The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the sister site to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. Together, they house the world’s largest aviation and space collection. The Udvar-Hazy Center is annexed to Washington Dulles International Airport, and contains rare artifacts of aerospace like planes, rockets, and satellites. Some of the highlights include the Space Shuttle Discovery, an SR-71 Blackbird, and the Enola Gay. Check their calendar of events and see what's happening when you plan to visit. Open every day except December 25 from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm Admission is FREE but parking costs $15 before 4:00 pm. After 4:00 pm parking is free.
1. Take a Tour
Free tours, led by our docents (volunteer guides) highlight the Museum's collection and trace the history of air and space travel. Tours are open to everyone and depart daily from the Tour Desk, located by the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Our docent corps is made up of knowledgeable volunteers, including former NASA employees, pilots (some of whom flew aircraft in our collection), engineers, and historians. Groups of 20 or more adults can reserve a tour. (Two-weeks advance notice is required). Groups of 10 or more students can reserve 60-minute tours. (Three-weeks advance notice is required).
2. Ascend and Observe
The Donald D. Engen Tower provides a 360-degree bird's eye view of Washington Dulles International Airport and the surrounding area. From here, you can watch planes land and take off from the nearby airport. The tower is named in honor of late director of the National Air and Space Museum Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen. Exhibits on two levels of the observation tower explain how the U.S. air traffic control system works. The lower level has an air traffic control workstation, equipment, and artifacts. The observation level has an exhibit explaining the basic features of an airport.
Ever wonder what it's like to do a barrel roll while racing through enemy fire? Or what the view is like from the International Space Station? Take a ride in one of our simulators and find out how it feels without ever leaving the ground. The Ride Simulators include "SpaceWalk 2004 3D" where you ride aboard the space shuttle, "Wings" A fast-paced ride through the history of aerial combat, and "Cosmic Coaster" where you go on a spacey white-knuckle ride like no other. The Interactive Flight Simulators let you fly jet-age combat sorties where you control the action and perform 360-degree barrel rolls! Try your skills at air-to-air combat in an F-4 Phantom II jet fighter. No reservations are required but riders must be 42 inches tall for Ride Simulators unless accompanied by an adult, and riders must be 48 inches tall to ride the Interactive Flight Simulators.
4. Take Movies to the IMAX
The Airbus IMAX Theater at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is among the first theaters in the world to feature IMAX's new laser projection system. The dual 4K laser projection system with a 12 discrete channel sound system provides audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest, and most vivid digital images ever combined with a whole new level of immersive audio. The future of movie technology is here!