MUST-SEE AEROSPACE AND AVIATION MUSEUMS IN THE USA
Experience the wonders of flight and space first-hand.
Humans have always been fascinated by flight, ushered in through the tinkering of those bicycle-building Wright brothers. Want to know more about how we soared through the skies and, eventually, space?
At Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Wright Brothers National Memorial marks the spot where man first experienced motorized flight. Walk the First Flight Line, marking the location where the Wrights first flew; peer into the reconstructed Wright brothers’ camp building and hangar; visit the 1903 Bronze Sculpture of the First Flight featuring a life-size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer; and walk to the top of Big Kill Devil Hill to the base of the Wright Monument. The renovated visitor centre reopens in fall 2018. nps.gov/wrbr
The National Naval Aviation Museum
in Pensacola is one of Florida’s main attractions. As one of the world’s largest aviation museums, it’s home to the Blue Angels flight squadron, has more than 150 restored aircraft on display, flight simulators, an IMAX theatre and displays showcasing naval aviation history. Navalaviationmuseum.org
At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, experience multimedia presentations and more than 60 interactive, touch-screen experiences and high-tech simulators. At the new Astronaut Training Experience students join a spectacular mission simulation including the Launch Experience, landing and walking on Mars. Kennedyspacecenter.com
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in Mcminnville, Oregon, is home to Howard Hughes’ HK-1 Hercules, known as the Spruce Goose. On-site are more than 100 artifacts and exhibits, spanning decades of flight innovation and advancement. Afterwards, splash and soar down exhilarating Boeing 747 waterslides at the adjacent Wings & Waves Waterpark. Evergreenmuseum.org
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum—one of America’s foremost aerospace museums—is located on the former grounds of Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. Housed in historic Hangar No. 1, built in 1939, are dozens of historic airplanes, space vehicles and interactive exhibits that tell the story of the birthplace of aviation and aerospace endeavours. A recent addition is a wooden propeller signed by airplane inventor Orville Wright. Wingsmuseum.org
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor
in Hawaii is one of the most historic locations in the United States. Pearl Harbor remains an active military base and a National Historic Landmark that’s home to four unique memorial attractions telling the story of the War in the Pacific. Visitors can see aircraft from the Second World War plus educational interpretations of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Pacificaviationmuseum.org
Space Center Houston provides fun for the whole family at the official visitor centre of NASA Johnson Space Center. Touch a moon rock, see real space capsules, enjoy lunch with a NASA astronaut. There are more than 400 things to see and do, inspired by the wonders of space exploration. Save almost 50 per cent and more off admission to Space Center Houston and four other top attractions with Houston CITYPASS. Spacecenter.org
The Wings of the North Air Museum in Eden Prairie preserves aviation history and honours Minnesota’s aviation pathfinders and veterans through exhibits and events. The museum houses three award-winning, restored planes: a P-51D Mustang named Sierra Sue II, an AT-6 Texan and a Boeing N2S-1 Stearman flown by future President George H.W. Bush. The museum also features aircraft engines, an ejection seat and other displays. wotn.org