Here in Cincinnati, we are so lucky to have many topnotch museums right in our backyard. Several of these are within the city limits, but if you drive just north to Dayton, you’ll find the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force – one of the best museums around.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the largest aviation museum in the world and one of Ohio’s most glorious hidden gems, and it makes for a perfect day trip from Cincinnati.
The Museum is reopened earlier this month (read up on their COVID-19 safety protocol here) and is a great respite from the heat. It’s an easy 45-minute drive up 1-75, and the museum itself is incredibly accessible with free parking and free admission.
The museum is divided into four massive buildings/hangers, each housing a different time period of the history of the Air Force, from WWI and WWII to the Cold War and even space travel. There are countless planes, engines, models, missiles and space shuttles, spread out throughout the grounds. My four kids were able to spread out and explore at their own speed, and I was thrilled to find the museum spacious and very family friendly.
While COVID-19 has temporarily closed the sit-in cockpits and aircraft, there are still opportunities for learning and fun.
My kids had seen countless trains, construction vehicles and fire trucks up close, but never aircraft. It was a fun experience for them and were in awe of these massive machines.
My oldest especially enjoyed the history – getting to see the Presidential airplane that brought JFK back to Washington D.C. after he was assassinated, and the spot where Johnson was sworn in as President.
We spent a few hours exploring and only scratched the surface of this incredible museum. We will definitely be back.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about this museum. Dayton is known for its ties to America’s aviation history and the Air Force Museum is its crowning jewel. The museum is accessible for all ages: from babies in carriers to grandparents, and it’s well-suited for strollers, spacious for antsy kids and family friendly with plenty of restrooms and a nursing room. If you’re looking for something different to do with your family, this is it.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is located at 1100 Spaatz Street Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433. Please note that masks are required for all visitors over the age of 3. Admission and parking are always free. For more information, check out their website here.