Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by grannola on October 9, 2006

We went here because the 4-year-old studied rocket ships last year at pre-school. OK, I'm lying, we went so I could see the Enterprise from Star Trek. I had gone to the museum with my Mom when I was a teenager. We split up so we could both see what we were interested in, and met up at the door after an hour. When we met, she said "Did you see the Enterprise?", and I had not, so I've been waiting to get back ever since.

I had looked on the website before we left to make sure the Enterprise was still there (which it is), and where to find it. There had been a Star Trek display a few years ago, but it is gone now. The Enterprise though is hiding in the basement of the gift shop. Knowing where it was allowed us to enjoy looking around at the rest of the museum. The Air & Space Museum did not interest my kids nearly as much as I thought it would. They loved the American History museum, but this one was just OK.

There were not as many hands-on exhibits as some other museums. There are a lot of airplanes hanging from the ceiling, but they did not hold much interest for my kids. The spaceflight section was a bit more engaging, but still not the kids favorite. They did enjoy the space section a bit better. We got there less than a month after Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet, but the Smithsonian had already started fixing things to reflect that. There was a really neat "In Memoriam" sign that explained what happened.

Another highlight was the video narrated by 'Albert Einstein' in animation form explaining how Star Trek and Star Wars could not really happen because they break the laws of physics. They also have an IMAX theatre and a space simulator that have admission fees. One of our first stops was the rest room. There was a huge line that went all the way out the door for the women's washroom on the main floor. The 4-year-old had to go, so we waited. When we got to the second floor a few minutes later, there was no lineup at all.

At the end of the visit we made a trip to the gift shop to see the Enterprise. We also bought some Space Ice Cream for the kids to take home as a souvenir. By this time, we were all getting hungry so we decided to go to the food court. They have McDonald's and Boston Pizza in a large room attached to the museum. We walked in and the noise was so overwhelming we left. We decided that a hot dog from the vendor outside made more sense. It was a beautiful day and the hot dogs were $3.50 each.
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Independence Avenue At 4th Street SW
Washington, DC

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