After much planning and scheming and figuring and cogitating on my part, the children and I headed out the door around 9:30 a.m. to find a wide open space, close to Dulles Airport, where we could watch for the amazing Discovery Space Shuttle being transported to Dulles in preparation on Thursday for its donation to Udvar-Hazy, a Smithsonian Museum by our house.

This opportunity is one of those really tough ones for me as a homeschooling parent. I’m not a huge fan of big crowds, especially if I’m taking the children by myself. And even after years, knowingly getting stuck in traffic brings trepidation for me. I’ll bet that relates back to the time I took a wrong turn into Manhattan as Zachary realized he had to go potty. See that post here.

Anyway, I figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the final space shuttle being flown to its final resting place at our own local Smithsonian Museum. We drove around and found a big parking lot at a car dealership on the far side of Dulles, and waited to see what we could see.

After waiting for 20 minutes, and wondering if I’d made us miss it, we noticed some men on top of the car dealership. They were looking exactly behind us. We turned around, and there it was. Discovery tethered onto the back of a jet. Very, very cool!

Passing the time until the big event.
Rocks are always fun.
Car sliding...exciting and scary all at once.
"How cool!"

Then, in another unexpected parenting win, after we packed up to leave, we drove home on a route that allowed us to see the jet coming in for its final landing. Children think Mother is brilliant. Phew.

That was on a Wednesday. On Friday, we headed over to Udvar-Hazy to meet Discovery in person, parked in its new home inside the museum.

The main points we noticed were how beat up the real space shuttle looks compared to the nearly full-size mock-up that used to be parked inside. And, that we have grown to think of Udvar-Hazy as our museum. We don’t like having to wait in line there because we are so used to having the place to ourselves. Homeschooling snobs.

The hole that had to be cut in the wall to allow the taller Discovery to enter the museum.
The beat up beauty.
A whole new area of the museum has been opened up.

We eventually wandered into a side room that had displays and activities set up for younger children. The kids played in here for an hour, reading books, bouncing on blow-up space shuttles, trying on astronaut jumpsuits, and piecing a jumbo space shuttle puzzle together.

Riding the "air shuttle."
Those long legs stick out of everything.
One of many wonderful volunteers who helped make these events fantastic.
The puzzle shuttle was really fun.
Buckle Up, Astronaut Yessa.
The jumpsuit matches her hair!
I'm thinking "Christmas Photo," they are thinking, "Let's make Mom crazy!"
Hmmm, if I photoshopped a couple pictures together?
I've exhausted them with pictures.
Well, yes, I would like to read some books about space travel.
I could fly the shuttle like this.
Yessa "helping."
Very cool flight simulator

We’ll be back to visit Discovery. She’s got a friend in us.