Museum of Flight, Washington

The Museum of Flight, home to more than 150 historic planes, spacecraft and related artifacts, celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015. It offers an interactive experience for aviation enthusiasts and families at each of its main areas: the Great Gallery, the Tower at Boeing Field, the Red Barn, the Personal Courage Wing, the Space Gallery and the Airpark.

Start your adventure with a 30- or 60-minute guided tour of the Great Gallery. Walk among the reproductions and aircraft, ranging from an 1896 biplane glider to the popular M-21 Blackbird spy plane. Indulge your Red Baron fantasies by climbing into the cockpit of an SR-81 Blackbird or an F/A-18 Hornet.

If feeling adventurous, check out the X-Pilot simulator and take the controls. Fly a jet fighter or a WWII combat plane, engage in a dog fight, doing loops and 360 degree rolls. The 13-seat 4D-X simulator is tamer with 3-D graphics and some motion.

Space Exhibit Area 

In the space exhibit areas, marvel at the advances from Sputnik to the Mars Viking Lander, explore a full size replica of the International Space Station’s Destiny Research Lab, pilot a lunar module and try your hand at space docking, using the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

Visit the Tower to learn about flight and air traffic control and listen to real-time communications at King County International Airport, adjacent to the museum.

The Red Barn houses Boeing’s original manufacturing plant and early aircraft designs plus the beginnings of commercial aviation, including early ads from airlines extolling their new aircraft and on-board services.

Walk among 18 WWI aircraft and 10 WWII fighter aircraft, read stories, watch films and enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Personal Courage Wing.

Take the walkway bridge to The Space Gallery where you can climb onto the full-scale mock-up of the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, more than 100 feet long and four stories high. The gallery also houses a Russian Soyuz space capsule plus artifacts from recent space flight ventures.

Two of the most popular exhibits are in the Airpark: the first Air Force One (used by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon) and a Concorde. Stroll down the aisles, sensing their history, and as throughout the museum, there are docents available to answer your questions.

The web site has information about weekend lectures and special events and exhibits  including the acquisition of a 787. museumofflight.org

Published – Jan 2015 NW Travel Magazine   http://nwtravelmag.com/?s=museum+of+flight

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