Have you always wondered what the inside of Air Force One, the Concorde supersonic airliner, or a 787 Dreamliner might be like? Ever dreamed of sitting in the cockpit of an SR-71 Blackbird or an F/A-18 Hornet? Or maybe you dream even bigger— like blasting into space? Head to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington to experience it all first hand! Not only is the huge Museum filled with more than150 rare aircraft and space vehicles, but you can also walk through several of the planes in the outdoor airpark. Part of Boeing’s original factory known as the “Red Barn” has been relocated here and now serves as an outstanding exhibit that chronicles the company’s early years between 1916 and 1958. There’s also a 3D movie theater in the Museum.
It’s hard to believe that about a decade after the Wright Brothers made their first flight in a frail wood and fabric machine, World War I ensured that aerodynamically efficient fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft became commonplace. Eighteen WWI aircraft are on display, along with personal stories of flyers from around the world. You’ll also find 10 fighter aircraft from WWII, as well as information on the men and women who designed, built and flew these planes. The Museum also has an extensive collection of 1/48 scale models representing over 300 aircraft flown in both world wars. If rockets, satellites, and space craft are more your thing, you’ll have a blast exploring the Museum’s space galleries. For an extra charge, you can even take a 30 minute tour of the Space Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment where astronauts have trained for every Space Shuttle mission.
Although there are a lot of artifacts, displays, and galleries to explore, save time to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Tower. Overlooking the King County International Airport airfield, you’ll learn how air traffic controllers keep travelers safe. On the bridge leading to the Tower, stop and take a look at the exhibits that highlight the evolution, biomechanics, and physics of flight (it’s more interesting and easy to understand than it sounds!).
Originally founded 50 years ago with the goal to be the the foremost educational air and space museum in the world, the Museum of Flight has succeeded in its quest. No matter how much you do or don’t know about aviation and space history, the Museum’s world-class comprehensive collection will keep you busy for a couple of hours, or all day, depending on your level of interest.
IF YOU GO:
The Museum of Flight
9404 E Marginal Way S
Seattle, WA 98108
Open every day 10 am to 5 pm
Adults $20; Youth (ages 5-17) $12
Driving Directions: The Museum is very conveniently located just a minute off of Interstate 5, and only 10 minutes south of downtown Seattle.
• Take exit 158 from I-5.
• Turn right at the first stoplight (E. Marginal Way S.)
• The Museum is on the right, 1/2 mile.
• Free parking
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In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com