Friday, June 11, 2010
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on Family Fun Friday
By Stephanie Kay
I have a confession. Space and airplanes hold very little interest for me. I find it terrifying, mind boggling and more than a little boring.
But on our recent trip to Washington, D.C. I knew I needed to compromise with my hubby and visit a museum that holds little attraction for me: the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
We originally planned to visit the one on the National Mall but when a rainy Sunday required a change of plans we decided to drive over to the Udvar-Hazy Center instead.
It's a part of the same museum but has different exhibits and is located near Dulles Airport (close to our hotel for the week). You also have to pay $15 to park but admission is free.
We looked at more airplanes than I can tell you about (or was interested in) and we ate lunch at the McDonald's inside the Museum.
Surprisingly, there were a few exhibits I found interesting.
If you enlarge the picture you'll see "Enola Gay" on the silver plane. This bomber dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. See, history (my interest) at a science museum!
Rather than just wander around the HUGE building, we joined a free tour about U.S. manned space exploration. Now that was interesting!
We learned all about the space shuttle Enterprise. Though it was the first space shuttle built it never went into space. Scientists used it as a test model and to develop technology. By the time they invented everything needed to make it go into space, it was decided building a brand new shuttle would be easier and cheaper than retro-fitting the Enterprise.
Also, it's builders originally named the shuttle Constitution (I think that's what the guide said). But so many people wrote in suggesting the name be Enterprise they changed it!
We also saw training capsules for the Apollo and Gemini missions. Very cool (again because of the history behind it).
Have you visited the Air and Space Museum? If so, what exhibit did you enjoy? If not, do you want to?