Skip navigation
Share this page

Frequently Asked Questions

A Photo of theater audience watching 3-D movie
Where can I purchase IMAX and Planetarium tickets?
Tickets can be purchased at any Smithsonian box office, online at or over the phone at 866 868-7774, TTY 202 633-8850. Please note that handling charges apply for tickets purchased online and by phone.

You can view our instructions for purchasing tickets online here.
Where are your theater box offices?
  • National Air and Space Museum: Albert Einstein Planetarium and Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater lobbies
  • National Museum of Natural History: Rotunda, Johnson IMAX Theater lobby and Kiosk Store
  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Chantilly, VA): Airbus IMAX Theater lobby
How far in advance can I purchase tickets?
Tickets may be purchased up to two weeks in advance. Groups of 10 or more may be able to purchase tickets earlier. Please call 866-868-7774, TTY 202.633.8850 for more information.
I'm a Smithsonian member, do I qualify for any discounted tickets?
Yes. We do offer special rates for Smithsonian members. Click here for pricing information. Please note that tickets at the member rate may ONLY be purchased at a Smithsonian Theaters box office or through our telephone reservation system. Your membership card MUST be provided when purchasing member-rated tickets.
I'm not a Smithsonian member, how do I join?

Smithsonian membership can be purchased from any of our theater representatives, both at the box offices and over the phone. You can also purchase online at

Do you have special rates for groups?
Yes. The Smithsonian offers discounts to groups of 10 or more for the IMAX Theaters, Einstein Planetarium, select restaurants, the National Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Pavilion, and simulator rides. Please visit our Groups webpage, call 866-868-7774, TTY 202 633-8850, or email for more information or to book your trip.
I purchased tickets by phone or over the Internet, where do I pick them up?
Advance purchase tickets may be picked up at any Smithsonian Theaters box office. Please be sure to bring a photo ID and/or the credit card used to purchase the tickets. Identification is required for verification purposes.
How can I enter the museum to see IMAX films after the museum has closed?
Each museum will open doors for after-hours screenings.
  • National Museum of Natural History: enter on Constitution Ave
  • National Air and Space Museum: enter on Independence Ave
  • Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center: enter via the main entrance
Is parking available at the museums?
The Smithsonian offers free parking after 4 p.m. at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. A $15 per car entrance fee is required for all cars entering before 4 p.m. The museum also offers a six-visit parking pass for those who frequently visit the Center. Please visit for details.

In the downtown D.C. area, street parking may be found around the National Mall. However, please keep in mind that the downtown Washington area is a high traffic area and spaces tend to fill up quickly. Public transportation may be a better option.
What are the nearest metro stops?
  • National Museum of Natural History: 1 block from both "Federal Triangle" and "Smithsonian" (blue/orange lines)
  • National Air and Space Museum: 2 blocks from "L'Enfant Plaza" (orange/blue/green/yellow lines)
  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: no metro available
  • For additional metro routes, schedules, fares and assistance in planning your trip, visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website.
What's the difference between the IMAX Theater and the Planetarium?

IMAX is the ultimate film experience. Large frame film is projected onto specially designed screens that are several stories high to produce some of the most stunning live-action and computer generated visual images recorded. The theaters are also equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system.

The Einstein Planetarium is a domed theater that uses digital technology to provide audiences with spectacular visualizations of the universe. The theater presents both pre-programmed and live presentations designed to share the wonders of the universe.

What accessibility services are available for visitors with disabilities?

The following accessibility services for visitors with disabilities are available upon request; inquire at any theater Box Office for appropriate devices. The newly instituted feature length IMAX films presented at Smithsonian Theaters do not yet provide for additional accessible services. As the reformatting of these films becomes more common we will request that our distribution partners provide these additional services to our visitors for future films.

The following accessibility services are available upon request for visitors with disabilities:
  • Rear Window Captioning in English for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing. Individual devices are provided.
  • Amplification in English for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing. Headphones provided by the theater.
  • Audio Description in English is provided for visitors who are blind or have low vision.
Do the theaters have assigned seats?
No. All tickets are for general admission.
Do any of the films offer foreign language translation?
Yes, the National Air and Space Museum's Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater offers translations in French, German, Japanese and Spanish for "To Fly!"
Join our e-mail list to be one of the first to learn about upcoming releases and special offers.
Privacy by SafeSubscribe