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Video:Tips for Touring the National Air and Space Museum

with Heidi Dehncke-Fisher

The National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. is a popular tourist attraction with a lot to check out. Here are a few tips for your next visit to the National Air and Space Museum.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Touring the National Air and Space Museum

Hi, I'm Heidi Dehncke-Fisher, a video journalist with About.com. Here are some tips for touring the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

The National Air and Space Museum Is Extensive and Popular

It's a crazy Saturday afternoon on the Mall in Washington DC and Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is filled to the gills. One of the most popular museums in Washington, it houses an eye-popping collection of our history as humans in both the air and space. It takes several hours to cover the 22 galleries which feature everything from the earliest days in flight to man's journey into space and beyond. The Museum's collection began in 1946 and the Museum's Mall location opened in 1976.

Types of Objects in the Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum houses more than 50,000 objects. These include aircraft, spacecraft, engines, rockets, uniforms, spacesuits, balloons and artwork. Additionally, the museum maintains a large archive of historic manuscripts, photographs, film and documents, as well as a collection of NASA planetary images and data. So, whether you're a kid, an adult or a scholar, there's something here for you.

Hours of Operation and Admission

Since this is the busiest museum in the world, plan on arriving early or later in the day to avoid such enormous crowds, especially on the weekends or holidays. The Museum is open every day from 10AM until 5:30PM, except on Christmas. Like the rest of the Smithsonian, admission is free. The shows at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater or The Albert Einstein Planetarium cost extra. Feature film screenings are more expensive. All tickets can be purchased online. If you want to feel the action, the Museum also has flight simulator machines.

Extension of National Air and Space Museum

In 2003, the museum expanded by opening a companion facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, where additional objects are housed. Upcoming exhibits and theater presentations can be viewed at http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/coming.cfm. Many of the exhibits are also viewable online. The only permitted refreshment from outside is bottled water and there is a food court within the Mall location. The National Air and Space Museum is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and is accessible by car, though open parking on the Mall can be tricky. The closest MetroRail stops to the Mall location are L'Enfant Plaza and the Smithsonian stops. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is serviced by Virginia Regional Transit and tends to be less crowded.

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