The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC

A few weeks ago my family and I visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, which is less than 2 hours away from the Philadelphia area. The other bonus for your 2 hour drive is admission to the museum is FREE! And if your are patient you can score a free parking spot on the mall area.

The Air and Space museum is a lot of fun, we started out on the second floor at the museums newest gallery called Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight. This gallery contains an assortment of vintage aircraft.

Things to see here include the Fokker T-2, the airplane that made the first nonstop, coast-to-coast flight across the United States; the Douglas World Cruiser Chicago, which completed the first round-the-world flight; a Lockheed Sirius flown by Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and a Lockheed Vega flown by Amelia Earhart; the Explorer II high-altitude balloon gondola; and "Black Wings," an exhibit on African Americans and aviation.

My family's favorite was the Sea-Air Operations. We loved watching the simulation of the planes taking off and landing on the air craft carrier. You step inside this scaled-down re-creation of a hangar deck bay. The surrounding structures and equipment are from an actual aircraft carrier.

Something for older kids to try is the motion simulator where they can experience the thrill of flight, fun and adventure. You can choose from a Space Walk, Cosmic Coaster, F-18 Experience or Wings simulations. (these do have a fee associate with them)

Kids will also enjoy the How Things Fly gallery. This is very hands on and a great place for the kids to learn how things fly.The exhibits invite you to push, pull, press, lift, slide, handle, touch, twist, turn, spin, bend, and balance. Kids can explore the nature of gravity and air, how wings work, supersonic flight, aircraft and rocket propulsion, flying in space, and more. They can also climb into the cockpit of a Cessna 150 and take the controls.

They have demonstrations that take place throughout the day the kids can participate in. While we were there the kids got to make paper airplanes and play around with different ways to make them fly perfectly.

There is also an IMAX theater that shows different movies throughout the day. You do have to pay a fee to go to the IMAX.

The food court at the museum has a McDonald’s, Boston Market and Donatos Pizzeria. Or you can pack your lunch and eat on the National Mall.

Here is a video of what we saw: