Opened to the public as part of the country's bicentennial celebration in 1976, this is the largest of the Smithsonian Institution's 20 museums. It is the most visited museum in the U.S., the second most visited museum in the world (behind the Louvre), and contains the world's largest collection of air and spacecraft as well as interactive flight simulators, an IMAX theater, and the Einstein Planetarium.
Over 60,000 objects connected with aviation and human flight are housed here such as the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk Flyer; Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis"; Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1 "the Glamorous Glennis," which broke the sound barrier; astronaut John Glenn's "Friendship 7" Mercury capsule; the Apollo 11 command module "Columbia," which carried the first men to the moon; the Apollo-Soyuz Hook-up; and Skylab.
As immense as the museum may seem, you are looking at only 10 percent of the entire collection. The remaining 90 percent is located at the Steven Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, which is the largest air and space museum building in the world.
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I love the fact that all the Smithsonian museums are free admission. The Air and Space museum is an all time favorite and I always feel like a big kid when I go visit. Highly recommended for children and adults of all ages!