The National Air and Space Museum is one of the many incredible attractions in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Step into the history of aviation and space exploration when you enter the museum. Get an idea of how it feels to explore and live in space and how it felt to fly the very first plane when visiting all of the amazing museum exhibits. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is home to more than 30,000 artifacts, dedicated to teaching each and every visitor the fascinating history of flight and space travel.
About the Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum was originally named the National Air Museum when it opened in 1946. The beginning of the space race in the 1950s eventually led to the renaming of the museum. The Air and Space Musem is the fifth most visited museum in the world and second most visited in the United States, with approximately six million visitors in 2018. The very first major artifact that was added to the museum was the plane used by the Wright Brothers on their first successful flight. As technology advanced, so did the collection at the museum. The Air and Space Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving and presenting aviation and space technology to the public. Visitors of all ages are welcomed by the museum and invited to learn more about the fascinatin history of air and space travel.
Attractions in the Museum
The Air and Space Museum is organized into several different exhibits dedicated to the history of flight and space exploration. The museum is made up of two floors and includes the museum store and the Flight Line Cafe. Besides the exhibits, the museum has an Imax Theater and the Einstein Planetarium that visitors can enjoy for additional costs.
The First Floor- The entrance contains the Boeing Milestones of flight hall where visitors can view a few of the most significant airplanes, spacecraft, and rockets in history. Such as the first American jet aircraft and the Bell X-1 which was used to break the sound barrier. Learn about how space and aircraft fly in the How Things Fly exhibit and about the space rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States in the Space Race exhibit.
The Second Floor- Learn more about the famous Wright Brothers and the invention of the first successful airplane in their very own exhibit. Get an up-close look at the very first airplane which is the centerpiece of the whole exhibit. Also, learn more about the lives of the Wright brothers, who they really were, where and how they worked, and what they accomplished. Also, explore how the evolution of timekeeping has influenced navigation in the Time and Navigation exhibit. The second floor also contains the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight exhibit. This exhibit features the Lockheed Vega flown by the famous Amelia Earhart and the Fokker T-2 which was the first airplane to make a nonstop coast to coast flight across the United States.
Know Before You Go
- The museum is open daily from 10am-5:30pm, every day except for Christmas. Visit the museum website for more details on extended hours during the peak season from March until August.
- The Air and Space Museum is completely free of charge. There are no admission fees to visit the museum.
- Parking on the street is free all day on Sundays. If you visit during the week there is typically a 2-3 hour limit on street parking and there are plenty of parking garages available nearby.
Tips For When Your Visiting
- Lines tend to be longest on weekends and the peak season. Dress according to the weather because you may end up waiting outside for a period of time. Bring water during the summer, it gets hot!
- Carry a limited number of bags. Every visitor is required to pass through a metal detector, speed up the process by leaving what you can in the car.
- If you want to skip the long lines, visit the museum about an hour before closing time. This gives you time to visit the exhibits without having to wait for extended periods of time.
If you find yourself with extra time, visit more of the beautiful Washington D.C! There are plenty of amazing attractions within walking distance of the Air and Space Museum.
National Gallery of Art- The National Gallery of Art is just one of the amazing art museums in Washington D.C. The Gallery is free of charge and open to the public every day except for Christmas and New Years day. View the amazing works of art including the only painting by Leonardo Davinci in the Americas and also take a stroll through the galleries sculpture garden.
The National Archives Museum-View the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives Museum. When visiting the museum learn more about the founding documents and enjoy interactive exhibits that allow you to touch documents in the Public Vaults. The museum also offers guided tours throughout for individuals and groups of up to 15 people.
National Museum of Natural History- Meeting your closest ancestors and uncovering the world of Ancient Egypt are just two of the exciting exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History. You can also walk through the beautiful butterfly pavilion and learn more about the beginning of life on Earth in the Hall of Fossils. The National Museum of Natural History is full of exciting discoveries.
**The Air and Space Museum is currently under major renovations. The museum is staying open throughout the seven-year construction with phased open and closing of the galleries, ensuring an amazing experience despite the renovations.**
If you would like to share your own experience at the National Air and Space Museum, please leave a comment! Also, leave a comment if you have any additional tips and advice for visiting the museum.