January 2, 2013

Project DC: National Air and Space Museum

January is going to be a pretty hectic month for me since I have six interviews around the country, but I made it my mission to relax and unwind as much as possible before the craziness started. This basically included a lot of cuddling in bed and watching "The West Wing" on Netflix, but I started to get restless after a while and needed to get out of the apartment. I asked the hubs if we could venture outdoors, and we decided to be tourists for the afternoon and head to the National Air and Space Museum.

The museum is located on the south side of the National Mall and a short walk from the Smithsonian metro stop. As soon as we stepped off the train, I realized that we had probably picked the worst time to go to a museum-- a weekend afternoon. The tourists were out in full force, walking slowly and standing on the wrong side of the escalator. The walk to the museum wasn't too bad since everyone was spread out along the Mall, but the moment we stepped inside the museum, I saw how crowded it was. Children were running everywhere, screaming and bouncing off of other unsuspecting tourists, and large groups were gathered in front of the Gemini displays in the lobby, shoving each other and maniacally taking photos, making it nearly impossible to peak inside. The hubs and I looked at each other in terror but decided to continue on, anyway.

We decided to start with the "air" part of the museum and check out the flight exhibits. I was excited to see the Wright plane and the replica of Amelia Earhart's plane. They were pretty cool to see, though I have to admit that the exhibits were so crowded that it was difficult to read through all of the information without being shoved by a small child or overeager tourist.

Once we had our fill of the airplanes, we moved on to the space portion of our visit. This was the part I was most excited for, as I have always loved learning about planets and space exploration. There were some really awesome items on display, like the Mars Rover and Voyager replica. These exhibits were pretty crowded, as well, but I decided to take my time, anyway, and allow my inner (and outer) nerd to properly geek out.

The absolute best part, however, was the planetarium show in the Albert Einstein Planetarium. I have a teensy obsession with planetariums (okay, it's actually a huge obsession) and totally geek out during star shows. We saw "Journey to the Stars," narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. It was about the creation of the universe and more specifically, our galaxy. It was a very simplified version, but it was still interesting. There are lots of other shows at the planetarium, and I think I will definitely be back to see the others. 

Even though there were other space exhibits to see, the hubs and I decided to skip them and come back on a weekday morning when there are fewer tourists. I don't mean to sound cranky about this, but it's just that I find it hard to enjoy a museum when there are big, loud crowds. I much prefer to explore at my leisure without struggling to see the displays, so we'll have to keep that in mind when we pick our next museum visit (though the plus side is that with so many tourists, I could take as many photos as I wanted without sticking out). Overall, though, the hubs and I both really enjoyed the National Air and Space Museum, and we definitely recommend it to anyone who has an interest in aviation or space exploration.

Once we got back outside, the hubs and I were hit with a burst of motivation and decided to visit a few other landmarks along the Mall. That, however, is a post for another day! :)


Want to read more about having fun in DC? Follow along as I embark on Project DC:

1. Go to the Air and Space Museum.
2. Go for a leisurely hike in Rock Creek Park.
3. Go on a White House tour.
4. Buy DC artwork at Eastern Market.
5. Visit Old Town on a day trip.
6. Take a day trip to Annapolis.
7. Go to the Newseum.
8. Go back to Jazz in the Garden when it starts up again in the spring.
9. Go to the Holocaust Museum.
10. Eat at Ben's Chili Bowl.
11. See the FDR Memorial.
12. Take the hubs to the Lincoln Memorial.
13. Go to the National Portrait Gallery.
14. Go to the Corcoran.
15. Visit the Vietnam Memorial.
17. Go to more embassy events.
18. See a show at Rock & Roll Hotel.
19. See the drum circle at Malcolm X Park.
20. Mini golf at H Street Country Club.
21. Evening drinks at POV.