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Katie Baird from Tips for Family Trips shares her advice for visiting the Air and Space Museum with kids.
After enjoying a tour around the National Mall with Free Tours by Foot, you will have a few hours to explore the mall area. How do you decide which Smithsonian to visit?
Check out our kid-focused National Mall with Kids walking tour – a 1 hour walking tour and scavenger hunt to explore the memorials!
My top three choices for family-friendly museums on the mall would be the Air and Space Museum, the American History museum, and the Natural History museum. Today I want to tell you why you would love visiting the Air and Space Museum with kids.
I took my 3-year-old son to the Air and Space Museum this week. I wanted to visit again to check out the Spirit of St. Louis since I just read Bill Bryson’s “One Summer: America, 1927.” This book shares a lot of background about Charles Lindberg’s historical flight in May 1927 when he flew the Spirit of St. Louis nonstop from New York to Paris. The 33.5-hour solo trip was beyond gutsy.
The Spirit of St. Louis was designed specifically for this flight, and Lindberg did not want to be caught between a tank of gas and the engine in case of an emergency landing. So the plane designed with the gas tank in the front instead of a window. Lindberg flew the 3,600-mile flight with two small side windows and a periscope to see what was in front of him. I had to see this plane for myself, so I visited the Air and Space Museum where Lindberg’s plane is on display.
My son loved the airplanes suspended from the ceiling, the missiles and rockets, and the space ships. I loved how much aviation history I could learn as I wandered through the museum.
When my son got bored with my reading, we headed over to the hands-on “How Things Fly” exhibit. He loved playing with all the science demonstrations that explained thrust, air pressure, aerodynamics and more. Older children would have hands-on opportunities to reinforce their science lessons at the Air and Space Museum.
In the Air and Space Museum, kids can play with a flight simulator and walk through an airplane. If you need to rest, check out the IMAX theater or the Planetarium. Hungry? There is a McDonalds, Boston Market, and Donatos in the food court.
Looking for more things to do in Washington D.C.? Check out Tips for Family Trips Washington D.C. page for more great ideas.
Katie Baird is a family travel blogger at Tips for Family Trips. She lives in Fairfax County, Virginia, and blogs about all things related to travel. She has an adventurous spirit or she would never survive traveling with five children ages 3-14. Katie loves road trips, historical sites, and anything outdoors.