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Museum of Flight soars to space

New Apollo exhibit opens

The Apollo Gallery at the Museum of Flight. Photo credit: Museum of Flight

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The Museum of Flight recently opened a brand-new permanent exhibit called "Apollo." This is sure to delight those who love space, and it's a good reason to make a visit.

During the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the space race drew the best and the brightest in the quest to be the first to the moon. After a slow start with the Mercury missions, NASA's successful Apollo missions gave the country something to be proud of and a memory that many of us can share with our children - the day man first walked on the moon.

The Apollo missions could not have taken place without the Saturn V rocket. They propelled into space with five F-1 engines, which were the biggest and most powerful ever made. After the engines detached from the rockets, they plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean, where they lay lost for 43 years.  In 2013, they were discovered and recovered by Seattle-based Bezos Expeditions.  The "Apollo" exhibit marks the first public display of one of these recovered F-1 engines. The battered engine recovered from the depths is displayed alongside an unused F-1, which stands almost two stories tall.

In addition to the rockets, there are moon rocks and a collection of personal items used by NASA astronaut Pete Conrad, the Apollo 12 commander. From the Soviet Union, an early space suit and a 1992 Russian Resurs 500 spacecraft are on exhibit. On a particularly interesting note, the only Viking Mars lander on Earth is at the Museum of Flight.

Don't miss the other exhibits the museum has to offer. The flight simulators are an additional cost but a big hit with teens.  There is also a 3D movie theater currently showing two movies throughout the day.  Insider Tip:  Take time to plan ahead and look at the website.  There are many unique tours and experiences available, which you need to plan ahead for.   

The Museum of Flight is a Blue Star Museum. The National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America collaborate to offer free admission to the nation's active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Insider Tip: The free admission saves a family of four $68, which frees up some cash to enjoy some of the add-on experiences.

Museum of Flight, open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, 206.764.5720,

Before making the trek back to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord area, skip the food at the Museum of Flight and make a short detour to Zippy's Giant Burgers. The short drive over offers incredible views of the Seattle skyline. Zippy's is in a quirky little neighborhood tucked into a small strip mall.  Don't let the outside deter you from stopping, as it is a gem.  Stepping back in time with burger memorabilia (yes, it is a thing) and vintage video games, Zippy's is a blast from the past.  Serving fresh ground chuck beef burgers cooked to order, shakes and cane sugar bottled sodas, the restaurant lives up to the raves and reviews it has received over the years.  It's kid-friendly, and adults can have a beer with their burgers. Surprisingly, it also has one of the top-rated vegetarian burgers in Seattle. Well worth a stop.

Zippy's Giant Burgers, open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9614 14th Ave. SW, Seattle, 206.763.1347,

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