A few years ago when our teens were tweens we visited the Washington DC area for a family reunion. Along the way we were able to do some sight seeing including visits to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in DC and the even larger Udvar-Hazy annex near Dulles airport. Between the two museums we saw every era of flight from early Wright Brother’s craft to man’s mission in space.
Both parents and kids were fascinated by the many different types of aircraft on exhibit. The World War I and World War II vintage planes looked so small when we considered what a critical role they played in battle. Our son who is a bit of a military historian was particularly interested in these.
We were also touched by the sight of the Enola Gay, although it was probably more meaningful for mom and dad as their parents fought in and lived through World War II.
The largest planes are on display at the Udvar-Hazy which also features a mock aircraft control tower, an IMAX theater and an actual space shuttle! It also houses some amazing spy planes including the famous SR-71 Blackbird spy plane billed as the the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft.
We also saw a Concorde and the space shuttle but they were so big we couldn’t get very good pictures. Both locations do feature lots of space exhibits. You can touch moon rocks at the DC location and see many rockets and artifacts from the Apollo missions to the moon.
There are also examples of rovers being used on Mars today, which in some ways were more relevant to our kids since they have seen TV shows with video from Mars.
The museums could keep your kids busy for days as there are seemingly endless exhibits to explore. We recomment bringing good walking shoes, going with the flow and taking a break for a movie or to visit the Planetarium if you need to sit down for a while. As part of the Smithsonian, both museums are free although there is a $15 parking fee at the Udvar-Hazy.
We included this article in the Delicious Baby Photo Friday roundup this week. Stop by to find links to more fun travel pictures.