Given the present world circumstances, this museum should be required attendance for everyone. Yes, it's fascinating, but it also gives you a look into just how much blood, sweat, and tears go into defending this country. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have trained at the sprawling U.S. Naval Air Station since they began flying planes early in the 20th century. Celebrating their heroics, this remarkable museum has more than 100 aircraft dating from the 1920s to the space age, plus interesting exhibits on subjects such as POWs. There's even a torpedo bomber flown by former U.S. president George H. W. Bush during World War II. Children and adults alike can sit at the controls of a jet trainer, and the mock-ups of aircraft-carrier conning towers and hangar decks are realistic. You can almost feel the tug of gravity while watching the Blue Angels and other naval aviators soaring about the skies in the stunning Magic of Flight, one of two IMAX films shown at the museum. If the movie doesn't get your stomach churning, then a 15-minute ride in the flight-motion simulator will. Using high-tech video and real motion, it simulates a high-speed, low-level mission in the navy's F-18 Hornet jet fighter. A ride on a Top Gun Air Combat Simulator is $25 per person and memorable to say the least! All guides are retired naval and Marine Corps aviators, which adds a personal touch to the hour-long museum tours. Allow at least half a day here, and save 20 minutes for a Flight Line bus tour of more than 40 aircraft parked outside the museum's restoration hangar.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010
- visit website
- tel: 850/452-3604
- Radford Blvd., U.S. Naval Air Station
- Pensacola, FL 32508
- Daily 9am-5pm. Guided tours daily at 9:30 and 11am, 1 and 2:30pm. Flight Line bus tours daily every 30 min. 10am-noon and 1-4pm. IMAX movies on the hour daily 10am-4pm. Flight-motion simulator every 15 min. 9am-4:45pm
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