National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola

North Florida
National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola

National Naval Aviation Museum is an impressive museum with enormous fighter planes, including Blue Angels jets! Exhibits tell you some interesting stories about World War II and Vietnam. There is a street full of atmosphere that takes you back to the 1940s, where you can walk into a corner grocery store and see all the food items you would find back then- this is so much fun! The Pearl Harbor area has a World War II-era bar with a sign: beer for 10c and "ice?...forget about it!"
A fun exhibit about George Bush talks about his military career and shows notes written by his supervisor in March 1943: "Aviation cadet Bush is an upstanding lad with great self-confidence. It appears however that he may be somewhat eccentric."
The real raft upon which Pastula, Dixon, and Aldrich survived for 34 days at sea living solely on rainwater and fish (and a little coconut, shark, and bird meat) is displayed. They steered themselves toward allied islands using their memory of maps, and eventually landed on an allied island, Puka Puka atoll.
There should be some little flaps for kids to lift, buttons, and other touchable things at the bottom of each exhibit so parents can have a chance to read the info on each board while their kids explore.
Kids love the children's area in the middle of the museum, where they can run around the command tower of an aircraft carrier boat with a twisty slide at the top.
Admission is free but there are extra things for a fee, such as simulator rides (kids love these though they aren't that impressive for adults) and IMAX movies (always fun to do).
The Cubi Bar Cafe is an easy place to eat (go at 11am because the waitlist gets long) right in the museum, and though it looks like the food will be awful it's actually good. The soup or chili is great (you'll need it because the AC is very cold in the museum), as is the apple pie. 
There is a second hangar with more planes and an interesting and sad exhibit about prisoners of war in Vietnam.
On most Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:30am the Blue Angels practise just outside the museum. It's fun to gather with the huge crowd and watch them. They fly so incredibly close together- it's amazing! Bring an umbrella as there's no shade. Also bring ear plugs. Here is the 2017 practise schedule.
Run through the tunnels at Fort Barrancas, which is half a mile east on the base.
If you like science, you should also bring your school-aged kids to Pensacola Mess Hall while in the area. Also fun is a drive to Pensacola Beach to build a sandcastle in the white sand.

Continue to directions...

The entrance to the museum.

Large windows in the museum.

The children's area, like a control tower on an aircraft vessel.

Kids love to run up and down in the "control tower."

A toddler checks out the children's area.

An HTL-4 helicopter.

Blue Angels planes!

Vindicator SB2U and some yellow US Navy planes.

See the person standing there and you realize how enormous this plane is.

Blue Angels planes hanging from the ceiling.

The real raft that three men survived 34 days at sea in.

The Pearl Harbor section of the museum- very nicely done!

The 1940s corner grocer in the museum.

Street from the 1940s.

What a corner grocery store looked like in the 1940s.

Magazines and chocolates from the 40s.

War planes.

Looking down at the planes from the second floor.

A boy checks out a plane in the second hangar.

Colorful planes in the second hangar.

It's amazing to read the poems and writings of men in solitary confinement in Vietnam.

Pyjama-like clothing that the prisoners of war had to wear in Vietnam.

The Blue Angels...four planes flying incredibly close together!

The crowd watching four planes fly low.

Six planes flying in formation.

Onlookers watch the Blue Angels swoop down from the sky.

The blue angels soaring way up high!

Five Blue Angels planes roar by.

National Naval Aviation Museum is located at 1750 Radford Blvd, Pensacola FL 32506, call (800) 327-5002.
Open daily 9-5. Closed Jan 1, Thanksgiving (fourth Thurs in Nov), and Dec 25.
Admission is free. Free parking. Simulators and IMAX movies are for a fee. 
Adults 16 years and older must present valid ID. No backpacks.
Cubi Bar Cafe open 11-3. IMAX movie times every hour, first one at 10, last one at 4.

Click on map for interactive view

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Last Updated: Sun, 25 Jun 2017 22:41:28 GMT

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