We all know that museums need to be entertaining in order to educate and inspire, so why not combine a dinosaur park with a collection of real flying airplanes from the first half-century of flight? If that’s not enough to get your Walter Mitty dreams stirred up, there may be no hope!
Almost 10 years ago, one man with a passion started creating an amazing place where learning about aviation would be fun. Imagine a museum with multi-million dollar exhibits with no ropes around them. Then imagine old war-planes belching fire and smoke on warm sunny days. Imagine bringing your family to exciting airshows in May, June and October featuring these old planes in flight, live entertainment, and big band dance music.
Seventy historic airplanes are housed in five major exhibit buildings, two of which are historic. Hundreds of people each year line up to ride in a real open-cockpit World War II trainer over the lovely rural Southern Virginia Beach area. You can too!
In addition, more than a dozen WWII German planes are housed in an actual 1934 Luftwaffe hangar that was brought over from Cottbus, Germany.
Seventy-five years ago, just months after Pearl Harbor, the first English air base was turned over to the Americans to create “The Mighty Eighth” air force that fought the air war over Europe. The Military Aviation Museum has the actual control tower from that base, and it is just now being re-erected next to our 5,000 foot grass runway. Walking through historic aviation buildings and touring real aircraft are two goods ways to understand the sacrifices of the millions of Americans and their allies who pulled the world from the flames of World War I (Jul 28, 1914 – Nov 11, 1918) and World War II (Sep 1, 1939 – Sep 2, 1945). These are stories that we and our children should never forget.
While the planes and historic structures will delight aviation fans, the museum entrance offers its own surprise. There, visitors will find a large landscaped dinosaur park with over a dozen 2/3 scale metal sculptures of assorted dinosaurs. A small lake and picnic tables make this a great place to take a family break for lunch. This area is available every day to anyone at no cost.
With its world-class collection and over 200 volunteers, the Military Aviation Museum delivers a truly unique, welcoming, and fun guest experience. The Volunteer Corps gave the museum 45,000 hours in 2016 alone, and it was named the non-profit “Volunteer Program of the Year for 2017” by Volunteer Hampton Roads. The May 2017 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine features the Military Aviation Museum on the front cover and in an eight-page feature article. TripAdvisor says it is the only five-star-rated museum in Virginia Beach.
For our first decade as a museum, it’s been a great start. But’s it’s just the beginning! For more information about the Military Aviation Museum, visit u us online at http://www.militaryaviationmuseum.org.