the staff. The only restaurant facility is a McDonald's - it was fine. Good gift shop next door. The museum entrance is complimentary but there is a $15.00 parking fee.

Visited November 2013
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Carshalton, United Kingdom
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120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
“Well worth a trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2013

We drove to Washington from North Carolina and decided to drop our hire car at Dulles airport and stay in an airport hotel so we could visit the air and space museum the next morning, then go into the centre of Washington DC afterwards. That plan worked really well, but I would recommend this even if you are in DC itself and need to make a detour out here. Our hotel which was on the airport lot provided a free shuttle service to the museum; if you drive, parking costs $15 (though the museum is free to get in).

It took us about two and a half hours to go around; there is plenty to see including the space shuttle Discovery, Apollo 11 command module, a Blackbird spy plane, the Enola Gay - the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima - and Concorde. We didn't have a guided tour but did overhear bits of other tours and they sounded very interesting (I think they might be free but I'm not sure). There were a few exhibits that were manned eg a cessna plane I was invited to sit in while a museum worker showed me how to use the controls.

The only place to eat here is McDonalds - a very large outlet that appears to be working in partnership with the museum, as the only eatery in the other air and space museum on the National Mall in Washington DC is also a McDonalds (though the other Smithsonian museums have different options). There's nothing around the museum either so if you don't bring a packed lunch this is the only choice - which I don't have a problem with at all. In fact I quite like seeing how McDonalds in different countries have slightly different menu items, but it's worth knowing there is only a McDonald's so you know what to expect.

Visited November 2013
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Toronto, Canada
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62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Holy crap (worth the drive)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2013

Took 40 minutes of fairly pretty driving from Washington to Chantilly and it was completely worth it. I should mention, it's also do-able by public transit too. My original reason to go was to see an old IMAX movie I saw 30 years earlier (The Dream Is Alive). That was a fantastic memory for me, and a genuine pleasure to be able to see it on Virginia's largest screen. The first thing you see when you walk into the main hanger area are the SR71 Blackbird and the Space Shuttle Discovery lined up right before you. I was only able to spend about 2 hours there, but you could easily spend twice that amount of time and really enjoy. They have everything from the Concorde to the Enola Gay. The Air & Space Museum back at the Washington Mall is a great warm-up or tease for this place.

Visited December 2013
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“The leftovers for Air & Space are still excellent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2013

This is the spillover location for the collection of the Air & Space Museum. Highlights include a Boeing 707, a space shuttle, a Concorde, and lots of satellites. The collection does not include as many historical aircraft as the Mall location, but it is still an excellent museum. This place is huge, but very well organized. Don't miss the elevator to the tower which overlooks Dulles runways. The museum is free, but parking is not.

Visited July 2013
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