Located just off I-70 in Dayton, OH is the National Museum of the US Air Force. We stopped recently on our way back from Columbus, OH and I honestly wasn’t expecting much other than a place to stretch our legs for a few hours on our drive home. But man, was I blown away by how impressive this museum is.
There are at least four enormous airplane hangers full of aircraft to wander through and in less than two hours, I had my 10,000 steps in for the day. The buildings are divided by time period and walk you through the last century of US History. The displays are well marked and there are hundreds of things to read but for my 4 and 7 year old the huge planes are so beautifully displayed that we didn’t even need to do much more than walk along and talk about what we noticed as airplanes changed and developed through time. I’m not a huge military buff but I loved that all the displays help tell the story of our country’s history and that made for great discussions with my older son.
The final building (creatively called The 4th Building) is recently opened and had some of my favorite displays including a shuttle replica to walk through and several old Air Force One planes to tour. It’s not every day you get to see FDR and JFK’s planes!
The best part of the whole museum is that it’s FREE and so is parking. They’re open 9am-5pm everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day which makes it easy to stop by when you’re traveling on I-70. There are two cafes for dining or snacks and prices seemed reasonable. You can download self-guided audio tours which might be fun for older kids and I also saw veterans giving guided tours. There are a few attractions that are an additional cost including a few flight simulators and a 3D film but we had more than enough to do without those things.
If you’re traveling through the Midwest or live nearby this is worth a stop. It is an extremely well done museum and you can’t beat the price. Plus, how can you not feel good about sneaking in a little learning on your trip 🙂
Tell me, have you visited this museum? What’s your favorite way to promote learning when you travel with your kids?