Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The National Museum of the Air Force

I promise this is the last post about our trip to Ohio!  I've been meaning to post these pictures for awhile I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  I've written about my husband's eye surgery (our reason for going to Ohio in the first place) and about staying at the Fisher House.  The Fisher House was beautiful, but we did get cabin-fever since we were there for so long with a busy, little person so we were on the lookout for free/cheap activities.

Wright-Patt AFB is home to the National Museum of the Air Force which is FREE!  It took us about ten minutes to get there from the Fisher House so we ended up going about three or four times while we were in Ohio.  The museum is gigantic and not very busy so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.  The museum is three airplane hangers full (and they are planning on building a fourth hanger in the near future).

From what I could tell, the museum is staffed by volunteers, most of whom are veterans.  Everyone we met was so kind, especially when they found out we were an Air Force family.  There were signs all over saying that food and drink was prohibited, but when our bags were checked at the beginning, they allowed us to bring in Hadden's drink and dry snacks, which was nice.

Hadden took full advantage of all the open space by running everywhere.

There were many simulators, which kept my boys busy.  The one above shows how the tail of the helicopter controls which way it turns.

Watching a recording of a Bob Hope USO performance

The sweetest little feet in the world.

Hadden's inspiration photo in case he decides to become an astronaut

These planes are SO much tighter than they look!  I think I'm too claustrophobic to ever consider a career in aviation.  

This is the tune of the Air Force song with the original lyrics:

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sun,
Down we dive giving 'em hell from under, once we ride, battle is done!
Down below infantry men are marching, mixed in one hell of a row!
With scouts in the fore and bomber galore, Boy, what do you think of the Air Corps now!"

I was excited to see several signs like this one showing the history of women in the Air Force.  At the same time, many of the older planes we saw were decorated with pin-up girl images, so there was a bit of cognitive dissonance.

I had already agreed to review this book before our trip, so when I was especially interested to see Gold Star Mothers remembered at the museum.

These service flags always remind me of the Molly books (the WWII American girl doll) which is where I first learned of them.  

After awhile, Hadden ended up on Caleb's shoulders, which is usually one of his favorite places to be.

Hadden's absolute favorite part of the museum were these coin funnels!  I try not to carry a lot of change, so I was digging through the diaper bag and my wallet to find coins for him.  He probably would have stayed there all day if I had had enough coins to keep going.  :)

Eventually baby boy got tired and ended up conked out in the stroller so we just laid him back and let him sleep while we explored the museum in peace.

This is aerial view of the last hanger and it definitely doesn't do it justice.  If I were a better photographer, I would have taken a panoramic photo because this only shows about a third of the planes in that hanger.

Just a few more pictures!  I promise!

We also took a day and visited two additional exhibits, the Presidential exhibit and the Research and Development exhibit.  Both of these are located on base, which means regular visitors to the AF museum have wait until they have a bus going there.  Since we are DOD cardholders, we got to go on our own time.  I loved the Presidential side of the exhibit and seeing all the old Air Force Ones.

Hadden loved climbing up all the steps on the planes and I loved having him use up energy that way ;)

The passages through the plane were SO narrow.  In the beginning, I had Hadden in an Ergo and we fit, but it was definitely tight.

On Kennedy's Air Force One.  
If I remember correctly, the plane had been refigured since Kennedy had used it, but it was still a bit eerie thinking about Johnson being sworn in on that plane with Jackie next to him in a blood-spotted suit.

As always, Hadden found a place to wiggle and wriggle.  I have absolutely no recollection of what this little trailer thing was, but I DO remember Hadden walking through it about thirty times.  :)

I knew the AF museum would be a good place to release energy, but I wasn't sure how I would like walking around "a bunch of old planes" (my view before we went there) even though I really like most museums.  But we learned quite a bit about aviation, the Air Force and the military in general.  The next time we're in the area, we'll definitely be going back!

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