Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - Chantilly, VA - Review

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

DISCLOSURE: I was not provided any compensation for posting this review.

An item on our bucket list this summer was to visit the museums in and around the DC area. It's been awhile since we've visited some and others, we've never had the chance to visit. One place we finally got to cross off our bucket list was the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. It's the companion facility to the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

We woke the kids up early, but didn't tell them where we were going. They really had no idea where we were headed. This trip came on the heels of a surprise trip out to Luray Caverns. So, I'm sure the kids were expecting another fun adventure. My husband gave them little clues along the way, but they weren't able to figure it out. My ten-year-old daughter was somewhat disappointed when she finally found out where we were going.

My boys, though, were excited. They like airplanes and rockets and spent the whole time oohing and aahing at all the exhibits.

Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk
The museum features two hangars: the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. There are planes and exhibits everywhere you look. Take the time to look at everything!

My kids had the most fun in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. Even my ten-year-old, who was complaining about not being interested in planes, took some interest in some of the exhibits.

At the center of the hangar is the Space Shuttle Discovery.  It was surprising how big it was!

My younger kids liked seeing an Astronaut's Spacesuit on display. They're fans of the Disney show, "Miles From Tomorrowland," so things having to do with space was interesting for them.

There were a lot of rockets and missiles on display. My 8-year-old son thought they were pretty cool.

The Udvar-Hazy Center also offers ride simulators and interactive flight simulators. The ride simulators are $7 and the flight simulators are $8. You can save $1 with the purchase of an IMAX ticket. My two older kids rode the 3D ride simulator and had a good time.

We also took the elevator up to the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower. It gives a 360 degree view of Washington Dulles International Airport and the surrounding area. Watching the planes take off from the airport was a fun way to end our day.

Views from the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower
There's a McDonald's at the museum, right by the museum shop. Outside food is not allowed in the museum. We ended up driving out to my sister's house for lunch, since she doesn't live too far away.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is open everyday, except Christmas Day. Admission is FREE. Parking is $15, but free after 4 pm. Regular hours are from 10 - 5:30 pm.

Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151

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