Monday, 14 April 2014

Our Family Vacation - The Virginia Air and Space Center

    This past Christmas we gave a family gift of a one year membership to the Toronto Science Centre.  We decided that the membership had almost paid for itself on the first visit.  We could return to the science centre as many times as we wanted to this year.
It was a really great gift, but I did not entirely know how great until I read the fine print.  Our membership not only allowed us to visit the "Toronto Science Centre", but 300 other science centers in North America!  WOW!


    On the third day of our Virginia Beach vacation the weather was cool and looked like it might rain at any time.  We decided that it would be a good day to explore the area of Virginia Beach.  We looked at taking the kids to the Aquarium, but then we remembered our Science Centre membership.  Grace checked her ipod and found the list of science centers that we could visit.  One of those was the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, Virginia.  It was not too far from Virginia Beach, so we decided to make it our destination, and we found out how smart we were.

    The Virginia Air and Space Museum is endorsed by NASA, you know the people to send astronauts into space.  I was impressed just walking in through the doors.  Suspended from the roof were dozens of full sized airplanes from the different aviation ages.  It was amazing!

    It was amazingly hands on.  There were exhibits that were hands off,  but there were even more hands on exhibits.  The kids were delighted to be able to explore and touch and learn.  We picked a great day to go because it was really quiet.  We were able to leisurely explore and enjoy without having to fight off crowds of other people.  That is my kind of day!

    Below is a picture of Christopher and the kids sitting on the wing of an old plane.  Your eyes are not deceiving you, and I am not one of those idiot parents who allows their children to climb all over things that they have no right to be touching.  That was the seating for a mini movie about the history of flight.  It was only a few minutes and held the kids attention while educating them.  It was such a neat way to see a movie.

    The kids could explore a full sized a fighter jet and a full sized commercial airplane.  They excitedly climbed up the stairs to explore.  They had fun sitting in the seat, pretending to fly a plane.

    Not only could they "fly" a plane, they could be air traffic controllers.  They each took their turn guiding planes onto the runway.  A mini movie guided them through the correct arm gestures.

    The most fun part of our day was hands down the funniest.  There was a station that allowed you to make paper airplanes.  It gave step by step instructions as to how to fold three different types of paper airplanes.  It also explained why each one worked.

    When the planes were finished there was an area that you could fly your plane to test it's flying ability.  There were even target circles that you were to try to aim for.  My plane looked pretty good, but did not fly so well.

    Christopher's plane looked like a piece of origami that was created by a blind person with no fingers. Suffusive to say, his plane flew as good as it looked.  We all laughed until we were in tears and had stomach cramps.  We stayed there for almost three quarters of an hour, doggedly trying to make an airplane that flew.  It was not long into our quest that this little boy of about 6 came over and made a perfect airplane on his first try.  He then attempted to show us his techniques.  We had him in stitches as well, and in the end he just shook his head because we were beyond help.

    For me the star exhibit was the Apollo 12.  It is the actual Apollo 12 that landed on the moon in 1969.  You could peer into that small compartment and see the way those first astronauts made their way back home.  I got claustrophobia just looking at it.  I was seeing actual history!

    The weight of what we were seeing was lost on the kids.  I kept saying to them "That actually was on the moon!", they would roll their eyes like it was no big deal.  I am still in shock that the gravity of that passed them over.  It is not every day that you can say that you have seen a piece of actual history, or that you have seen with your own eyes something that has been on the moon.  I am shaking my head while I write this, still baffled by their ambivalence.

    They also had a piece of moon rock on display.  Again it's gravity was lost on my modern jaded children. 

     We had an amazing day!  We shared laughs, I was awed, and shook my head at my kids lack of awe.  It was a great day, and best of the best it was FREE!  Our family's Christmas gift granted us more knowledge.  If you have a science centre near you, I strongly urge you not to just visit it, but to purchase a membership.  I now know why they say that "membership has it's privileges".

                                           Admission Prices
Active Military/NASA/
Riverside Employees
$ 9.50
$ 10.50
IMAX (45 min) 
$ 9.00
$ 7.00
$ 8.00
Full-length IMAX (90+ min) 
Combo 1

Exhibits & IMAX (45 min)

Combo 2

Exhibits & Full-length
IMAX (90+ min)


No comments:

Post a Comment