I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ve seen “Top Gun” about a gazillion times. Yes, we all know the infamous diner scene when Tom Cruise sings to Kelly McGillis. And no once can forget the scene when Goose’s plane went down. Hollywood did a good job with introducing us to the world of aviation; Leonardo DiCaprio in “Aviator”, Harrison Ford in “Air Force One” and of course the great Jimmy Stewart in “The Spirit of St. Louis”. And with the help of the California Aerospace Museum we can visit and see up close these amazing aeronautical wonders.
The California Aerospace Museum has an extensive display of aircraft- both military and civilian. You can have an opportunity to see fighter planes, trainers, transport and specialized types flown by the USAF and Navy.
The museum itself consists of aircraft, engines, and original Norden Bombsight (quite impressive), a beautiful Coast Guard art collection and a Morphis Motion Ride Simulator! I didn’t get a chance to ride in this since I had my two little kiddos with me, but I’m looking forward to my next visit since I would love to see how it feels to fly a Jet…who wouldn’t??
Outside in the airpark you can wander through history while exploring aircraft that was used during the World Wars and aircraft that is still used today.
A few of the planes and helicopters were available to climb in and explore- my kids especially enjoyed this experience. On May 21st– Armed Forces Day, you can visit the museum for “Open Cockpit Day” and feel for yourself what it would have been like to fly one of these engineering marvels.
If you have children who are interested in Aviation, they have an Aerospace Learning Center that teaches students the introduction to flight- along with science, math, navigation, weather, forces of lift and more. Summer Camps are also available- check their website or contact them for more information.
My kids are still too young for the courses, but they did enjoy sitting in the planes and pretending they were pilots for the day.
They also have a kids’ corner equipped with toys, coloring pages and markers to keep their imaginations running wild and busy while learning about the science of aviation.
The museum is located at 3200 Freedom Park Drive at the McClellan Air Force Base. Next to the museum is a fantastic park for the kids to play and picnic at. The structure looks like a large Rocket Ship- with plenty of things to climb on, slide down and crawl through. My kids had a blast at this park, and it was a great end to fun afternoon at the museum.