Being that most of my family loves history in general and particularly WWII military history, visiting the PIMA Air & Space Museum was a "must do" because it included the famous "Boneyard." This museum is the largest non-government funded aviation Museum in the world and houses some of the "most historically significant and technically advanced craft ever produced."
The more I saw, the more I was engrossed with the exhibits in this museum. We toured 3 Hangars with a most excellent volunteer guide, Mr. Rick Felker. Mr. Felker, was in a word, superb!! With his own background as a military pilot, his knowledge of aviation in general and his likable personality, he made the history of these planes really come to life!! I had the feeling I could listen to him for hours.
There were some early planes, and specialty planes on display (i.e., the "Bumble Bee"; and the worlds smallest jet which had been used in a James Bond movie), but my personal favorites were WWII planes & one newer plane, i.e. Blackbird, Superfortress and the P-51 Mustang.
I really enjoyed this museum with its widely varied historic planes housed in museum-quality aircraft hangars, the vast number of planes on display on the tarmac, and its excellent Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame section. Among the honored were Senator John McCain and the late Senator Barry Goldwater.
For a little extra fun, we paid an additional $5 per person to take a "ride" in the Flight Simulator located in Hangar 1 North. Though the simulator could hold up to 7 persons, there were only the 4 of us on the ride. Our "flight" simulated a take off from a Navy Carrier with a hunt & kill mission while flying in desert canyons. It went way too fast!
Open: daily 9 am - 5 pm; last admission is 4pm!!
Admission: June - October $15.50;
November - May $13.75
Admission with AAA card: $11.75
November - May $12.75
My daughter and I finally decide to take a tour of the air and space museum, which is literally seven miles away from where we live. On my way to work, I go past Davis Monthan air force base, which has an interesting display of air force airplanes. But for matters of security you are not allowed to just stop by and start a photo shoot. Having been fascinated by the navy and air force for the longest time, this did not come as a fresh idea, but was extremely exciting. The Pima Air & Space Museum is located at 6000 East Valencia Road, Tucson, AZ 85706. In this facility you will find the following: 1) Pima Air & Space Museum, and 2) The Challenger Learning Center of the Southwest. It is fascinating how reliant the world has become on aircraft transportation. I think that this phenomenal connection to the rest of the world is one of man's most inspiring inventions. Through the years we have seen air transportation evolve to unlimited heights. At the Tucson Air & Space Museum, visitors are fascinated by the rich history of aviation and aerospace. My daughter and I were like little children running around from one plane to another, some were so small they looked like child toys, lol!
By the way, the Tucson Air & Space Museum is the largest aviation and space Museum in the west. It covers approximately eighty acres of land with over two hundred and fifty (250) different aircrafts. One of the most exciting moments for us was entering air force one: President Kennedy's Air Force One and the SR-71 Blackbird which is a spy plane. We managed to go to all of the 4 hangars where there is showcase of some of the more rare aircrafts that highlight the achievements in aviation history, it is incredible you just have to see to experience the awe.
THE CHALLENGER LEARNING CENTER: We did not spend much time in here because my daughter was excited about running from one aircraft to another, however the center offers visitors and resident families innovative programs that simulate real space missions. It was founded by families of astronauts from the Challenger Space Shuttle mission 51-L that is why it is called the Challenger center in case you were wondering. My daughter decided that she wanted to be an astronaut because she wanted me to pay for her to go in to the simulators, heheeeeee. Funny how children think huh?
The museum also houses the DOROTHY FINLEY SPACE EXPLORATORIUM & ARIZONA AVIATION HALL OF FAME: You will be pleasantly surprised when you visit this hall. There is a guided tour, which we did not buy, tickets for because this was something we did spontaneously. However you can buy tickets and go on a guided tour which is more informative and less tiring as running around an 80 acre lot, hahaaa!
THE 390TH MEMORIAL MUSEUM: There is a self-guided tour of the B-17, 390th Memorial in honor of those braves who lost their lives. The names are individually engraved on a monument in the hall in commemoration of the fallen. It was such a nostalgic feeling as I went through the names of all those who lost their lives.
Tickets are very reasonably priced. Adults enter for $13.00, children above 6 $9.00 and senior citizens/ military $10.75. Children 6 and below enter free. You can pre-book the tram tour and get more information than you would if you take a self-walking tour. There is also a WW11 aircraft exhibit in Hangars three and four. For more information or reservations you can call directly or better yet reserve a visit online by going to their website at
www.pimaair.org. I think we might just go to the TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM, I hear the underground Missile Complex tour is something not to miss.
Access restricted with proper ID. Reservations suggested. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. excluding federal holidays, $7/adults, $3/children 12 and younger. View from Kolb Rd.
For AMARG tours, call Pima Air & Space Museum. You can get onto a bus from here if you have proper I.D.
This drive will take you by the AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group).
They will let you take photo's, but they do let you get off the bus. They had way to much trouble of folks trying to taking pieces of the aircraft as souvenirs. Still it was very interesting to see so much stored.
From the alien surface of Mars and the vast reaches of space to its modern beginnings in the Wright Brothers' triumph of flight, over 100 years of Aerospace history and 300 aircraft on 80 acres can be explored at the Pima Air & Space Museum. This is a very impressive museum. It consist of many buildings and they also of a tour on a tram that will take you through the whole park. Very well worth your time if your a aircraft buff. It has to be one of the best ones we have seen.
$12.75/AAA, seniors, military,
$9/chidren 7-12, 6 and under free.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. with last admission at 4 p.m. Allow 2-4 hours
To tour this facility, you need to take the extra tour offered at the Pima Air-Space Museum - for extra fee and you will need a photo ID. The tour takes you over the AMARC facility - Aeorspace Maintenance and Regeneration Facility - which is where planes from all branches of the Federal government are brought when they are deemed superfluous to the need. Row upon row of fighters, trainers, bombers, tankers and many other types can be seen ‘sleeping’ in the desert sand. The planes are given coverings over opening and cockpits to help protect from blowing sand and sun, but otherwise they are just sitting outside as a piece of aviation history on display. Many of the planes can be put back into service. Others are simply a repository for spare parts for planes still on active duty.
I wouldn’t say either one of us are particularly into airplanes, especially me, but what had been planned to be a half day visit turned into a whole day visit, and even at that we ran out of time and missed seeing hanger 3 and had to rush to get through some of the others. This was due to us taking too long when looking at the planes outside. We would go back again, just to spend more time in the hangers, each hanger being laid out as a museum. Luckily you can purchase lunch on the premises. There are over 250 planes on display. This Air and space Museum is the largest privately funded aerospace museum in the world, being funded by gate receipts, gift shop sales, donations, and memberships. We viewed a full sized replica of the 1903 Wright Brother’s flyer, and walked through the DC-6 plane used by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. We also enjoyed the SR-71 Blackbird, which was sleek and flat and looked very aerodynamic. There were so many planes we found interesting that I couldn’t list them all. For photos of a few of my favorites see my travelogue, “Pima Air and Space Museum.” We also took their Morphis Movieride Theater, which cost $3.00 extra and only lasted for 5 minutes. You are enclosed inside a pod and the pod moved with the flying planes to simulate flying. It was fun, but I thought quite expensive for 5 minutes. The museum is open daily from 9 to 5 except Dec. 25 and Thanksgiving with the last admittance at 4:00, but then you wouldn’t have time to hardly even start viewing this museum if you waited until 4:00! In 2001 the admission was $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for US military with ID and those over age 62. Ages 10 – 17 was $4.
Tucson is famous for its boneyard of stored planes. As such its not surprising they have been able to siphon off a collection of those planes for this musuem. the museum has a large collection but not much modern or historically signifincant planes.
There were also aircraft from other countries on display. Here you see two British Aircraft and some Russian Migs that were exported to other countries. I do not know thr nomencalture for the first aircraft can one of our British friends help me with that?
Of course the highlight for many people are the fighters. These are the planes you see in movies like "Top Gun" and are considered the "sexiest" aircraft. One of my favorites as a kid was the F-104 Starfighter.
There are several bombers on display. One of my favorites when I was a kid was the B58 Hustler (Photo 1). Photo 2 is the famous B52; and Photo 3 is the BF111 which was used as a light bomber and a fighter.
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