The Virginia Air and Space Museum, located in Hampton Roads, VA was another museum that provided a nice mix of exhibits and hands-on experiences for the gals. Upon entering the museum, one of the first things we encountered was the Apollo 12 Command Module. We looked at the model of the 3 stage Saturn V rocket boosters that launched it to the moon and imagined what it must have been like for the astronauts who were on the mission and walked on the moon. We learned that two astronauts went to the surface of the moon in the “Lunar Module” while the third astronaut remained in the “Command Module”.
In addition to the Apollo 12, there were additional spacecraft models and an “Exploring the Moon, Mars and Beyond” exhibit. This exhibit included planetary models, moon rock, mars rock and Mars exploration rovers.
In addition to spacecraft, the museum also has aircraft on display. We enjoyed seeing a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer because we had visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial a few years ago while visiting the Outer Banks – both Grace and Kate remembered exactly what this was! We were also able to sit in the cockpit of a DC-9 Passenger jet – Grace as the pilot and Kate as the co-pilot. They must have done this before in a past life because the ride was as smooth as I’ve ever flown ;). Finally, Grace learned how to direct a pilot using a Kinect type simulation that was monitoring hand signals as directed by a computer simulation.
One of the coolest exhibits I’ve seen at any museum was a large model (probably 10-12 feet long and a couple of feet high) of an aircraft carrier that was contained in a display case. The exterior of the case had sliding display monitor screens that, when slid along the side of the carrier, would show images of what the internals of the aircraft carrier was like. I found this to be a very creative way of showing a “beyond the hull” look at the ship. I wish I had taken a picture of the display because it was very well done.
The museum also had an IMAX theatre but we decided to spend our time checking out the exhibits.
Time Spent: About 3 hours
Cost: $42 for the four of us