I had never heard of the Udvar-Hazy Center before, but W- advised me that it’s a companion to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, used mostly for larger items. He refused to let me look up anything about it, though, because he wanted everything to be a surprise. Note: If you’re travelling to D.C. and also want to be surprised by what the Udvar-Hazy Center has to offer, stop reading now. Otherwise, please continue.
The first thing I saw upon entering the building was the Space Shuttle Discovery, which made me jump up and down inside for joy. It’s not every day that you can see a space shuttle in person, let alone up close and personal. The rest of the space exhibit is equally impressive, with capsules, rockets throughout the ages, and a decontamination chamber used for the original astronauts since scientists were concerned about the potential for space and moon germs being brought back to Earth.
The “air” hanger is actually much bigger than the “space” one – they have literally thousands of items on display. Some are smaller and in exhibit cases, like tools, uniforms, etc., but they also have much bigger items on display as well, including over one hundred planes.
The biggest surprise for me personally was seeing the Enola Gay, the bomber plane used to drop the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan during WWII. I read about the Enola Gay in school, but never imagined how large it is. To even attempt to get the entire plane into a single frame, W- and I had to climb to the second floor and look down, but even that wasn’t sufficient.