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Air & Space Museum

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Air & Space Museum

The Air & Space Museum is one of the essential stops on a visit to Washington D.C. It is the most visited Museum in the world for good reason, as exhibits like the Wright Brothers’ plane, the Apollo 11 command module, and IMAX movies never fail to captivate young and old alike.


The Air & Space Museum is the most visited museum in the world, but the cavernous building accomodates the crowds nicely. One hardly notices how many people are actually in the facility because most are engaged in viewing the exhibits that are suspended from the ceiling. Exhibits include the "Wright Flyer"- the original plane from Kitty Hawk, the X-1- the plane in which Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier, and the X-15- the fastest plane ever built.

The current exhibit of "Business Wings" doesn’t pack the punch of the other displays unless you’re looking for the latest in corporate jets, but it hardly detracts from the museum as a whole. Kids will want to check out the Langley Theater’s IMAX movies that are projected upon five- story high screens or see one of the shows in the Einstein Planetarium. Either of these activities will be a welcome break for parents, as on busy days the museum has few unoccupied places to rest. The show in the planetarium is a bit dry, but the experience of being in a planetarium makes up for it. Similarly, if you’ve never seen an IMAX movie you should take this opportunity to check it out.

Kids will enjoy the Sky Lab back-up that visitors can walk through as well as the actual Apollo 11 command module. There are over fifty interactive stations where kids and adults can learn about flight, most housed in the " How Things Fly" gallery.

Star Wars: The Magic of Myth is the current feature at the Air and Space Museum. It’s worth seeing if you’re a fan of the movies but might be old hat for real Star Wars junkies. There is a 15 minute documentary to start the tour that includes interviews with George Lucas and cast members interspersed with clips from the movies. The subject of the documentary centers on the process of transferring the idea of Star Wars to film, but is reminiscent of any interview with Lucas or the film in general. The fact that the documentary is shown in a room with no seats doesn’t help.

The exhibit itself consists of costumes and production models from the movies, including the model of the Millenium Falcon, Darth Vader’s costume and the Yoda puppet. Headphone devices that accompany the exhibit can be rented for $3.75 and will definitely enhance the experience.

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