No matter what your views are on American military prowess, seeing big jets up close is awe inspiring. The Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum has 17 aircraft that you can check out. (If you're looking for detailed information on the museum and the aircraft click on the link in the previous sentence.) Most of the aircraft are located outside. On some visits we've been able to wonder around the aircraft on our own while others times we get a volunteer to take us around and tell us a brief history of aircraft. The indoor museum has thousands of small model airplanes that makes it hard for any small boy to resist the gift shop on the way out. The indoor museum is a converted hanger and houses 4 aircraft as well as a two cockpit simulators that you can sit in. So this place is a big hit with kids of all ages. We've found the volunteers to be friendly and always ready to answer any question. In this post we'll be highlighting some of the interesting things we've learned at the museum and showing off our photos from the day the "Huey" was open for us to sit it. (The aircraft are not usually open to guests.) The Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. (Click here for hours) It's a great place to visit for an hour or so with the kids. Even if the weather makes it tough to get outside to see the majority of the aircraft, the indoor museum can be lots of fun all by itself. The museum is free to visit but they do ask you to sign in and there is a donation box at the front counter. Enjoy our little insights and our photo tour.
The helicopter inside is like the one that flew into view on the opening credits of every episode of M*A*S*H*.
Below is the Viper. This is the kind of jet John McCain was shot down in in Vietnam.
Below is a close up of the Viper art work on the nose.
The C-1A "Trader" below has wings that fold up and a propeller that you can get real close to (but not touch.)
The Grumman F9F-2 "Panther" became the US Navy's "Blue Angel" demonstration teams first jet. (Also the first picture at the beginning of this post.)
I couldn't get confirmation on this but the flag below looks to be taken from a kamikaze from WWII. If you've got better information on this, please leave a comment at the end of this post.
This was our lucky day! Below is Max in the "Huey" with Frank attempting to climb on board.
Max and Frank next to the Piasecki HUP-2 - a search and rescue helicopter for aircraft carriers in the 1950's. (The volunteer that cuts the grass keeps some tools in this helicopter and let us take a look inside. He framed this picture for us so we'd have a memoir of where we were - kind of cute.)
Please be aware that you cannot enter the airbase to get to the museum. The entrance in on route 611 just south of the the entrance to the airbase. It's a small parking lot and there is usually a large "open" sign posted near the entrance when they are open. This last photo is the standard star and stripes taken from the HUP-2 helicopter.
We hope this give you a little taste of the museum. If your kids like planes, you can't go wrong.