The Air and Space Museum, Washington DC (by Robert)

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After an enjoyable ride on the interactive simulator at the Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
After an enjoyable ride on the interactive simulator!

I love outer space, I think that it’s fascinating learning about the planets and galaxies beyond earth, so I greatly enjoy visiting places about that topic. You might recall me going to Space Camp in Florida or exploring the National Space Centre in Leicester, both of which I really enjoyed. So I was thrilled when I heard we were going to the Air and Space museum when we went to Washington D.C. Although we didn’t spend a whole day there we were there for quite a few hours and I saw and did so much. Here are some of the reasons why I liked it so much.

As you go in you are surrounded by hundreds of different aircrafts, some dangling from the ceiling, while others are displayed on the ground. We all had no idea what to look at so we just picked the nearest plane and read the explanation. Some of the vehicles had the most amazing stories and I especially loved looking at the various machines used for space missions. There were loads of exhibitions on so many different things and I barely sunk my teeth into the majority of them, but I loved the ones I did see.

Wright Brothers Plane at the Air and Space Museum, Washington DC, as seen on the Family Travel Times blog
It was fascinating finding out about the oldest planes and the Wright Brothers

One of my favourites was a room about the Wright Brothers it explained all the ideas behind their revolutionary machine, explained the preparation leading up to the first proper flight and displayed the real plane that was created by Orville and Wilbur all those years ago. I also loved the exhibition on planets and enjoyed a room full of scientific interactive activities. I was amazed by seeing the Spirit of St Louis which was the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic, and loved going inside a replica of one of NASA’S rockets.

Jess standing next to the Spirit of St Louis
Jess standing next to the Spirit of St Louis, the first plane flown across the Atlantic, by Charles Lindbergh

The IMAX cinema is great, there’s a large variety of films on different topics but be careful as they might not be showing the film you want to see again on the day you go. I saw a brilliant movie about how NASA are planning on sending astronauts to other planets in the Milky Way like Mars and how the rocket will work. Also in the giant IMAX theatre Jess watched a film all about dark matter that she really enjoyed.

There are two simulators to try out, they do cost money but they are great. There are two to choose from – one where you watch a film and are moved about or another (which I went on) where you controlled the aircraft. It was the best simulator I had ever been on as you could literally spin upside down at any moment just dangling from the ceiling or be tilting down on your side. It is a bit complicated to shoot the other planes so I just enjoyed steering my plane. It is a bit scary at first but BRILLIANT. You can more about what I thought about it in the soundcloud audio I made and the video above too.

Overall it was fantastic there was so much to do. I had so much fun and came away with a pair of astronaut socks and a NASA teddy bear not mentioning some space food that Jess gave me. It was a  fantastic museum and a great day out. I’d love to go back.

The Air and Space Museum is part of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, and all are free to enter. It is located on the National Mall and is huge, so leave yourself lots of time to look around! We also bought tickets for the IMAX theatre which cost $9 per adult and $7.50 per child. You should check the timings of these and look into booking in advance if there’s one you really don’t want to miss. There are a number of different simulators – the interactive one costs $8 or $7 with an IMAX ticket.

Read what Robert did at Space Camp at Kennedy Space Center

And nearer to home: read about the space museum in Leicester

Plus: find out what else we did on our trip to DC.

MummyTravels
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26 Responses

  1. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    This sounds fantastic – I am fascinated by space (my absolute dream would be to travel there) so this sounds perfect when I finally make it to Washington DC. I wonder if the space food tastes any better than the dehydrated ice cream I got decades ago from Jodrell Bank? #citytripping

  2. Globalmouse

    This looks absolutely brilliant and my three would all really enjoy it I think, I would also love the room about the Wright Brothers and I love that they have that there.

  3. Jen

    My boys would LOVE this. They want to go to Kennedy in Florida and we are looking to sort it in the near future

  4. Michelle

    I’ve always been fascinated with space and space travel. Have been to both Kennedy Space Centre and Johnson Space Centre – they blew my adult mind! Looks like this is a must visit place if ever in the DC area.

  5. EatWorkTravel - Brian

    Sounds like a fantastic trip. We recently visited the Johnson Space Center in Houston and were really intrigued with the history of space exploration. We will certainly have to check out the Air & Space Museum the next time we are in DC.

  6. Hannah

    I went to a space camp in Montreal with school when I was a kid and it was one of the most fun experiences ever! This one looks pretty awesome too.

  7. Becky

    I’ve never been a huge fan of this museum (just not my favorite theme!) but I had no idea there were simulators there. What a cool addition to otherwise static displays.

  8. Wander Mum

    This sounds brilliant! Seeing the first flying machines would fascinating and I’d love to go in the simulator as well as learn more about space and space travel! Thanks for linking up to #citytripping

  9. Robin

    We’ll have to make this a stop on our next trip. We loved the Spy Museum on the last visit, but it is hard to do more than one in a day.

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