Back in March I made a deal with my son. If he went on the field trip at school (missing a Space demonstration) I would take him to a Space Museum. The things we do to get our kids to go to school. His only stipulation was “not just any Museum, Mom, it HAS to have something special”. Right! After searching the internet I found a place claiming to house a real life size Space Shuttle within it’s walls. WHAT?! I messaged the tourism board asking if this was in fact the case. Folks, let me introduce you to the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution in Fairfax, Virginia.
We loaded in our vehicle and headed to Fairfax, Virginia (roughly 6.5 hours drive). I never mentioned where we were going just said I was fulfilling my end of the bargain. Interested in our full itinerary while in town?? Go check it out HERE.
When we first walked in my son was pretty overwhelmed.
“These exhibitions examine the history of powered flight and space exploration. From the first flight of the 1903 Wright Flyer to the first images of Pluto provided by the New Horizons spacecraft.”
My first impression was: “WOW”.
“The restoration hangars are filled with 195 history-changing aircraft, 150 spacecraft and satellites, and thousands of other artifacts.”
It was hard not to “lost in space”…with so much to look at. He did not even see the Space Shuttle at first. We walked down to the Space demonstrations, snapped a few photos by some artifacts including this astronaut suit, pictured above.
The stunning Space Shuttle Discovery is pretty hard to miss though!
Fun fact: My friend ( a fellow writer over at Capital Moms), who accompanied us, watched this Space Shuttle fly in on top of an airplane!!
After 39 successful flights for NASA, this beauty is retired within the Museum walls for everyone to enjoy. Let me tell you it was the highlight of our trip! Definitely worth the smile plastered all over my son’s face. I am a strong advocate for reading but somethings were meant to be SEEN in person!
Books, photos and words just do not do this place/aircraft/experience justice.
Did I mention the National Air and Space Museum is FREE? I honestly had no idea until we entered and could not find the ticket counter. Might I recommend if you do have little one’s grab a “Scavenger Hunt” at the Customer Service Counter. The seasoned local had never grabbed one before either (ha) but let me just say the kids loved it!
If you are in Fairfax County, Virginia or maybe looking for a Space Museum with “Something special” this my friends is the place to visit! Family-friendly, knowledgeable staff, educational classes, tons of things to see/do and it’s handicap accessible!!
Have you ever visited a Air & Space Museum??
Do you have a favorite Space Memory??