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“The true Mecca of viation Museums”

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
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Private Customized Tour of Washington DC with US Veteran
Ranked #1 of 14 things to do in Chantilly
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Solomons, Maryland, United States
Level Contributor
341 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“The true Mecca of viation Museums”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013

As a regular visitor since late 70s to It the National Air & Space Museum on the Mall in Washington DC, I thought that outstanding display of aviation history would be impossible to equal. When I finally got to drop in on the sprawling complex located on the outskirts of the Dulles International Airport, I discovered that Udvar-Hazy is indeed the equal of the sparkling jewel on the mall which is limited to amount of aircraft it can display by size and quantity. Therefore, notable aircraft such as the B-29 Superfortress, SR-71 Blackbird and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. The interior is spacious enough to display these huge aircraft and then some. Second story galleries allow visitors to walk above the displays on ground floor and see suspended aircraft at eye level. The Smithsonian doesn't just display any aircraft, the examples on display are the history making examples such as the Enola Gay and Enterprise as well as a F-14A Tomcat that not only downed a Libyan MG, it also was upgraded to a F-14D Super Tomcat serving until the sunset of the Tomcat's service. There is also an observation tower that allows visitors to witness the busy flights in and out of Dulles, but the true magic is in the scores of aircraft on display. Access is far easier than braving DC traffic and parking is plentiful. Definitely worth a special trip and spending some time admiring and learning about the impressive collection unequalled anywhere.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Hey_Joe54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
249 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“So worth the trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2013

Stopped here on our way North on vacation and we absolutely loved this museum. Full size aircraft, including a space shuttle, is just awesome. The kids loved the lookout tower where you can see flights coming into Dulles Airport. Only thing I'd change is another food area that served something other than McDonalds. It's ok, but it was very crowded and just typical McD fare. The place is too nice to not have something else to offer. Will be going back when I get the chance to spend more time. With a 12 and 9 year old we didn't get to spend as much time exploring as I'd have liked.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Jeffrey W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
100 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Excellent for adults and teens”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

In the rain on Sunday July 28, 2013, I drove my granddaughters – ages 8 and 10 – 2 hours 12 minutes from Carlisle, PA to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center that we visited 11:48am-4:30pm. Eleven miles from Carlisle, we purchased delicious peaches and oatmeal/raisin and chocolate chip cookies at the Peters Orchards: then speeded up for the “roller coaster effect” on hilly PA-94. I interrupted the girls’ game of “mindcraft” on their iPads (They played “mindcraft” for days as I drove through CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD and VA.), with history stories about places we passed. In 1863 (150 years ago) prior to the July 1-3 Battle of Gettysburg, Confederates came to the Cumberland County farms for food supplies and some attended Sunday services at my church. 1879-1918 there was a Carlisle Indian Industrial School at Carlisle Barracks: former students, Jim Thorpe and Louis Tewanima won Olympic medals. Foreign dignitaries (Khrushchev 1959 and DeGaulle) visited President Dwight Eisenhower’s Angus cattle farm that is located adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield. We crossed the Mason-Dixon line between PA and MD that divided the slave states of the south from the free states of the north. Near Thurmont, MD, Camp David, the US presidential mountain retreat, had famous guests such as Sir Winston Churchill 1943, Margaret Thatcher 1984, and Vladimir Putin 2003. I purchased a $15/day parking pass and found a space near the museum entrance. The museum was not crowded: lots of BOY scout troops arrived in buses late day: fewer girls were in the museum. After security screening at the entrance on the second level, we obtained advice at the Welcome Center such as the scheduled landing time for the 853-passenger A380, the largest commercial aircraft. Accordingly, we immediately took from the first level, the elevator to the observation tower where you can see 25 miles and has live audio from Washington Dulles Airport of airplanes landing. Then we ate in the car our packed lunch –chickarina soup in thermoses, peanut butter & Nutella on Martins whole wheat bread, and water bottles. There is only a McDonalds in the museum. The girls entered a paper airplane flying contest; played a game at a Discovery Cart; went on the space walk 3D simulator ride ($7/person); went on the interactive simulator ride ($8/person) that frightened the 8-year old because it kept turning upside down. The Tour Desk on the first floor gave us several NASA bookmarks prior to the free 3pm 2-hour guided tour. The girls said they do not like tours because they don’t understand all the words. The guide said you can leave or rejoin any of the tours at anytime. I like tours and the guide was extremely informative. The girls agreed to go for the first space hanger room with the space shuttle Discovery, Canadarm Remote Manipulator System, applications satellites (included one, that I was surprised was so small, used for Sirius XM satellite radio in my car), etc. The 10-year old purchased a magnet with a space shuttle floating in the solar sky with “National Air and Space Museum” on the front ($6): the 8-year old purchased a stuffed monkey ($11) like those the US launched to space in the early days of its space program. When leaving the museum, the girls asked how far is it to Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, DC, their favorite place in the area: but that was for another day.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Mimi59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
47 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Mindblowing in Size and Aircraft Collection”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

My son is a history and military buff! He talked from the time we walked through the front door until we left and he only pulled out his phone to take pictures...not text!! The place is amazing. The SR-71 is unreal and the sense of history around all the aircrafts is just chilling. we must have stood around the space shuttle for at least 30 minutes just reviewing the tiles and thinking about all the liftoffs we've seen on television. They also have an amazing view of the tremendous work space where the aircrafts are refurbished and that was pretty compelling as well.

After seeing all of the museum I felt guilty that the museum was free and decided to make a contribution. A museum like that would typically cost $30.00 per adult for entry so I felt the least I could do was contribute something to the cause. We spent about 3 hours in the center and it was a thoroughly enjoyable time!

Visited August 2013
2 Thank RJS99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
288 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 203 helpful votes
“Well worth the effort!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

I really was glad I got out to Dulles to see this Museum. The Air and Space Museum on the mall is the greatest air museum because of all of the “firsts” they have, but the Dulles Museum is a must see for Aviation and Space Junkies! The museum has some unique aircraft; the Enola Gay which dropped the 1st Atomic Bomb, the Space Shuttle Discovery, an SR 71 and some other great aircraft. It takes a lot to get out to this place, but it is well worth the effort. The museum itself is free, but if you drive, parking is $15!!! I am really glad I made it.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank ben17a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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