I used to think it was a bad idea to take young kids to a museum. Who wants to say "don't touch that!" for a few hours? Boy, was I wrong! To prove my point, I’ll share some notes from my personal family experience at The Museum of Flight.
We started our exploration of the world famous aviation museum in The Great Gallery. You can actually sit in the cockpit or two fighter jets. It’s a great photo op!
Next, we headed to the interactive Flight Zone; kids can touch, climb, sit, and push all kinds of buttons. Oftentimes, on weekends there is a story or craft activity for kids. Also in the Flight Zone is a hang-gliding chair older kids, teens and adults enjoy. My three-year-old was too young to appreciate it, she thought it was a swing but my son was really focused and enjoyed the demo. Older kids and thrill-seeking adults can climb into a simulator for a small fee. The simulators allow you to engage the enemy in a high-tech dog fight that will literally have you spinning.
The Personal Courage Wing is devoted to WWI and WWII and is filled with teaching opportunities about our nation’s history for older kids. We walked into the Personal Courage Wing. Our eyes were drawn to the dramatic old fighter planes. My daughter gasped and said "Oh planes are bee-you-tee-full!" She skipped over to see my favorite plane "O'Riley's Daughter" took one look at the plane with teeth on it and exclaimed "Oh that's an angry plane." Cue the bullet sounds on the big speakers. My daughter scattered for cover. I coaxed her out and from behind a display and explained the sounds were just pretend. She “hit the deck” twice while in this wing.
Families with kids may want to do the photo op in the Great Gallery, Flight Zone and then head straight to the pedestrian bridge to visit the Aviation Pavilion with a Concorde and former Air Force One. Both my 3yr and 11yr old waited patiently in line. They were so curious to see the inside of those planes.
- To get the most out your family outing have kids fed and napped prior to your visit or arrive early and plan on leaving before they get hungry and tired.
- Don't expect to stroll through the MOF with small kids in tow and read all of the detailed displays explaining the history and significance of the exhibits. Younger kids will be stimulated visually and may have a struggle standing still for long periods. They may want to stay moving to see all the planes.
- If you struggle with claustrophobia don't go in the Concorde or Air Force One. The isles are narrow and the ceiling low.
- Noise Level: my daughter got loud in the Space exhibit. Happy cries of "It's a rocket ship!!" and "ooh the earth" caused people to smile at the sight of a little girl jumping up and down excited to see a rocket ship and the earth. I didn't feel pressure to keep the kids silent. It's a Museum not a library.
- Food: lunch at the Museum in Wings Café was $26 for the three of us. I had a delicious portabella mushroom veggie sammy on Ciabatta bread. Kids had hot dogs, apple, milk, and ice cream.
- The Museum of Flight is stroller friendly.
- Parking is free (Bonus!).
- We were there for 2 hours and 45 minutes which included our meal time.
- For a coupon to The Museum of Flight, download the free Do More-Save More Passport
Since our first visit we returned and purchased a membership. It’s a tremendous place to take friends and family when they visit. There you have it people. Enjoy! Take lots of pictures. Have fun and please share your stories with us on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear about your visit!