Family Travel: Take Flight in Seattle, Flickr: jkbrooks85

Museum of Flight!

Seattle’s Museum of Flight began in the 1960s as a grass roots effort to save aircraft and aviation artifacts and to help educate the public about flight.  Today, it is one of the largest private air and space museums in the world and receives almost 500,000 visitors each year.  

The permanent exhibit houses more than 150 air and space craft.  Aviation-loving kids will get a kick out of the entire museum, but even those without their wings will enjoy learning the history and amazing feats behind the aircraft.  The Red Barn building showcases a well-designed “Birth of Aviation” exhibit where visitors can discover the motivations, failures, and successes of that time period.  The history goes back farther than you would think – the lobby now showcases a scale model of the Montgolfier Brothers’ Balloon, the original free flying device from 1783.

One of the world’s fastest, retired jets calls the Museum of Flight its home.  The Concorde Jet by British Airways is the only one on display on the West Coast making it a unique visiting opportunity (only 20 were ever built!)  Visiting presidents’ Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon’s Air Force One, including a preserved interior section, is also available on the grounds.  

If your kids are new to flying, this is even a great place to prep them for your first trip.  You can hop aboard a 737 passenger plane to watch a short film on the history of flight from your business class seat. There are numerous war time aircraft used in WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam wars, including helicopters, fighter jets, and miscellaneous planes.

Looking for a little more hands-on excitement?  The Museum of Flight has plenty of options.  Kids can hop in the pilot seat of numerous aircraft including a real Blackbird plane or mock-up of a 18L Hornet fighter.  The Kid’s Flight Zone allows even the littlest ones to be the pilot in a hang-gliding simulator.   Numerous other flight simulators are in play around the museum giving you the option to fly WWII dogfights, hang-gliders, and space craft moon landings!  

Speaking of outer space, visit the Rendezvous in Space exhibit where you can re-enact astronaut activities in a realistic setting.  The Lear Gallery boasts Apollo 17 Mission Models, a full size replica of the International Space Station’s Destiny Research Laboratory, and moon or space shuttle simulators.

In addition, the museum also offers a great amount of family programming each year.  Kids grade K-12 can head off to Aerospace Camp for a week long immersion in all things aviation.  Family workshop weekends are offered every weekend of the year for kids grade K-3 and the program cost is included with admission.  Children can explore space through hands-on activities and crafts during this time.   Museum exploration packs are set up for kids based on age and vary from scavenger hunt-style missions to hearing the stories of the men and women who were involved with aircraft during WWI and WWII.  Groups of more than 15 students can partake in a realistic role play of a space mission encouraging aviation knowledge and teamwork.

The Museum of Flight is located south of downtown Seattle.  It is open daily; adults, $17, children 5-17, $9, under five, free.  The first Thursday of each month you can visit free of charge thanks to generous sponsors.

Book your Seattle family vacation today and enjoy all things aviation!

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photo: jkbrooks85

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