The forecast for today was rain so we decided to drive out to Dulles Airport and take in the National Air and Space Museum. We spent the entire day there. The museum is free, but it costs $15 a day to park in the lot. It's a good trade off because a person could come in a car full of 10 people and then it would be a bargain. I think it also encourages people to take metro from downtown to the airport. Then your only cost would be for the metro.
The outside is impressive and the sculpture leading to the entry really sets the tone. Inside you are surrounded by airplanes.
The impressive thing is that the airplanes exhibited are the originals. These are not mock ups or replicas. The Smithsonian has been given the originals by the people who actually flew them or the company that produced them.
The Virgin Atlantic is a prime example. This is the actual airplane the flew nonstop around the world.
The space shuttle, Enterprise, is one that actually flew missions to space. The magnitude and complexity of conceiving and building the elements of space flight are mind boggling when you see the actual components. Standing next to the space shuttle I found it difficult to envision the size of the rocket that it takes to launch this vehicle into space.