Aviation buffs who can’t get enough of the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall will want to make a trip to the museum’s annex, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located in Virginia near Washington Dulles International Airport.
The Udvar-Hazy Center, opened in 2003, displays many of the aviation and space artifacts that can’t be shown on the Mall due to space limitations. Among the aircraft you’ll find here are the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world; the Boeing Dash 80, the prototype of the 707; the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay; and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
Spend time watching flights land at Dulles Airport from the Donald Engen Observation Tower, or catch an aviation-themed movie, like Fighter Pilot or the Magic of Flight, at the Airbus IMAX Theatre (see web site for showtimes).
The center’s National Aviation and Space Exploration Wall of Honor is also worth a look. It serves as a permanent memorial to the thousands of Americans who have contributed to aviation and space exploration.
If you’ve got a long layover at Dulles, a visit to the center offers a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours without going all the way into Washington, D.C. It’s a quick hop by taxi.
Dining options are limited; the center’s only on-site food concession is a McDonald’s, open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
For more, visit: www.nasm.si.edu/UdvarHazy
Photos of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Annex
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Annex (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; closed Christmas Day. From May through September, the center is open until 6:30 p.m. daily (check web site for specific dates).
Admission: Free (but you have to pay for parking).
Parking: Daily parking is available at the Udvar-Hazy Center for $15. After 4:00 pm parking is free.
Metrorail: Not accessible by Metro.