Certainly one of the highlights of the national mall is the air and space museum. It is what I remember seeing as a kid. But they have opened a new one close to Dulles Airport and it was not too far from our friend's house where we stayed the previous night. So on Monday, we slept in (as we were up late for the fireworks) and went out for a leisurely lunch. Around noon we headed for the museum.
First, the museum is huge. The one at the mall houses 10% of the artifacts and this one houses 80% (10% of the collection is out on loan to other museums). Second, they have free tours. We randomly walked over to one of the many tours starting when we got there and were lucky enough to have the director of the museum leading that particular tour. The tour lasted a little over 2 1/2 hours and he started at the beginning of aviation and told you all the fun anecdotes and interesting facts about all the planes we saw.
This is the concord jet.
This is the space shuttle, Enterprise.
They also have a huge observation tower that lets you listen to the air control tower for Dulles Airport and watch the planes land.
Adam loved seeing all the planes, but he did tire out at the end.
We really enjoyed this museum. It was not near as crowded as the one in the mall usually is. We had a quiet evening, went swimming and turned in early so that the next day we could be ready for LOTS.