Why visit the Virginia Air and Space Museum? It all comes down to buttons.
As my kids say, a cool museum "has to have lots of buttons."
That's why this museum fits my kids' definition of a great museum to a T. Hands-on stuff, buttons, simulators, and IMAX, you name it. They love it so much, that they've even gone to their fabulous summer camps (see below).
Our favorite highlights of this family vacation getaway spot include:
The Virginia Air and Space Museum celebrates 100 years of aviation history, taking you all the way from viewing a replica of the 1903 Wright flyer, to riding in a WWII bomber, to becoming an air traffic controller, to pretending you're an astronaut.
Our kids' #1 highlight is the huge AirTran Airways DC-9 fuselage that you can enter and explore. Most of the seats have been removed (it's surprisingly roomy without all those seats and passengers crammed in like sardines) to allow room for a Boeing 717 Simulator. Would-be pilots of all ages can try their hand at taking off and crashing...er, landing.
Toddlers and preschoolers-- never fear, there's a Little Wings play area just for you.
The Virginia Air & Space Museum has phenomenal traveling exhibits. A recent exhibit -- ZAP! Surgery Beyond the Cutting Edge -- was like being in a modern, high-tech remake of the B-movie "Amazing Voyage" where you're "injected" into a patient's body to see how Gamma Knife surgery works.
The Virginia Air & Space Museum and its 3D IMAX, is open every day except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission gets complicated, depending on whether you're just seeing the exhibits, adding a regular IMAX movie, or adding a full-length IMAX Feature.
Here's the Admission for exhibits only:
Adults - $11.50
Children - $9.50
Seniors/Active Military - $10.50
IMAX movies: adults $9, children $7, seniors/military $8; (full-length IMAX movies that are 90 minutes or more are $1 extra).
IMAX Deal! Check out this new IMAX deal: Buy five IMAX tickets and get one free!
For specific admission details on this family vacation getaway spot, plus info on the latest IMAX features, go to www.vasc.org.
BUT, you can save big and get in free to the Virginia Air and Space Museum (IMAX's are extra) if you're an ASTC Program member. (Click here to see why the ASTC Passport Program could save you hundreds of dollars on museums.)
The Virginia Air and Space Museum is located on the historic Downtown Hampton Waterfront at 600 Settlers Landing Road - 757-727-0900.
Looking for a great camp?
Last year, my son attended their "Space Camp," a week-long day camp where he practice making paper rockets, met an astronaut, learned about planets and the universe, viewed some of the exhibits, and just had an all-around good time.
I totally recommend any of their camps! But beware: They fill up fast! They also offer spring break and holiday camps too. For details, go to www.vasc.org and click on the "Science Camps" link.