Level 1
Included with Admission
All Ages

Featuring the SR-71 Blackbird supersonic jet, Speed explores motion and time across science and technology. Displaying audacious demonstrations of the superfast to the incredibly slow, you can race an Olympic athlete, feel hurricane force winds, challenge a quick-thinking robot and more.

Speed features over 50 stations with hundreds of unique experiences, including an interactive light race that travels along the ceiling of the striking 10,000-square-foot exhibition.

Watch an enthralling time lapse of the construction behind the Museum's most ambitious gallery to date and see it take flight to inspire our guests!

The Speed experience is categorized into five major areas that allow students and guests to dig into concepts from sound and light to geological change and invisible particles.

Speed of Sound and Light

  • Learn about super speeds and astounding technological advances that have taken us to some of the greatest places in the universe. Find out how to stay safe at Mach 3, see an actual moon rock, touch a meteorite and find out what is so special about special relativity.

Sports Speed Matters

  • From curling to badminton, uncover the speeds behind your favorite sports. Take a look at Michael Phelps’ racing cap, Arthur Ashe’s tennis racket and Jeff Burton’s NASCAR helmet as you discover the science behind some of our treasured pastimes.

Too Fast to See

  • Reveal details that are almost invisible by slowing down processes that are normally too fast to see. Can you identify the point at which you stop ‘seeing’ individual pictures and start seeing a continuous moving image? Take a glimpse into the hidden world around you!

Machines Fast and Slow

  • Explore a variety of surprising machine speeds. See how cell phones and stock market trading have evolved through the decades. Build your own devices, uncover the equipment developed for high-speed bike racing and take a turn around the track with Secretariat, the greatest racehorse of all time.

Too Slow to See

  • Get a new perspective on time and human history. How has life in Virginia been affected by evolution? Discover the speed at which Earth’s geography has changed. Compare the relative speed of change over long periods of time and explore a variety of surprising growth rates in real-time.
What Are You Waiting For?
The SR-71 Blackbird in the Speed exhibition.
Astronaut suit in Speed exhibition.
Think Fast!

Can you make a split-second decision? What about react faster than a robot? Find out in Speed!

Guest playing the air hockey robot in Speed exhibition.

What are people saying?

"I always walk away feeling like I’ve gained something."

Tanya M., Facebook

"It's more like an educational arcade. I played air hockey against a robot!"

Lesley M., Google