Washington DC Air and Space Museum
When I was in Washington, DC, I wanted to see their legendary Air and Space Museum. What I didn’t know was there are two different museums with equally interesting artifacts.
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution
This museum is one of the 21 Smithsonian museums located in Washington, DC. It contains all kinds of fascinating artifacts to the theme of Air and Space and includes one of my favorite pieces located at this museum, the X-15.
I could talk for hours about this one ship, but to summarize it in my own words: An experimental, manually controlled, hypersonic rocket, carried under the wing of a B-52, flown by moon landing Astronauts like Neil Armstrong, into Outer Space, almost a decade before the moon landing.
Parking can be difficult to find, but compared to other cities it is rather reasonable about $1.25/Hour. We parked at Floral Park and walked to the National Mall, 1540 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
On our most recent trip we stopped at the second location in Chantilly, Virginia a few miles outside of Washington, DC.
Since this museum isn’t crammed into the small area inside of DC, there is plenty of space for some very big artifacts. Here are a few highlights that we found the most interesting:
Space Shuttle Discovery
RedBull Stratos Capsule
As well as hundreds, if not thousands, more.
What we did wrong: I got excited and wanted to save the SR-71 for last, in an attempt to build up to the plane I’ve been wanting to see for years. So I didn’t follow the path that was designed for the museum and had to backtrack several times.
What we did right: We got there early, and we didn’t have anything scheduled for after. So we could take our time and really dive into the history. We spent about 4 hours and could have spent more.
Entry is free, but parking is $15.
They also have an area in the back where you can watch the staff restoring new additions to their collection.