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Thread: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

  1. #1
    Registered Muser Charlie_K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Delmar, NY

    Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

    A couple of weeks ago I rode to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Annex, aka the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. While they make no effort to be specifically motorcycle friendly it's an easy place to visit on a bike. I won't do a review of the exhibits, I'll just say if you like airplanes you need to go there. I'll briefly go over visiting on two wheels. The museum is at Dulles International Airport but not anywhere near the passenger terminal, it's on Air and Space Museum Parkway and it was a POI in my BMW Navigator. I spent the previous night in Washington, DC and followed the GPS directions, I don't know if I took the best route but I got there with no problems.
    The first thing you encounter as you arrive is paid parking, it's $15 for all vehicles, cash or credit cards accepted. The museum itself is free, I've read that the parking charge will go away after they pay off some construction costs, for now the free museum will cost $15. The parking lot is huge, no dedicated motorcycle parking but no problem finding a spot either. I parked near the end of a row and my bike was still isolated when I was ready to leave.
    I saw two things of interest to bikers on the website, first there are lockers available inside the museum for travelers with carry on baggage. The bags on my bike were full so I brought my jacket and helmet inside with me. They fit easily into one of the small lockers. You need a quarter to operate the locker, your coin is returned when you leave. Second, you have to pass through security to get into the museum. There's a long list of prohibited items. I expected a TSA type hassle but unless you were carrying a bag you could walk right in. I wore my jacket and carried my helmet and I was waved right by security. People with bags had them searched.
    If you can't find something you like at the golden arches food could be a problem. You can't carry food in and the only restaurant inside is McDonald's, there are no places nearby outside. If you left your lunch on your bike it wouldn't be a problem to go out and walk back into the museum but if you rode somewhere it would be another $15 to get back in.
    Being at a major airport there are lots of hotels nearby. I had to delay my trip one day due to severe thunderstorms on the day I planned to leave. My original hotel wasn't available the following night but there was still lots of availability in the immediate area. I stayed at the Hyatt Place Herndon a short ride from the museum. A nice hotel with reasonable rates but no walkable food or shopping.
    I got a pleasant surprise on the way home. I live near Albany, NY and I'd come down I95 to Washington before going to the museum. When I hit the HOME button on my GPS I just needed directions back to I495, the Washington Beltway, once I got there I knew the way. Instead of taking me to the Beltway the GPS steered me onto US15 to Harrisburg, PA. In Harrisburg it wanted me to take I78 into New Jersey and then go north. I knew better, I took I81 to Binghamton, NY then I88 to home, a slightly longer and much nicer ride.
    In closing, if you're thinking of going to the museum look at their website, there's lots of good information. If you're coming from the north consider US15 as an alternative to the superslab into the DC area.
    Last edited by Charlie_K; 07-09-2015 at 01:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User liv2ride's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Honolulu, HI
    We were there last week Saturday, great museum! It was a rainy day and from the control tower exhibit we could see funnel clouds in the distance and listened to the controllers talking with pilots about the weather on the horizon.
    2012 R1200RT - Fluid Grey Metallic

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