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Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

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salt lake city
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Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

My 13 y.o. daughter and I will be visiting for several days this Spring and want to spend time at the Air and Space and American History museums and perhaps some others. I have gone to the sites and the volume of exhibits seems overwhelming and am not sure how to organize our visit to the museums to be most efficient and get the most out of them. Is there a reference anywhere to how much time is typically spent at any given exhibit. For example, it is impossible to know if one may typically take five minutes to walk through a given exhibit or whether it will be more indepth and perhaps take one hour to view. We will of course be doing other things; but, am thinking we could allocate about five 1/2 days to the museums. Can anyone give us some suggestions as to how to enjoy the exhibits the most and see as much as possible?

Springfield, VA
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1. Re: Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

It's true that you could spend days in the Smithsonian museums if you wanted to look at everything.

What my husband and I do when we are visiting large museums is check the website and guidebooks and decide which exhibits we most want to see, since we know that we probably won't be able to see everything. Then, once we're there, we make sure we visit those first before we start exploring everything else.

Baltimore, Maryland
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for North Conway
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2. Re: Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

not sure what you are looking for exists. besides the individual idiosynchasies (sp?) of folks, it can also just depend how busy the museum is when you are there. For instance, waiting to walk thru the shuttle mock up can be time consuming only because of the limited amount of people who can walk thru at one time. Unless you have something specific you just have to see, I suggest going with the flow and not worrying. Most people just seem to start at one end of a hall and go the other and up to the next level.

Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

Perhaps you would do best by going on a "Highlights Tour" that each museum has (a couple a day). Then you could see "the best" that each museum has to offer and stay later (or return later) to see some other things that might interest you. Here's the link to find out the times for tours for each museum: www.si.edu/Events/Calendar/…

Also, take advantage of the staff at the visitor's desk--they have a lot of good information and can steer you to the exhibits which you might like best based on your stated interests.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

You may want to say that you'll see 2-3 museums in a ful day depending upon crowds, whether you choose to see a movie in the museum, how much you read in each exhibit, etc.

If I had guests who were visiting I would tell them to visit the Air and Space, Natural History, American History, National Gallery and Hirshhorn.

At the Air and Space they have a pretty cool flight simulator that will take you upside down and they have a few good films. My favorite is To Fly but they have a lot of other ones as well.

The cafes at the Native American Indian museum and at the National Gallery are my two favorites but the other museums also have food if you get hungry and don't feel like going to another museum.

5. Re: Organizing a Smithsonian tour to get the most out of it

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