on March 22, 2007
The National Air and Space Museum is quite possibly one of my favorite museums in all of Washington, D.C. From the beginning of aviation to SpaceShipOne, this museum is sure to be exciting for both adults and children. Planning Your VisitBefore going to D.C., you may wish to consult the National Air and Space Museum web site to get an idea which, if any exhibits are closed. As of March 2007, several exhibits including Jet Aircraft and the Civil Aviation hall were under renovation. Also on the website you can get the operating hours, special programs, make reservations for the IMAX theater, and guides to help orient you with the museum. Visiting the MuseumThere is a lot to see, and if this is your first time visiting, I strongly suggest you either sign up for a 90-minute tour or pick up a brochure upon entering. Also, it should be noted, just like everything else in D.C., there is a security checkpoint when you enter. There are several areas to explore of the museum. There are the main displays of aircraft in the long hall which displays some of the more famous aircraft to ever grace the skies. The Bell X-1, SpaceShipOne, the nose of a ex-Northwest Airlines Boeing 747 and more. Of course there are also spacecraft, ranging from early space capsules, a Apollo-Souyz display, various rockets, from World War Two era through the space race and to today. Of course there are many side galleries that are more specific. For example, there is a naval aviation section, and another meant to feel like an early 20th aviation exhibition. In addition to the galleries on various aircraft exhibits, there is also a temporary exhibit that is not Air and Space related on the second floor. It is called Treasures of American History and is on display here while the National Museum of American History is being remodeled. In addition to the displays, there is also an IMAX theater and a room that features various motion simulators. The IMAX films, like many others are a great experience, and the motion simulators should keep children happy. If during your stay, you become hungry, be assured there is a food court at the museum featuring McDonalds, Donatos, and Boston Market. Before leaving make sure to stop by the gift shop. They have a wide collection of museum and aviation memorabilia.
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