On Wednesday we visited the Naval Air Museum on the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL. This is rated one of the top Air Museums in the country and certainly lived up to that rating. It has both outdoor and indoor exhibits of airplanes from all eras of Navy and Coast Guard aviation. In addition to the actual aircraft, it also has numerous educational exhibits that tie the aircraft to the history they were involved in. The displays and video media bring to life everyday and major events in naval aviation from aircraft carrier operations in WWII to remote operations from WWI thru current war engagements.
During the outside tour, we visited the restoration area and had an opportunity to observe a number of aircraft that were in the rebirth process.
The museum also has a research library, display of aviation art and memorial walls commemorating many of those that were involved on since the beginning of flight.
For those who like to get into the details of this history, a single day is not long enough. For those who like the multimedia approach there is the IMAX Theater, a simple simulator that allows you to get the feel of flying with several groups including the Blue Angels, and finally a simulator that will let you actually get the controls of several different aircraft.
We had lunch at the Cubi café that is adorned with the thousands of plaques that were obtained by the museum when the Officers Club at Cubi Point, Philippines was closed. These plaques were all handcrafted by local artists and in themselves tell a great deal of history of the men stationed there over the years.
It is a day well spent for almost any level of aviation history interest. Oh, yes and the entrance to the museum and the basic tours they offer are all free.