The National Air and Space Museum located on the National Mall is our favorite museum to visit with our son. Like most young children he loves all airplanes and space ships and rockets and helicopters and, well, anything that can fly. There are actually two Smithsonian Air and Space Museums, one in Chantilly (the Udvar-Hazy Center) and one on the National Mall. The National Mall location is easy to get to and has a lot of great exhibits. The Udvar-Hazy Center is AMAZING. If you can make it out there, I highly suggest it. The place is just massive, I mean it has to be when you have the Space Shuttle there (and literally 100’s of other planes). Both museums are free, however the Udvar-Hazy does charge $15 for parking.
Eilam liked the museums last year but they are much more fun with a 3 & 1/2 year old then a 2 year old. He is interested in learning about some of the exhibits and talks about what we are looking at. The museum in DC has both a Planetarium and an IMAX theater. The 10:30 showings at the Planetarium are free. On Fridays the show is One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure. This was a great show featuring Big Bird, Elmo and another one of Elmo’s friends. Eilam loved learning about the sky and stars and landing on the moon. This last visit we were there a little over an hour. If you have never been before, be ready to spend a couple hours.
The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly (about 30-40 minutes from DC depending on traffic) is an absolute massive complex housing the Space Shuttle Discovery, a Concorde, the Enola Gay, an SR-71 Blackbird, a replica of an air traffic control tower and much, much more. We have barely touched the surface of this museum and we have been twice. If visiting the area and you can swing a visit, I highly suggest it.
Where: Independence Avenue at 6th Ave SW, Washington, D.C.
How to Get There: L’Enfant Plaza metro (orange, blue, silver, yellow, green) exit the 7th and Maryland, walk one block towards the National Mall, cross Independence Ave and the building will be to your right. There is an entrance along Independence and along Jefferson facing the National Mall.
Hours: 10am-5:30pm (7:30pm during summer months)
Where: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly VA 20151
How to Get There: Since it’s not in DC please check out their website for directions.
Hours: 10-5:30pm (extended to 6:30 during summer months)
Cost: FREE admission ($15 for parking)