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Free Summer Events at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

Family Staycation Activities Abound at the Museum’s Virginia Location

June 2, 2017

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., will host family-friendly activities throughout the summer to meet every staycationer’s needs. The popular “Innovations in Flight Family Day and Aviation Display” will return June 17. Visitors will learn about science behind the total solar eclipse that will cross the United States later this summer at Your Eclipse family day July 15. Movies, story times and Smithsonian TechQuest round out the summer activities and ensure there is something for every age group.

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Aviation Display” will explore the engineering and design innovations that have taken place during the last century of flight. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk among more than 50 vintage and modern aircraft on display outside the museum and speak with the pilots. Aircraft highlights include a U.S. Marine Osprey, a Navy P-8 and, in celebration of the U.S. Air Force 70th anniversary, an F-16, C-17 and helicopter. A “wide-body” commercial plane, helicopters and antique cars will also be on display. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early so as not to miss the B-2 flyover in the afternoon.

At “Your Eclipse” family day, July 15, visitors will learn the science behind solar eclipses, participate in hands-on activities and will receive information needed about how to safely view the spectacular natural phenomenon, the solar eclipse that will take place Aug. 21.

Each of the summer family days take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free to the public, but parking is $15 at the Udvar-Hazy Center. To learn more about family days at the museum, visit the museum’s website.

“Hollywood Goes to War: World War I on the Big Screen” also continues through the summer in observance of the World War I Centenary. This curated selection of films explores the most visually striking and engaging dramas about WWI and spans from Academy Award winners to recent documentaries. Summer dates are June 16, July14 and Aug. 11. More information and free tickets are available at

Band concerts and ongoing activities including story times for ages 3­–8, Making STEM Magic for ages 7 and older and Smithsonian TechQuest for ages 10 and older are available all year. Specific dates and times for each program are available at

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. The museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking before 4 p.m. at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Note: Summer hours for the National Mall building are in effect until Sept. 9, unless otherwise noted, are 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date times.


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Alison Mitchell  
(202) 633-2376

Nick Partridge  
(202) 633-2374

Airplanes parked on runway for Aviation Day
Related photos: 

Become a Pilot Day

Child wearing red cap in airplane cockpit

Dane Penland

Become a Pilot Day: June 19, 2010 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center.

Photo by Dane Penland, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Related photos: 

Innovations in Flight Day

Visitors exploring planes parked on runway

National Air and Space Museum

Visitors look at the airplanes on display at the 2015 Innovations in Flight Family Day and Aviation Display.

Photo courtesy National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Related photos: 

U.S. Air Force Band

Air force band, cornet player in foreground

U.S. Air Force

The United States Air Force Band performing at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

U.S. Air Force photo