Saturday we had planned a little “gap” day to break up the driving. We stayed an extra night in Dayton, Ohio so we could go see the National Museum of the US Air Force.
It’s located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base and is the largest military aviation museum in the world. They have a LOT of stuff in there!!!
There’s information and displays relating to Early Aviation (like the Wright brothers’ story), World War I/World War II, Korean War, SE Asia War, Cold War, a missile gallery, a space gallery, a global reach gallery and a Presidential gallery (retired Air Force Ones). It’s humongous.
The World War areas were super interesting. There was more information in there than we could have read in days, so we just did our best to read what we could and move through the large museum. It was only open 9-5….
The museum was really great. And, it’s free!! (Donations accepted, which we gave.)
Kind of blows my mind to see how quickly, relatively speaking, the technology advanced from that first Wright brothers plane to the massive jets and fighter planes that exist today. (Or even those they used back in the world wars!! It was such a quick progression! Pretty amazing.)
The collection of planes was beyond impressive, too. Wow. The boys really seemed to like looking at them all. (They especially liked looking for any “nukes” strapped to the planes…. Ha.)
Ethan has read probably 15-20 books at least on World War II and knows a lot about that whole time period. So it was really cool to see those old fighter planes and everything in person.
In the cockpit:
The Missile gallery and information on the Minuteman missiles:
The presidential gallery area was super cool!! It houses a bunch of the old Air Force Ones (the planes that carry the president around the world), like from the era of Presidents Truman , Eisenhower, Johnson, etc.
We could go inside a bunch of them.
The most impressive, definitely, was the larger Boeing VC-137C, which was the first jet aircraft specifically designed for use by the President of the United States.
This was JFK’s plane!! Jackie O. designed the paint scheme.
This was cool!! I read that JFK actually flew on this on his way to Texas, where he was assassinated. This very plane later flew his body back to DC, AND Vice President Lyndon Johnson was actually sworn in as President, urgently, while standing on this plane.
ALSO, this plane served as Air Force One for (besides Kennedy and Johnson): Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton.
Pretty historical! Very cool.
A few more massive military planes:
The kids did a “flying simulator” (I think it was a fighter plane, trying to hit targets) and then a Virtual Reality ride too.
We stayed until they closed at 5! My feet were getting tired. 🙂
Stopped at yet another local brewery for our real last dinner of the trip… (don’t judge….I swear we don’t eat garbage food every day in real life. Vacation mode= pretty much anything goes. 🙂 Back to reality very soon.)
We had hoped to use the hotel hot tub, but another family sort of parked themselves in it for a really long time.. we eventually gave up after they didn’t seem to be getting out any time soon. Oh well!
Daily gratitude: I am grateful for the WordPress app!! Without it I would never have been able to write up these posts while I was away, and trust me, I would have NEVER returned to journal in this much detail after the fact.