The National Museum of the Air Force is in the perfect site to visit since there is so much aviation history in Dayton, Ohio. I even think that people that are not that excited about planes would enjoy this place. Not only are there numerous Air Force military planes from different decades but there are also presidential planes, spacecraft capsules, a life-size space shuttle display, tall missiles, flight simulators, and experimental aircraft. Dayton is home to the largest military aviation museum in the world.
Perhaps the most famous plane in the Museum is the Memphis Belle. During World War II, the crew beat the odds of survival when they completed 25 bombing missions. They were subsequently awarded a state-side multi-city tour to promote war bonds. There is a fascinating exhibit with photos, its history, and of course the plane itself.
Some of the airplanes displayed in the Museum are massive. It is impossible to capture their immensity in a photograph even if you are using a wide-angle lens. It is difficult to imagine how they even got them into the buildings.
There are plenty of displays of early aircraft. The Sopwith Camel conjures up memories of watching Snoopy flying in cartoons. This WWI plane has become a classic.
We were not able to go inside the presidential planes that they have on display because of Covid restrictions. The museum had previously opened other areas, including the restaurant and IMAX theater, but not these planes. Some of the docents thought that they would be allowed to give tours of these popular planes again in just a few days.
We did see the Tom Brokaw narrated film on the Normandy invasion which is called simply “D-day.”It offered several new insights. The fact that it was shown in 3-D made for some exciting scenes too. While the museum is free to the public, there is a fee for the films.
It is difficult to explain how imposing this facility is. It contains over 10 galleries and other exhibits. According to Celia’s watch we walked over three miles while visiting it that afternoon. Given all the exhibits, it would have been easy to have spent a full day there. Unlike some other aviation centered facilities, this one is almost entirely indoors in five hangers that house some of the largest aircraft in the world.
Many folks told us that this was a “don’t miss” while in Dayton. You can see why that is the case.
While we were in Richmond, Virginia, we were invited to visit the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. This 82-acre facility is quite impressive and is a beautiful spot to spend the afternoon. Not only does it boast a classic domed Conservatory, but it has numerous paths, waterways, and a lovely tea house.
If you are in Richmond you should make a point to visit it.