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“We thought our 12 yr old girls would be bored, but LOVED it!”

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
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$240.00*
and up
Private Customized Tour of Washington DC with US Veteran
Ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Chantilly
Certificate of Excellence
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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!

2  Thank MandMandMe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,281 - 2,285 of 3,642 reviews

Reviewed December 3, 2013 via mobile

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.

1  Thank Garatshay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013 via mobile

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.

1  Thank ACJC7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

Thank Chappedheel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

Thank Jayne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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