Number 10 on our Top Ten list of must see sites on a DC class trip and educational tour
Aviation and space exploration history is barely over a century old. Since the Wright Brothers first powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight in 1903. A new exhibit was created to accommodate the Wright Flyer as it is a delicate artifact it was a better location to best show and preserve it for visitors.
Then, Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic to Paris aboard the Spirit of St.Louis, Chuck Yeager would be the first to break the sound barrier with the X1. Neil Armstrong, among other pilots, would fly the X15 more than 6 times the speed of sound.
These milestones of flight would lead the way to space exploration. The Mercury program would see the first man go into space, then the Gemini would have 2 humans flying in space and these were rehearsals for the Apollo moon program which would have Armstrong and Aldrin land on the moon in July 1969. The command module -capsule- Columbia that carried them to the moon and back is also displayed. You can see the ‘Lunar Module’ in the main lobby. It was used to train all of the 12 astronauts who would walk on the moon from Apollo 11 to 17.
All of these aircrafts can be found in the lobby of the National Air and Space Museum. You can pretty much see all of them as you touch sample 70215, 84, a piece of a moon rock from Apollo 17.
The downtown museum is almost 40 years old and is currently undergoing a facelift and ongoing renovations will not disturb the displays.
If you have a chance to go to the Udvar-Hazy wing of the museum at Dulles airport you add these to your bucket list of commercial and military aircraft: The SR-71 Blackbird, the last Concorde to fly landed in Washington DC and also the space shuttle Discovery.
We recommend planning your educational tour and student class trip to the museum ahead of time. Start here by downloading the floor plan of the museum to make sure you see all the things you want to see.