Navy Aviation Museum at Pensecola

National Museum of Naval Aviation

National Museum of Naval Aviation

The Navy’s museum at NAS, Pensacola, is devoted to the history of naval aviation, including that of the Navy and the U. S. Marine Corps. More than 150 aircraft are on display starting with aircraft from World War 1 to modern jet fighters of today. These historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the Museum’s 300,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the Museum’s 37-acre grounds. The museum also functions in coordination with the Naval Air Systems Command as the program manager for nearly all other retired Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft on display in the United States and overseas. The thing that surprised me the most was being informed that no government or public money support the museum. Its funding and operation come from donations and gifts from people all over the world. Admission is free.

There are also time related venue settings throughout the museum depicting such things as a flight ready-room aboard an aircraft carrier you can actually sit in, a field makeshift bar for troop morale, a field barber shop, a replica of Main Street, small town America in the 40s, a 360 degree pitch and roll flight simulator, and more.

The museum also operates an IMAX theatre, gift store, and a cafe loaded from floor to ceiling with fighter squadron(s) memorabilia. The museum is also the home of the National Flight Academy, a 6-day program designed to teach 7th through 12th graders about the importance of science and math in aerospace careers. The building they are housed in actually vibrates like that of an aircraft carrier at sea. The cost for this 6 day course is $3,000. There is a waiting list to attend.

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