You can’t grow up in Seattle and not have been to the Museum of Flight. Every school goes at least once a year, seniors groups have monthly tours, and it’s a staple of high school and college engineering programs. My dad worked for the Boeing Company when I was a kid, and we went 5 or 6 times a year for tours of new exhibits or planes, and once or twice a year for an evening employees-only party. (If you want a truly unique venue for an event, this is a place you should seriously consider!) Even if planes aren’t your thing, I promise you will find something interesting to take away from your visit, even if it’s just that you got to see an old Air Force One, or watched a short film about space travel in the 3D theater.
Our History in Aviation
The Emerald City has long been home to Boeing and prides itself on a history of innovation in aviation that has transformed the field in the past several decades. And even though Boeing HQ is no longer here, it’s still a major source of employment – with over 80,000 people working in the factories, hangers, and providing engineering and admin services. Visitors to Seattle who are looking for an immersive experience into the city’s incredible role in aviation will want to make time to visit The Museum of Flight.
Located at 9404 E. Marginal Way, Seattle’s Museum of Flight has earned the title as the largest nonprofit air and space museum on the planet that retains independent status. The museum was started in 1965 by the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation. This group of dedicated aviation enthusiasts recognized the importance of saving, preserving and displaying artifacts from the aviation industry that showed progress and demonstrated the importance to the public. With this mission of education firmly in place, the museum was built on an old Boeing company site in 1983 and has remained there ever since.
What to Expect During a Visit
A trip to the Museum of Flight is an interactive, engaging and insightful experience. A combination of over 175 aircraft, including spacecraft, are on display for visitors to explore. Beyond this, thousands of artifacts are on display including photographs, specialized exhibits and a library dedicated to information relevant to the field and history of aviation. When you visit, you’ll have a chance to wander the aviation pavilion for an up-close look at planes that have graced the skies through history.
Beginning April 13th, and running through September 2nd, is the Destination Moon: the Apollo 11 Mission exhibit. It is part of the National Air and Space Museum and Smithsonian US tour, and this is its only West Coast stop, and the final stop of the two year special exhibition. With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer, there are special events planned for the entire family including a playground with a full-sized, hands-on command module, the actual Columbia command module from the Apollo 11 mission, Yuri’s Night Out (the museum turns into a dance club!) on April 12th, and over 20 one-of-a-kind artifacts from the Smithsonian, NASA, and the museums’ own Russian additions.
Another unique program for the museum is Project Welcome Home, dedicated to the veterans and aircraft lost in the Vietnam War. They have restored a Boeing B52-Stratofortress 59-2584 Midnight Express and placed it in a specially designed park at the west side of the campus. The park opens on May 25th.
If you’re in the mood for an even more engaging experience, hop in the pilot flight simulator and see what it takes to maneuver aircraft on your own. A Museum of Flight visit also highlights the wonder of the cosmos and provides guests with a chance to experience space with a showing at the on-site 3D movie theater. Shuttle training tours let guests step into a space shuttle pod and get a sense for what it might feel like to live above the atmosphere and among the stars. Whether you’re here to pursue a passion for aviation or are hoping for some insight into the world of astronomy, there’s something for every enthusiast that looks to the sky for motivation at the Museum of Flight.
Enjoy a Seattle Stay
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