The National Air and Space Museum showcases the history of aviation and space exploration, including the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer and Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis, the Friendship 7 and Apollo 11 command modules, and large-format movies in the IMAX cinema. Its Udvar-Hazy Center, at Dulles International Airport, has one hangar devoted to aviation exhibits, the other to space, including the shuttle Enterprise. A tower allows visitors to see real-time traffic at Dulles and experience a modern air-traffic-control facility. NASM on the mall has a shuttle bus here.
To view the surrounding area, take an elevator to the top of the Washington Monument, the city's tallest structure.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing gives tours showing paper currency being printed. The National Archives houses the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
The National Museum of American History highlights the nations’ cultural, political, scientific,and technological development. A popular destination is the display of first ladies’ gowns, and there are also hands-on science and history rooms.
On the Mall, ride the 50-year-old Carousel. The National Museum of Natural History, also on the Mall, has a stuffed African bush elephant, the 45.5-carat Hope Diamond, dinosaur skeletons and a Discovery Room where kids can touch animal, vegetable and mineral materials. Large-format films are shown in the IMAX cinema.
The National Zoological Park's most popular residents are North America’s only pair of pandas, loaned from the government of China.While you're in the neighborhood, Washington Cathedral’s child-size Children’s Chapel is worth a visit. The Scientists and Technicians Window was presented by the Apollo astronauts and has a piece of moon rock embedded in it. From the Observation Gallery, one can see the distant Potomac Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and close-up the gargoyles and grotesques.
Capital Children’s Museum gives kids a chance to interact with exhibits, while the International Spy Museum showcases a WW II Enigma cipher machine, disguises and gadgets that would make James Bond envious.