My brochure said the times for "The Magic of Flight" were 2 and 4 pm. (Bob thought he would be more interested in that than "Fighter Pilot" on the alternate hours). So we went to the ticket booth in the museum at about 5 after 1 to get a ticket and found out that the shows had been switched since we were here last. We went in late - missed about 10 minutes.
Bob thought this show, while interesting, had too much of the Blue Angels in it. They gave the Wright Brothers about 2 minutes of the film. I recognized narrator Tom Selleck's voice, but couldn't put a name on him.
The blurb says: "Fly at twice the speed of sound with the Blue Angels as they defy gravity with their breathtaking maneuvers. You’ll also go back in time to 1903 when the Wright brothers first took flight. .."
IMAX Facts and Figures
*The Naval Aviation Memorial Theater is one of the largest IMAX theaters in the world and has the largest screen in Florida.
*It took nearly two years to construct the theater. It contains 690 tons of structural steel and 1990 cubic yards of concrete.
*The projected image on the screen is magnified 273 times the size of the film frame.
They also have "Magnificent Desolation Walking on the Moon" at 11:00 a.m.
The website says that the hours are now:
The Magic of Flight 12:00, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Fighter Pilot 10:00 a.m.; 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m.
IMAX® Theater prices (as of 15 April 2005)
General Admission (Ages 13 - 61) $7.50
Military (Active, Reserve, or Retired), Senior Citizens and Children (Ages 5 - 12) $7.00
Children (Ages 4 and Under - accompanied by parent) Free
Ticket for two Shows $11.00
We didn't do the simulator ride (Bob has actually flown and didn't need to, and I have vertigo and didn't want to), but that is also available. You must be at least 3 years old to ride.
Ride Times: 9:00 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. (every 15 minutes)
Prices: $5.00 per person for Desert Storm or Blue Angels
Ultimate Flight Package: $10.25 per person IMAX movie and Ride
THE BLUE ANGELS
The Blue Angels represent the finest from the Navy and Marine Corps. Each team member, whether officer or enlisted, is handpicked from the fleet to be part of the Blue Angels. Each year this select group begins a two- or three-year rotation as Blue Angels--a group of men and women demonstrating the pride and teamwork found throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.
Sixteen officers and nearly 110 enlisted crew voluntarily apply for tours of duty with the Blue Angels as pilots, support team and maintenance crew in one of the most demanding and prestigious teams in the world--the Blue Angels. Team members are well-rounded representatives of their fleet counterparts, and selection is highly competitive. Each squadron members is individually selected. The selection process is keen, and certain requirements must be met. Applicants must be career-oriented Sailors or Marines recommended for Blue Angels duty by their current commanding officer. Keen competition during the application process ensures that the Blue Angels maintain its tradition of excellence and adequately reflects the professionalism of the today's Sailors and Marines.
We visited this museum twice. This is one of the three largest air museums in the US - the other two are the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and an AF museum in Ohio. The museum is way too big to see all of it in one visit - 291,000 square feet of exhibit space and 37 acres of grounds.
We were interested in seeing some of the 140 restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation. We mostly saw just the ones inside the Museum and didn't see many of the ones that are outside.
I took pictures of the model of the Essex (aircraft carrier). I though Bob was on the last cruise in this ship in 1962 when the keel was broken by a North Atlantic winter storm, but the info said that the Essex was not decommissioned until 1969. I didn't see a model of the Intrepid.
Both of us took pictures of the N3N which was the trainer seaplane in which Bob took his first flights on at the USNA and which gave him the idea that he wanted to fly instead of do submarines, and we both took pictures of the T-28 and T-34 which were the trainers that he learned on when he was in flight school here in Pensacola. I also took pictures of the four A-4 Skyhawks in formation suspended in the Blue Angels Atrium.
The Flight Line Tour which they used to have was not available because of storm damage. When it is running, the Bus leaves from the museum entrance every half hour 10:00 AM through 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM through 4:00 PM Tickets are free and available at the Information Desk
On the second visit, we went to the IMAX "History of Flight" show. Afterwards we walked around the museum - listened in on a tour group, took a weather quiz, and took pictures of Cessna OE-1 (Army L-19) that Bob's brother flew
The museum is open 9:00 to 5:00 every day except Thanksgiving Day,
Christmas Day and New Year's Day - admission is free. There is a charge for the IMAX and simulator rides.
We went to find Fort Barrancas, to take the 2 p.m. tour. In front of the fort was the Water Battery, which was initially constructed by the Spanish in 1797. The guns in this battery were designed to fire directly across the water - skipping along the surface until they hit the hull of a ship. So no problem with trajectory or anything like that. We went by the water battery (which is whitewashed) and had to turn around and go back to access the main fort visitor's center.
There is a guided tour of Fort Barrancas (on board the Naval Air Station)everyday at 2:00 p.m.
There is a guided tour of the Advanced Redoubt (on board the Naval Air Station) on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Fort Barrancas sits on a bluff overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay. The natural advantages of this location have inspired engineers of three nations to build forts. The British built the Royal Navy Redoubt here in 1763 of earth and logs. The Spanish built two forts here around 1797. Bateria de San Antonio was a masonry water battery at the foot of the bluff. Above it was earth and log Fort San Carlos de Barrancas. American engineers remodeled the water battery in 1838 and built a masonry fort on the bluff, connected by a tunnel to the water battery. This is the current Fort Barrancas. A $1.2 million, eighteen-month restoration project led to its reopening in 1980.
The lighthouse was built in 1857 to replace the first light built on the Gulf Coast and the second one in Florida (1824). The interior of Pensacola lighthouse is closed for the season now. The last public tour was Oct. 27th. It will reopen the first Sunday in May 2003 noon to 4 p.m.
I don't know if Pensacola actually has a house tour as they do in some cities, but you can do one your self by driving around the older parts of the city such as North Hill, East Hill, East Pensacola Heights and Downtown. I have posted some photos of some of the houses that we saw while we were there.
This magnificent house was for sale when my sister and I went there in 2002. It is in one of the best neighborhoods in Historic North Hil and at that time the asking price was $500,000. We couldn't believe it. That same house in Forest Hills would have an asking price of a couple of million.
It is possible to see the Blue Angels practice if you are in Pensacola when they are not out doing shows around the country. This is really an impressive sight. Call the Base Public Affairs at (850) 452-2311 to find out how to get tickets.
If you are a fisherman, this is the place for you. See the weblink below for up to date information on what fish are plentiful in the area.
Also you can check this site to see if the fishing bridge has opened since hurricane Ivan.
North Hill is a really pretty old neighborhood in Pensacola. Many of the houses have wrap around porches. There are also two bed and breakfasts in North Hill which are a pleasure to stay in. For more information see website below.
the governor perry mansion is located on palafox street near the north hill historic district. this home was built in 1867 by a danish sea captain named charles boysen. general edward a. perry CSA bought the house in 1882. edward perry was elected florida's 14 th governor in 1885. in 1922 the mansion became the scottish rite temple and today it is owned by the first united methodist church of pensacola.
many visitors to pensacola come for it's beautiful gulf beaches. in the pensacola area there are pensacola beach, navarre beach, and perdido key. these beaches has beautiful white sand beaches. pensacola beach offers excellent hotels, numerous restaurants and bars. the pensacola beaches are a great place to visit in northwest florida.
The Naval Live Oaks Area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is a small national park area, but important to US history. Because these oak trees are resistant to salt water, disease and decay they are ideal for shipbuilding. The US Navy used these oaks for such famous ships as the USS Constitution (now located in Boston) and the USS Constellation (located in Baltimore). To ensure a continuous supply of this important military resource, the US government protected thousands of acres of live oaks across the south. Today there is only one ship left in the US Navy inventory that requires live oak for maintenance and repairs (the Constitution) but the forest has been preserved as a scenic and historic area for future generations.
The first lighthouse in the Pensacola area was built in 1824 and was located about a mile and a half to the east of this current location. By the 1850s it became apparent the original lighthouse was inadequate (too short and the light too dim), so congress approved allocations for another. The lighthouse on display was first lit on New Year's Day 1859. It stands 159 feet tall.
The entry fee includes a climbing tour of the lighthouse, as well as admission to the keeper's quarters (1869) and historical exhibits. You will note that this site is located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station and across the road from the Naval Air Museum, so it makes for good planning to visit the two sites together.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pensacola's top attraction, in my mind, and worth a visit even if you don't happen to be "into" aircraft or warfare.
On display are more than 150 aircraft of all types, from early bi-planes to helicopters to the most powerful carrier-based jet fighters. All have been beautifully and faithfully restored. One particularly striking exhibit is in the atrium - four Blue Angels suspended from the ceiling as if flying in formation.
We noticed that youngsters were finding lots to keep them interested and occupied - simulators, games, and kid-friendly exhibits. Seniors like us were pleased to find seating available at the various video displays about the exhibits. There is an IMAX theater as well.
If you visit the naval aviation museum March through November, and your timing is right, you may well get to see the Blue Angels flight team practicing their intricate maneuvers. I believe those practices take place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, but check out the website or call ahead to be certain.
Admission free; parking is free and abundant. (Note - the Pensacola Lighthouse is just across the road. I suggest planning a visit to both at the same time.)
palafox street is located in the heart of downtown pensacola. most of the historic attractions of downtown pensacola are walking distance from this street. on palafox is the historic escambia courthouse, plaza ferdinand VII, and numerous shops, restaurants, and bars. a very worth while place to visit in downtown pensacola.