National Air and Space Museum: Udvar-Hazy

In a rare occurrence, I took two children to a museum at the same time and we all enjoyed the entire visit.

Living in the D.C. area, we try to take advantage of access to all of these excellent, free museums. It’s easier to take a risk on bringing young children without a $50+ admission fee. But some trips, well, have been short. And even the best trips usually involve at least one person complaining.

Last week’s field trip to the Udvar-Hazy branch of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, however, was unanimously described as “AMAZING!”

Running B&W

They were so excited they didn’t want to slow down enough for me to read many signs, but kind employees and visitors talked to the kids about what they were seeing, which was probably more interesting for them.

They especially liked learning about the magnificent SR-71 Blackbird.

SR-71 Blackbird

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

I especially appreciated the design of the museum, the ways the aircraft are displayed and lit, and the use of height.

Planes and Height B&W

The view from the floor of the Steven. F Udvar-Hazy Center.

Upstairs

A bird’s eye view of aircraft from upstairs at Udvar-Hazy.

Rocket B&W

US Army B&W

Astronaut B&W

Space Shuttle Discovery B&W

Space Shuttle Discovery

Watching Launch B&W

Watching a launch near the rear of Space Shuttle Discovery.

When I was in elementary school, the teachers rolled TVs into our classrooms so we could see space shuttle launches live. My kids watched this video of Discovery (which is right above them) launching over and over.

Behind the space shuttle is this computer, on which my father-in-law (the real Sgt. Pepper) worked in California.

Computer B&W

UNIVAC 1232 Computer Tape Reader

We took pictures to send to him, of course.

Observation Tower B&W

Donald D. Engen Observation Tower

Visiting the observation tower, and watching the planes land at Dulles is always a hit. This day we had particularly clear and beautiful views.

Watching the Planes Come In B&W

The kids spy a plane from the Observation Tower

View of the Parking Lot B&W

After gazing at airplanes for quite a while and then visiting the gift shop, and having long ago passed our regular lunch time, I was prepared to head home. But the kids begged to get in line to learn to fly a Cessna.

Cessna B&W

Abigail uses the rudder to control yaw and the elevators to control pitch on a Cessna 150.

I mean, a museum trip doesn’t get better than that, does it?

Sound Effects B&W

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About rbpepper

Rebecca is an artist, writer, and photographer with degrees in Theater and Social Work, and is currently a Stay at Home Mom to her three kids. Some part of her house is always a mess, she lets her kids paint on the table and design their own costumes, and she makes excellent allergen-free cookies. She lives with her equally creative husband and children in a part of Virginia known for being "pretty close to Dulles Airport", and dreams of moving to an old farmhouse in New England.
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