The Top 10 U.S. Aviation & Aerospace Museums
#1 National Air & Space Museum - Washington, DC
Regarded as the nation’s best-known aviation foundation, the National Air & Space Museum is the most visited in the world. Located in the National Mall, NASM features the Apollo Lunar Module, Wright Brothers’ 1903 Flyer, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St.Louis and several other unmanned aerial vehicles, historic planes as well as space capsules. It also includes the Albert Einstein Planetarium and Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater.
#2 The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - Washington, DC
Home to the infamous Space Shuttle Discovery, the Udvar-Hazy Center is a small branch of the National Air & Space Museum. Named after Steven F. Udvar-Hazy because of his large contributions to help open the center ins 2003, it now occupies two huge hangers near the Washington Dulles International Airport. Its collection includes Enola Gay’s World War II Bomber and the De Havilland Chipmunk aerobatic Concorde airplane.
#3 Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum - New York, NY
Home to the great Space Shuttle Enterprise, the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum displays military aircrafts of all kinds including a British Airways Concorde and even a Growler Submarine (which allows tours). Not to mention, Pier 86 was solely built to display Space Shuttle Enterprise and boy is it a beauty!
#4 Kennedy Space Center - Orlando, FL
Home to the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Kennedy Space Center is dedicated to the concept of space exploration. Its Visitor Complex includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, a Rocket Garden, and an amazing shuttle launch experience simulator. Make sure to check out the ‘Explorer’ before you leave! It is a full sized, walk through replica of a real-life space shuttle!
#5 California Science Center - Los Angeles, CA
Home to the wonderful Space Shuttle Endeavor, the California Science Center is Los Angeles’s top science museum recognized for its hands-on science exhibits. The premises IMAX Theater isn’t half bad either. Perhaps the centers most impressive parts are its air & space exhibits featuring the F-20 Tigershark, the Apollo-Soyuz Command Module, and Sputnik. The California Science Center is currently under a 25 year plan to build a new wing of the gallery permanently dedicated to space and aeronautics exploration.
#6 Space Center Houston - Houston, TX
Space Center Houston is the Visitor’s Center for NASA’s Johnson Space Research Center. The institution welcomes its patrons with an Astronaut Gallery containing the world’s largest collection of spacesuits! Space Center Houston also features a space simulator, the Apollo 17 Command Module, and several other educational exhibits.
#7 Future of Flight Aviation Center - Mukilteo, WA
The Future Flight Aviation Center is located North of Seattle and is a must-see for all aviation enthusiasts, young and old alike. Visitors come from all over the U.S. to observe how commercial jets are designed and constructed. You will be invited to create your own dream plane while you are there.
#8 U.S. Space & Rocket Center - Huntsville, AL
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the site of the world’s very first space camp! Here, campers can take a modified version of astronaut training or visitors can come take a tour and view a rocket garden as well as many aviation artifacts. In 1960, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center became the hub of the famous Space Race.
#9 Pacific Aviation Museum - Honolulu, HI
Recently opened in 2006, the Pacific Aviation Museum is located on Pearl Harbor’s Ford Island paying tribute to the fallen with its focuses on World War II planes and artifacts. A crowd favorite is Hangar 37’s Japanese Zero fighter and the Aeronca 65TC which is America’s first plane who engaged in World War II combat.
#10 Cosmosphere Science Education Center & Space Museum - Hutchinson, KA
The focus of the Cosmosphere Science Education Center & Space Museum is the age old space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. This museum contains the biggest exhibition of Russian/Soviet space artifacts other than Moscow itself, including a Russian Vostok spacecraft as well as Spunit 1 and 2. Additionally, the Cosmosphere Science Education Center & Space Museum features a Titan Rocket and the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury Spacecraft.