Virginia Air and Space Center
Full Price Admission Cost: $19 adults, $15.50 kids 3–18, under 3 free
WWWW Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Virginia Air and Space Center is a flight enthusiast’s dream come true. This museum boasts a vast array of aircraft for visitors to admire, including some pretty awesome war planes and real spacecraft. Additionally, a super neat jet plane is set up for kids to explore and even includes a flight simulator for future pilots to practice with.
Speaking of kids, there are a surprising number of exhibits at Virginia Air and Space Center that are geared specifically toward children. For instance, Brendon particularly loved the spaceship playhouse that was set up on the second story. This little play area had astronaut suits for little ones to dress up in, as well as astronaut exercise equipment and info on the daily life of a person in space. Other kid-centered exhibits include an engineering area with giant building blocks and the outdoor courtyard which displayed optical illusion fun.
For the space lovers out there, the solarium shows visitors what’s happening on the sun and is absolutely mesmerizing. Meanwhile, there are tons of other space-related exhibits such as a mission-to-Mars simulation and the “Be the Astronaut” game that allows guests to pilot their own space vehicle.
Overall, we really enjoyed this museum. They have a nice collection and cover a wide variety of flight-related topics. That said, it is on the smaller side and is probably not worth the full price of admission. Visit with a discount or with ASTC reciprocal benefits if possible.
- Parking is free, but limited. We ended up parking next to a curb behind the building because parking was tight.
- There is an IMAX theater as well as concessions and a cafe. Budget accordingly.
- We really enjoyed the gift shop at this museum. We aren’t usually shoppers, but we recommend giving this one a quick look on your way out. Lots of surprisingly good stuff in there.
- We visited during a weekday and had the museum almost entirely to ourselves with the exception of a field trip. A weekday visit is likely ideal.
Books to Read
- You Are the First Kid on Mars by Patrick O’Brien
- National Geographic Readers: Mars by Elizabeth Carney
- Who Were the Wright Brothers? by James Buckley Jr
- Who Was Neil Armstrong? by Roberta Edwards
- The Big Book of Airplanes by DK Publishing
- Mousetronaut by Mark Kelley
- Astronaut Handbook by Meghan McCarthy
- The Magic School Bus: Taking Flight by Joanna Cole
- The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole
- Who Was Amelia Earhart? by Kate Boehm Jerome
Videos to Watch
- SpaceX Rocket Launch
- How Do Airplanes Fly?
- An Inside Tour of the International Space Station
- Bill Nye the Science Guy — Season 1, Episode 1: “Flight” (also available on Netflix)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy: “Space Exploration” (also available on Netflix)
- Storybots — Season 1, Episode 2: “How Do Airplanes Fly?” (Only available on Netflix)
Activities to Do
- Learn to fold paper airplanes. Experiment with various shapes. Try using a fan to make the plane fly further or faster.
- Head outside with a stomp rocket.
- Experiment with gravity.
Things to Discuss
- Would you prefer to work as an astronaut or a pilot? Why?
- If you were an astronaut, what kinds of space project(s) would you like to work on?
- If you could invent your own flying machine, what would it do?
Other Area Attractions
Below are some of the other great attractions in this area. We try to keep things affordable, sticking to free and cheap attractions and/or museums and zoos on reciprocal lists. If an attraction is affiliated with a reciprocal program or offers free admission, I have noted that beside the attraction listing. To learn more about saving money using reciprocal programs, see this post.
- Hampton History Museum
- Virginia War Museum
- Hampton University Museum — Free
- Casemate Museum of Fort Monroe — Free
- Buckroe Beach and Park — Free
- Air Power Park — Free
- Sandy Bottom Nature Park — Free
- Grandview Nature Preserve — Free
- Fort Wool
Closest Places to Stay on a Budget
- Thousand Trails/RPI/Passport America: Chesapeake Bay RV Resort — 45.9 mi
- Thousand Trails/RPI/Passport America: Williamsburg RV and Camping Resort — 38.4 mi
- State Park: First Landing State Park — 25.0 mi
- Passport America: Williamsburg Campark — 34.5 mi
- Passport America: Anvil Campground — 32.1 mi
Related Attractions in Other Areas
- Lowell Observatory (Flagstaff, AZ) — WWWW Guide
- Space Center Houston (Houston, TX)
- Kennedy Space Center (Florida)
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