Smithsonian Offers Films and Family Fun This Winter at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Visitors and residents of Northern Virginia need look no further than the area’s premier attraction for activities this winter break. The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will offer something for everyone, from story times and in-depth tours to alternate-reality games and screenings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with costumed characters.
The Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Va., is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day of the year, except for Dec. 25. Free guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Visitors can see a number of new aircraft on display, including a Sopwith Camel and a VanDersarl Blériot. The Sopwith Camel, among the most famous World War I aircraft, downed 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter in WWI. The VanDersarl Blériot is a rare surviving example of a pre-WWI airplane and was built by two teenaged brothers with their own resources and ingenuity.
In honor of the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight, the museum will feature The Story of the Wright Brothers by Michelle Prater Burke at “Flights of Fancy” story time. The interactive story time takes place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in December at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. After the reading, guests can take part in a hands-on activity relating to the story. Young visitors can also participate in a self-guided “Animals in the Sky” scavenger hunt around the museum.
Visitors can experience more hands-on learning with “Smithsonian TechQuest: Race to the Moon,” a free, STEAM-based alternate-reality game. The game involves hands-on activities about launching a rocket, setting a course and landing safely on the moon. “Smithsonian TechQuest” is suitable for ages 10 and up and is offered Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center’s Airbus IMAX Theater will be playing Star Wars: The Last Jedi in IMAX and IMAX 3-D beginning Dec. 14, with showtimes available daily through the end of January. With a laser-digital projection system and a screen six stories high, the Airbus Theater is a stunning way to view the film. Interpretive actors from the Star Wars 501st Legion’s Garrison Tyrannus unit will make appearances during the first three days of the film’s release. Tickets are likely to sell out, so it is recommended to purchase tickets online in advance at si.edu/imax.
For a full schedule of activities this winter at the Udvar-Hazy Center and at the museum in Washington, D.C., visit the museum’s website at https://airandspace.si.edu/visit/events
The museum can be reached by car and by taking Fairfax Connector Route 983. Getting to the Udvar-Hazy Center is now easier than ever for Fairfax County students because of the Fairfax Connector Student Bus Pass Program at all Fairfax County high schools and middle schools. The program allows students to ride Fairfax Connector buses for free every day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more details, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector.
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: Holiday hours for the National Mall building are 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and are in effect Dec. 26–30, unless otherwise noted. Check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date times.
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