Today was a leaders’ day off, no more groups to visit so what do we do?  Three of us go off to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Air and Space Museum hanger, at Dulles International Airport.  This is where they keep all the items which are too big to keep in the main museum on the Mall in Washington City Centre.

We got there early before all the school groups arrived and although the museum itself it free you have to pay $15 for parking.

They have an amazing collection of historic aircraft.

The first thing you see when you come into the museum, which is just a huge hanger full of aircraft, is an SR71 Blackbird, the fastest plane ever built.

Directly behind the SR71 is the Space Shuttle Discovery, standing under a huge US Flag, exactly as it returned from its last space flight.  It is amazing how it looks just like any other aircraft and it’s also a lot larger than I expected it to be, not sure why I was expecting it to be small but it certainly isn’t.

The other one of a kind exhibit they have is the Enola Gay B29 Superfortress which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.  I found it a very strange experience looking at this aircraft which had caused so much destruction to a city half a world away nearly 70 years ago. It was slightly sobering, it was not something I’ve ever felt before and I can’t really describe what it was like or why I felt it but it was a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach.

They also have a Concorde, Wright Military Flyer from 1909, various space capsules from various launches and lots of other smaller aircraft.

After the museum we had a trip to a local mall on a run for Paul to find an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie for his sister.  Kevin used his usual charm and just walked to the nearest shop assistant and asked for a grey hoodie sweatshirt in large, was promptly handed one and paid.  In and out the shop in under 2 minutes.

Always thinking of our stomachs, on the way back to the car we stopped off at the Cheesecake Factory and stuffed ourselves with cheesecake.  While sitting there, Raff looks at our “large” hoddie and notices it’s only a medium, Kevin storms back to the shop and apparently the poor assistant looked terrified.

Problems now solved we headed back to the KOA and baked potatoes for dinner.