Visiting the US National Naval Aviation Museum
The Navy Air Museum in Pensacola Florida is the largest Naval Aviation Museum in the world and Pensacola’s top visitor attractions. It’s exhibit space covers more than 350,000 square feet and includes over 150 restored Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard 150 aircraft plus numerous multi-media exhibits and exhibits from space exploration. Jo and I have visited the museum on two occasions and still there remains much more to see and experience.
In addition to exhibiting the history of Naval Aviation, the museum does an impressive job in education on the history of war time combat from World Wars I and II to the Korean Conflict. Exhibits on the World War II era are particularly impressive and educational. Aviation and history buffs could spend hours and days here absorbing all that the Museum has to offer. And just about anyone will be fascinated by being able to get up close to inspect these fantastic flying machines. Kids, big and small, will enjoy the hands-on exhibits like sitting in the cockpit of one of the aviation cockpit trainers or engaging with one of the Flight Simulators to more fully experience what it is like flying one of these aircraft.
“Continuing the story of Naval Aviation, the Museum’s exhibits provide a closer look at the people and events that shaped our history. From vintage uniforms and historic documents displayed in brilliant mahogany display cases, to dioramas that transport visitors to the World War I Western Front, Main Street U.S.A. in 1943, and the depths of Lake Michigan, the exhibits of the National Naval Aviation Museum seek to capture the human element of the enduring history of Naval air power.” (Naval Aviation Museum website)
One of the special exhibits Jo and I enjoyed was the eVirtual Flight Deck, an intimate surround screen and sound theater that re-enacts the experience of being on board the US Stennis aircraft carrier during take-off and landings. Wind, vibration and and odors facilitate the experience of being there. In the past we’ve been too busy taking in all the various experiences to catch any of the performances in the museum’s huge IMAX theater complex. There are generally four to six different films shown throughout the day. So on my wish list for our next visit is to take in at least one of the IMAX films.
Adjacent to the museum is Naval Air Station and Training Facility, covering 37 acres. So practically any day of the week, you can see sleek fighter jets streaking across the sky over Pensacola and Pensacola Beach. And on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from March to November, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, you can see the famous Blue Angels Flight Team flying over the museum in their practice runs for their unique, acrobatic air shows. Kids and other aviation fans can also get signatures from the Blue Angels Flight Crew. Attending a Blue Angels performance is another item on our next visit wish list.
Other interesting attractions of the museum include the Blue Angels X4D Flight Theater, the Cubi Bar Café, Kidde Hawk Children’s Play Area, and the Flight Deck Museum Store.
Here’s a few slide shows of some of the exhibits and attractions.
Some Famous WW II & Korean Conflict Aircraft
Other Scenes from the Naval Aircraft Museum