Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udval-Hazy Center

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14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA, USA

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udval-Hazy Center Chantilly Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
Air and Space Museum Annex Feb 07, 2016
Next to Dulles International Airport sits the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Annex, also called the Udvar-Hazy Center after the wealthy Hungarian immigrant who donated a chunk of money to finance its construction. The complex houses vintage aircraft that couldn’t fit inside the main museum in Washington, D.C., from a model of an early Wright Flyer to the retired Space Shuttle Discovery. In between are German and Japanese fighter planes from World War II, Huey helicopters that flew over Vietnam, an Air France Concorde and the infamous Enola Gay, the airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945.

The center is formed by two giant bisecting hangars, one of which holds the shuttle and other NASA spacecraft. There is a large area where you can observe the restoration work on the old planes through windows. An observation tower over the annex lets you watch the planes come in for landing at the airport and listen to the controllers from the actual control tower. There is an IMAX movie theater on site and jet fighter simulators that cost $8 a ride. I didn’t try any of the simulators so can’t say whether they’re worth the price, but the kids climbing out of them seemed pleased. Han Solo I’m not. Tours are given regularly by docents and there are volunteers throughout the hangars to answer questions.

Overall the center is an interesting place to spend a couple of hours if you’re into aircraft and the history of flight. A few downsides, however. Though the annex is free, it costs $15 per car to park (in other words, it really isn’t free). The only dining option is a fairly large McDonalds and there are no restaurants or even shopping centers in the immediate area. So if Big Macs aren’t your thing, grab lunch before you go (but you can watch the international flights come in for landing in the McDonalds‘ lounge). Finally, the lighting is dim enough that photography can be tricky. I took many photos but only a few came out that I would bother showing anyone. Still worth visiting for aviation buffs.
Observation tower
View from the observation tower
Looking for my flight in the obser…
Lots of airplanes
13 / 13 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Paulovic says:
Belated congrats on your featured review! :)
Posted on: Feb 11, 2016
WalterC says:
I always hate the extra cost of parking, in addition to admission. But still, I may want to check this place out.
Posted on: Feb 10, 2016
walterman9999 says:
When I was 7 years old I went to the Smithsonian Air & Space and Natural History museums in Washington DC and was very impressed.
They didn't break ground for Dulles Airport when I was there.
Posted on: Feb 09, 2016
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Africancrab Africanc…
777 reviews
Home to Retired Space Shuttle Discovery Jul 01, 2012
FREE parking after 4:00 pm was exciting news since we did not want to pay for parking. Located near Dulles Airport, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udval-Hazy Center opened in 2003 and was named in honor of its major donor. It is also a companion to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington; together they feature the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world. From Herndon, it is literally 10 minutes away, there was no reason for us not to go, besides I really wanted to see the shuttle discovery.

The museum features two large hangars; the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. The center piece here is the shuttle discovery which is drawing huge crowds. We spent most of the 3 hours at the museum in this hangar; other space artifacts we found fascinating were the mobile Quarantine Unit made from a manufactured home, the Gemini VII Space capsule, the Gemini heat shield.

The Timeline wall was quite engaging to me; it chronicles all major events in the history of the center, included are photographs to back up the information.

The Boeing hangar has interesting aircrafts like the retired Concorde, the first Boeing, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and the super fortress Enola Gay.

After all the exciting touring, if you get tired, hungry or thirsty, you can refresh at the food court, well more like the McDonalds next to the gift shop. It was a great afternoon for the entire family.
This was our exciting photo shoot …
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Udv…
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Udv…
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Udv…
Jackie128 Jackie128
1 reviews
Smithsonian Museum Sep 02, 2011
I decided to go to Washington D.C. to visit the musuems. I had a great time at the National Air and Space Museum. It was free to get in and very educational. Even though many people visit per day there is plenty of room to roam. You will have a great time learning about Amelia Earhart, the different planets, and much more. I really recommend that everyone at one point in their life visit this musuem as well as all the other Smithsonian's.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
brettjayhawk brettjay…
26 reviews
30 minutes is not enough in the Air & Space museum Oct 14, 2011
I figured it would be opened on the weekends till 7:30 like the Natural History Museum. Unfortunetly its open till 5:30 and showed up at a little before 5. You could spend a day in this museum if you were really into planes and space exploration. I got to see the wright brothers first airplane (1903 Wright Flyer). I got to see spy planes like the predator and Richard Bransons's first space plane Virgin Galactic.

The musuem also has the Apollo 11 command module which splashed back down to Earth with the astronauts inside. There are a bunch of space suits from the different missions. A random piece of history is the Original Star Trek production model of the USS Enterprise for the trekkies out there.
HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
A bit of a drive, but a nice extension of the DC Air and Space museum Aug 23, 2010
We wanted a day out of the city and came to spend the night in Chantilly, VA and to come see the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udval-Hazy Center.

It's free but the parking was $12! and there's no where else near by to park for free and walk.

It was nice, they sell Pan-am luggage bags and I'd get one, but they were expensive (90 bucks for an over the shoulder bag). There's a bunch of great planes in there-all the stuff that can't fit downtown including the Enola Gay.

Good for a half-day trip, but there's nothing else around there.
luvwatersports luvwater…
13 reviews
interesting airplanes from different times in life Jun 26, 2008
I'm not really interested in airplanes but my son wanted to go. It became interesting b/c of some of the ideas people had back in the days. There were huge planes to tiny ones. They weren't boring everyday silver planes we see everyday. Heck, one even had the a beer name on it. It only cost to park the rest is free and you may stay as long as you would like.
adventuremann adventur…
26 reviews
Jun 18, 2007
The new Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport is absolutely amazing. It features a gigantic hanger with hundreds of planes, an observation tower that looks like a control tower to watch the planes land and take off at Dulles Airport, and an IMAX movie theater.

One of the highlights of a visit to the museum is the Enterprise Space Shuttle. That's right. They have an original space shuttle. They also have a Concord, the SR-71 Blackbird (the fastest airplane ever: it flew from LA to Washington DC in 1:04.), and the Enola Gay. The museum also features one of the new Joint Strike Force fighters that are the next generation of fighter planes for all the American armed services, and the most expensive military planes ever built.

My son Gabriel, 3 1/2 years old, and I got into a flight simulator, where you watch a movie of jet fighters flying in dogfights, while the simulator moves and rolls as if you were inside the plane. For some reason he thinks we crashed into the ocean, and still tells everyone that we were in a blue plane that crashed into the water. It did make quite an impression on him!

The tours around the museum are excellent and very helpful. These are offered free, and are given by volunteers who often have flown the very planes that you see in the musuem.

One of the kids favorite places was the observation tower above the airport. We watched 747's, and commuter jets land and take off. On the deck below, you can hear a recording of air traffic controllers managing the airspace around Washtington, DC, along with a radar image of the movement of the aircraft.

The drive from downtown DC can be long, but it is definitely worth a visit. My only complaints are the $12 USD parking fee (seems high for a suburban area), and the McDonald's monopoly of the food court.

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