National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Ok, so last week for Family Fun Times, we talked about the Creation Museum.  It really is one of our family’s favorite destinations.  Today, I want to talk about another destination we enjoyed that you could do in the same trip with the Creation Museum because it is only 90 minutes or so away.  It is the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  

National Museum of USAF

When I was in the Air Force, I had always heard this was a great museum for anyone who had interest in airplanes or the Air Force.  However, it always seemed that anytime I was nearby Dayton, my travel plans never had enough leeway to spend time at a museum.  Once, however, I was sent to Wright-Patterson for a week-long class.  A week sounds like a long time with plenty of time to see the museum, but it isn’t that long when the class goes until 3:30 or 4:00 each day, and the museum closes every day at 5:00!  Each day after class for a week, I made a run for the museum, and I did my best to see it in 45-60 minute bites of time each afternoon after class.  By the end of the week, I was able to see most of it!  I looked forward to being able to return someday with my family. 

National Museum of USAF
Bet you can’t guess which two may or may not have been melting down! 🙂

In our last visit to the Creation Museum, we budgeted several hours to go and visit the Air Force Museum.  It was much better being able to see it all at one time!  Actually, the place is so huge that the children didn’t make it through the whole thing.  The museum is broken out chronologically, so up front is the Wright flyer, followed closely by WWI, then WWII, etc.  By the time we got to the Space Shuttle, the little ones had just about had it!  I remember pulling one of them out of an F-4 Fighter cockpit (staged for photo ops) and he was really losing it!  It is a big place, so you might want to make sure your small children are all caught up on their naps before entering! 

National Museum of USAF

But if you enjoy seeing military airplanes, and lots of other military airplane memorabilia, there is no other place like it.  In fact, the museum is about to get even bigger!  They have a new fourth building scheduled to open in June 2016. 

National Museum of USAF

I forgot to mention my favorite part… admission to the museum is free!  Now, of course there are things inside to spend money on, like the gift shop, the theaters, and the café, but you get the idea… 

 I suppose it is possible that I like military airplanes more than regular people and perhaps I might have a biased view of this museum, but I personally think it is an outstanding museum with lots of great exhibits and tons of beautiful aircraft that are overflowing with history and countless stories of courage and bravery in the skies.  I really like this museum and every time I have been there, I have wished I had more time.  However, if you are unsure whether you and your family would enjoy it, I recommend going over to the website and click on “virtual tour”.  This allows you to click through a 360 degree virtual walk-through of the museum.  I was amazed at how thorough the virtual tour was.  If you click around a little bit in the virtual tour, you’ll know for sure whether or not you want to go.  Enjoy! 

National Museum of USAF
Screen shot of the virtual tour

If you need a place in the area to stay, check out our post on lodging!

Is there anyone in your family who enjoys military aircraft or military history? 

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This post was written by Jason Southerland

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