Washington, D. C. Day 5 Air and Space Museum

June 6, 2023 I got up early to see if I could get timed-entry tickets to the Holocaust Museum and I did, but Bob preferred to go to the Air and Space Museum, so I got timed-entry tickets for 12:00 today. We got going around 10:15 and drove down to the office to add more funds to our rechargeable cards for our last run into town today.

Then we drove to the Park and Ride and took the Metro downtown.

We walked a couple of blocks to the Air and Space Museum and waited for our time to enter.

We got into the line about 11:30 and the line grew longer behind us.

Promptly at noon, they started letting us in by checking our e-tickets and inspecting our bags. It went quick and easy. There were two floors in the museum with multiple areas of exhibits in each area.

We entered the main atrium and found planes hanging from the ceiling. This was a life-size replica of the T-70 X-wing star fighter from the Star Wars movies.

The Airbus 380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, was also hanging there. Bob was in 7th heaven reading all the exhibit signs about the planes. We started on the 2nd floor and worked our way down to the first floor.

Because they only let in so many people at a time with their timed-entry process, it wasn’t very crowded. We were able to move about easily.

There was a whole area based on speed–from motorcycles, to cars, to planes. There was also a section on aviation-related jobs.

Another area focused on the solar system and space exploration. We spent a lot of time there.

This was the actual Columbia command module.

My dad went to high school with James Lovell, an astronaut on Apollo 8. It was the first time in history that 3 astronauts traveled into deep space and around the Moon. Apollo 8 orbited the moon for 20 hours. James Lovell and the other 2 crew members of Apollo 8 were named “Men of the Year” by Time Magazine in 1968. I have never met James Lovell personally, but after he wrote his book, The Lost Moon, my dad got him to sign a copy for me at one of his high school reunions. It’s very special to me.

Another area was dedicated to early flight beginning with Orville and Wilbur Wright.

They had the real Wright flyer –the actual airplane built and flown by the Wright brothers in 1903. The fabric covering was replaced by the museum in 1985.

Another area focused on small planes and drones of all kinds for all kinds of jobs.

There also some unusual flying machines. This was the Airphibian which flew as an airplane, but could separate itself into two parts. The front would come off and become a motor vehicle and the propeller came off to get stored on the side of the plane. Can you see it in the picture?

This exhibit was of personal interest to us. We remember hearing about it in the news back in Wisconsin when we lived there. In 1994, KR Chegg reared 6 whooping cranes and taught them to follow an Ultralite (paraglider) from Baraboo, Wisconsin to a winter home in Florida. To train the birds, a person had to wear a long white coat and a hood. They even wore phony beaks to keep young birds from imprinting on people. Once they were old enough to fly, the birds were moved to Wisconsin where they would live until it was time to take off with the Ultralite and fly to Florida. The project was called Operation Migration in the hopes of increasing the crane population. It was quite an undertaking!

Larry Walters flew in his aluminum lawn chair using 42 helium-filled weather balloons to make himself airborne. This is his chair.

He reached a height of 16,000 ft. as he entered into the controlled airspace over Los Angeles. Facing freezing temperatures and lower oxygen levels, he popped balloons with a BB gun to establish a controlled descent.

The FAA charged him with violating the controlled airspace, flying without a balloon license, and operating a non-airworthy craft. We found that to be a very unusual story. We spent a little over 2 hours walking around the exhibits and our feet told us so, but we enjoyed our first visit to the Air and Space Museum. We walked the short distance back to the Metro station and on the way back we could see the Washington Monument through a hazy sky. It was from the smoke from the wildfires in Canada.

We had walked past this tree for 3 days and realized that the city was trying to attract the bees to a traditional beehive and get the bees to leave the tree. How cool is that?

We reached the Metro and were excited to rest our feet for the 30 minute ride back to the parking lot. We were 2 stops from getting off the Metro when someone slammed their cooler on wheels into the Metro doors as they were exiting causing them not to close. I don’t think it was intentional and they probably never knew that the train became disabled and wouldn’t move after they left. The driver kept trying to get the doors to close, by opening and closing the doors over and over, but no such luck. I was getting a little nervous and started thinking about how we could get back to the Jeep if we couldn’t ride the Metro. About 5 minutes went by when we saw some Metro employees approaching the subway car. They worked on the door for 10 minutes and finally got it to open and close properly. Thank goodness!

The driver tested the door a few times and then we were off. We got back to the Jeep about 3:00 and had to pick up a few items at Shoppers Grocery Store that we forgot to get yesterday. We were back at our campsite by 3:30, relaxing and watching some TV outside. We had dinner and took our walk to check out the premium tent sites. Each one had a gazebo with table and chairs, hammock, picnic tables, and raised tent pad. These were the nicest tent sites I’ve ever seen.

On our walk back, the tractor pulling a wagon came by filled with campers. They do this tractor ride every night during the summer. It is a nice idea and fun for the kids.

This is a huge campground with many amenities for the campers.

It is the closest campground to Washington, D. C. and very convenient to many things. They offer a few different tours like the one I took Sunday and have a bus that takes you into town for the day and picks you up again. They have a nice store, laundry, pool, splash pad, ballroom for large group activities, basketball court, dog park, exercise room, fishing pond, game room, golf cart rental, mini golf, cafe, walking trail, tractor ride, and movie night. They even have a dog walking service. This is our second time here and we would come back again. It is an A+ park in my opinion. We have had a good time visiting Washington D. C. and the weather here has been perfect. Tomorrow we are moving on to Wilmington, DE for 2 nights.

2 thoughts on “Washington, D. C. Day 5 Air and Space Museum”

  1. I was born in D.C., many, many years ago!
    The Air and Space Museum looks like the one we visited in Chantilly, VA near Dulles Int’l Airport, back during the Christmas season last year, while visiting my son and his family.

    1. bshaw16872@aol.com

      The Air and Space Museum was good, but the best one we’ve been to is the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL.

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