Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Carolinas Aviation Museum - Charlotte, NC

This past Tuesday it was raining cats and dogs. The kids and I were driving Sean to work and saw this place nearby so we checked it out!

Aircraft Outside of Carolinas Aviation Museum
The Carolinas Aviation Museum is located about 1/4 from the Charlotte Airport and literally next to the North Carolina National Guard Station. The entire museum is in an aircraft hanger which houses about 30 variations of airplanes, jets, helicopters and submarine chasers. Uh huh... submarine chasers. This place is pretty cool.

Since we rolled in promptly at 10am when they opened, we beat the bus load of vets, grandparents and aircraft enthusiasts. This place really caters to people who have a aircraft obsession or a military background- there were plenty of ooohhhs and ahhhhs from our boys.

Fighter Jet you can climb in
Pilot Conor
Pilot Bradan

The museum is currently showcasing Flight 1549 - Known as the Miracle on the Hudson. Remember in 2009 when the plane safely crashed in the Hudson River? The entire aircraft is on display including parts of the wreckage that had broken off, life rafts, life jackets- the whole ball of wax.

US Airways Flight 1549
Rear of US Airways Flight 1549
If you are wondering how they pull a full size sunken aircraft from a freezing river in January check this out. A time lapsed video of them pulling the plane. Pretty cool. If you would like a little historical recap on the events leading to and following the crash check this out. The boys were only somewhat interested- I mean this commercial airplane was competing for the attention of a 1, 5 and 7 year old- when there were military helicopters and flighter jets present. I thought it was very interesting. In June there will be a large FedEx aircraft on display that you can board and check out- sounds pretty cool.

For those with an interest in ever visiting the Carolinas Aviation Museum . Here are my tips, recommendations and reviews.

This is nice display- very small. We were in and out in about 1 hour! This is a historic display, nearly all of the aircrafts are to scale- not a lot of touching going on. However the boys were totally jazzed about sitting in the fighter jet. I feel like it was a little pricey. Luckily kids under 5 are free. There are discounted rates for military and retired military. They apparently also do birthday parties- so if your son or daughter is a plane nut, this might be the place for you.
  • Adults: $12
  • Children 6-16: $8
  • 5 and under: FREE
  • Parking: FREE 
  • Concessions: None
  • Gift Shop: A wide selection of models, toys, lego sets, tshirts, patches and lapel pins.
  • Staff: The museum is operated largely by volunteer docents. Most appeared to be retired military. All were very friendly and have an extensive knowledge about all of the planes, facts, dates, etc.
Favorite Parts:
Bradan: The $5 toy plane and dog tags he got from the gift shop
Conor: Sitting in the fighter jet
Kate: PLANES! (she just kept screaming it over and over and over)
Christie: Out of the rain and something new we had never seen before

It was a nice visit. You certainly could not make a day of it. But if you are headed near the airport it is worth stopping. If you are headed to the airport or if you are headed to the Farmers Market in Charlotte, this would be a nice addition to your day. I would give it 3.75 out of 5 stars if I had stars to give or had some type of universal rating scale. I would be willing to give it 4 stars, if the adult ticket wasn't so expensive.

There you have it.

Remember our Gnome Without a Name? Don't forget to leave your name suggestion in the comments box. I already have a favorite of the names listed... however I am totally open to more suggestions. Go for it.

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