When I was 7, my Mom took me to the National Air & Space Museum’s iconic planetarium. At the time, I had a major fascination with astronomy, and my Mom wanted to allow me to explore that then-passion of mine more. While I do not have as much of a HUGE passion for astronomy nowadays, I do still have a fascination and interest in it. SO, when one of my best guy friends James and I were thinking of a place to go in Washington, DC to catch up, I *just knew* that the National Air & Space Museum would be THE ticket!!
Getting there: The National Air & Space Museum is located on the National Mall, just alongside several other iconic Smithsonian Institution museums AND the National Monument, United States Capitol Building, and Lincoln Memorial – just to name a few. Its address is 600 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560. If taking public transportation, it is easiest to access via the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, located along the Blue, Green, Orange, Silver, and Yellow lines or the Smithsonian Metro station (which is what James and I did!) in the case that you want to take the more scenic route. You can also drive to the National Mall, too, but it can be more challenging and pricey to find parking there. Along with visiting the National Air & Space Museum, it is also very easy to visit the monuments, grab a bite at a food truck alongside the National Mall, and check out another Smithsonian Institution museum!
About: The National Air & Space Museum is one of the many FREE to visit & ICONIC museums located along the National Mall that are apart of the Smithsonian Institution. It is also well-known as the Air & Space Museum. This museum was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and it displays aircraft, missiles, rockets, spacecraft, and other flight-related artifacts. They also have an iconic planetarium to this very day, just like they did when I was a kid with my Mom! The Smithsonian museum was recently updated after undergoing renovations during the bulk of the COVID-19 pandemic and re-opened to the public in October 2022. To learn more about the National Air & Space Museum, look no further than here: https://airandspace.si.edu/
Planning Your Visit: In order to visit the National Air & Space Museum, you must reserve a free timed-entry pass. The purpose is free timed-entry passes is for crowd control. I highly suggest reserving your passes at least a few days in advance or seeing if there any available the day of that morning at 8:30 or that afternoon at 12:30 via the front desk. I didn’t have a problem reserving tickets for James and I just a few days before. It’s important to mention that many items, including knives, pepper sprays, scissors, and wallet tools, etc. are banned from all Smithsonian Institution Museums and Washington, DC sites, alike. To reserve your timed-entry pass, look no further than here: https://www.etix.com/ticket/e/1029945/timed-entry-washington-the-smithsonian-national-air-and-space-museum-general-public
James and I were IN AWE at the National Air & Space Museum!! Its remodeling has made it look absolutely STUNNING! We both started off by visiting an exhibit on the Wright Brothers and their invention of the aircraft/airplane and how aviation has evolved ever since they first took off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. As someone who went to college and has many close friends who are either from or still live in North Carolina, I LOVED getting to see an exhibit that had roots in North Carolina. It was also fascinating to be able to learn about the hard work that the Wright Brothers put into developing the aircraft and the legacy that they’ve left behind to this very day. The remainder of the exhibits that James and I saw were more focused on *none other than* astronomy (!!!). I LOVED getting to see an exhibit on the planets, space crafts that visited our galaxy – in REAL life!!!! – and learn more about how our world is connected via technology. James and I both had an amazing time.
Unfortunately, the planetarium that I knew and loved and still do was not open at the very precise moment which James and I arrived to try and take a peek inside. However, if we had thought more ahead of time, then we would have. Seeing the planetarium is definitely something on James’s and I’s bucket list for the future.
James has been a close friend of mine since high school. He has always been someone that I can count on in life and to have a GREAT TIME with. I am so so so glad that we got to spend time together at the National Air & Space Museum. As someone who frequents the National Mall and Washington, DC in general A LOT from Northern Virginia, I got James hooked on the city, too, and was very proud to have done so.
XOXO – Katie <3