Nov 3

Fun Free Airplane Related Activities in Northern VA

My toddler is in love with airplanes, helicopters and anything that can fly!

I just started looking into activities in the Northern Virginia/DC area that involve airplanes and flight and thought I would put together a post about it.  Apparently National Aviation Day is August 19th, and Aviation History Month is in November, but I noticed I just missed a bunch of events in October.  Here’s my list in case any of you are interested.  If you know of any other plane-related fun events or exhibits, please let me know!

  1. Udvar Hazy Air & Space Center in Chantilly, VA.
    Location: 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151
    Dates/Hours: Everyday except Christmas from 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Admission: Free for the museum, but there is a fee for parking ($15 per vehicle).  However, if you arrive after 4:00 PM, parking is free!

    The Udvar-Hazy Center features the large Boeing Aviation Hangar in which aircraft are displayed on three levels. Visitors can walk among aircraft and small artifacts in display cases located on the floor, and view aircraft hanging from the arched ceiling on elevated skywalks. Many engines, helicopters, ultra-lights, and experimental flying machines are on display in a museum setting for the first time.
    The James S. McDonnell Space Hangar opened in November 2004 and displays hundreds of famous spacecraft, rockets, satellites and space-related small artifacts. The centerpiece of the space hangar is the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Other space artifacts include the Gemini VII space capsule; the Mobile Quarantine Unit used upon the return of the Apollo 11 crew; and a Redstone rocket.
    The Center also offers the Airbus Imax Theater; flight simulators; food service; a museum store; free docent tours; daily educational programs; and school group tours and activities are available.

  2. Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall
    Location: Independence Ave at 6th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
    Dates/Hours: Everyday except Christmas from 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Admission: Free

    The Museum offers 22 exhibition galleries, the Lockheed Martin Imax Theater, flight simulators, a three-level Museum shop, and a food-court-style restaurant. Docent tours, daily free educational programs, and school group tours and activities are also available.
    A favorite gallery for children is How Things Fly – the place for hands-on action including fascinating science demonstrations; paper airplane contests; and 50 exciting interactive devices.
    Also, special “Flights of Fancy” story times for kids are listed here (appear to be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in November).

  3. Culpeper Airport Fest
    Location: Culpeper Regional Airport
    12517 Beverly Ford Road, Culpeper, VA 22701
    Date/Hours: Saturday, October 10, 2009 (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
    *Just missed this one  :-(  but next year’s is scheduled for: Saturday, October 9, 2010 (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
    Admission: Free

    Come out and view life from another angle – see Culpeper County from the air! This FREE event has something for the entire family. Tour the airport and meet the pilots. Aircraft from restored antiques to modern jets will be on display. Activities for kids include free airplane rides for ages 8-17, demonstrations, arts & crafts, face painting and the model airplane simulator.

  4. Become A Pilot Family Day
    Location: Udvar-Hazy Center at 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151
    Date/Hours: June 19, 2010 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    Admission: Free for the museum, but there is a fee for parking ($15 per vehicle).

    The event features educational activities and an outdoor aviation display with dozens of visiting vintage, recreational, military, and homebuilt aircraft. Visitors can talk to pilots and find out what skills are needed to fly. Inside the Center, visitors can test their piloting skills in flight simulators, meet model airplane experts, and hear a variety of guest speakers. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is $15.00. For more information visit

  5. Dulles Day Plane Pull & Family Festival
    Location: Dulles International Airport, 45020 Aviation Drive, Sterling, VA 20166
    Date/Hours: Oct. 3rd, 2009*  just missed this one too! :-(
    Put this on the calendar for next October… I don’t believe the official date has been announced yet.
    Admission: Free, plus parking is free!
    Description for the Dulles Day Plane Pull & Family Festival:
    It’s more than just a Plane Pull (proceeds from the teams participating in the Plane Pull competition benefit the Special Olympics)! An entire festival has grown up around the competition, and features a wide range of events and activities for the entire family. Come check out the car show, aircraft displays, exhibitor areas, games, & rides in the Kids Corner, live music, concessions and more! There’s even a School Bus Pull for the kids (registration and donation required)… so gather your friends and family and make a day of it!
    Entertainment at 2009 Family Festival included: Live music on two stages; A Car Show, Aircraft Displays and Exhibitor Areas; A Kids’ Zone with free moon-bounces, obstacle course and fun activities
  • In-line skating lessons and demonstrations by Skatersquest
  • Mobil health screenings in the Inova Mobil Health Van
  • Handwanding demonstrations by TSA
  • In The Pits Radio Show car displays and contests
  • Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Eating Contests
  • Interactive clogging demonstration in the Kid’s Zone at 1pm by Cardinal Cloggers
  • Law Enforcement Displays including trucks, cars, motorcyles and mobil command units
  • The FEDEX NASCAR on display in the Auto Show (souvenirs will be available for sale)
  • NERV – Networked Emergancy Response Vehicle on display by Cisco Systems
  • Explore the technology on the Cisco NOW Van sponsored by CWPS
  • Plant a pot at the MWAA Green Team booth near the Kid’s Zone
  • Explore the equipment on the Gutterman Services Freight Liner
  • Get a good look at a variety of community safety equipment & airport service vehicles