The National Museum of the United States Air Force Thursday, October 17 on the day it reopened after the government shutdown ended. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham
Photo: Nick Graham

National Museum of the United States Air Force

Looking for something to do? Take a trip to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, more commonly known as the Air Force Museum, and learn about the nations’ armed forces.

Their many exhibits highlight aviation and our involvement in war, as well as space travel. It’s the oldest and largest aviation museum in the world.

Some of the most popular public galleries are Early Years, World War II, Korean War, Southeast Asia, Cold War, Missle & Space, Research & Development and Presidential. Each gallery is composed of different airplanes and artifacts that have been collected and donated to the museum. There are smaller exhibits sandwiched in between, including History of the Enlisted, Prejudice and Memory: A Holocaust Exhibit, Medal of Honor Awards in the Air Force, Air Force Art and more. See the complete list.

The Research & Development and Presidential galleries aren’t located inside the main area of the museum, but in a controlled-access area of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Visitors can take a shuttle to visit these exhibits, but children must be escorted by an adult (one adult per two children) and people over the age of 18 must show a government-issued photo ID.

The digital 3D theatre shows historical aviation documentaries, but also hosts special events, guest speakers and the annual Reel Stuff Film Festival.

One of the most hands-on attractions is the interactive flight simulator (find specials here).

Want to go?
What: National Museum of the United States Air Force
Where: 1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH 45433
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day
Cost: Admission is free; there is a charge for the digital 3D theatre and flight simulators
Info: 937-255-3286 or

Note: On Dec. 6, 2014, the Missile & Space gallery will temporarily close for five months due to construction, which will connect the gallery to a new fourth building.