Tired of the same old routine at the airport: traverse security, grab a bite to eat, perhaps find a free WiFi connection? There’s more to life than that – like learning how airplanes take flight
Here’s a trio of on-airport, or near-airport museums in the United States that do it right.
- No contest here. The best airport museum on the planet is located at Washington Dulles International, on the periphery of the field. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center houses everything from the Space Shuttle Discovery, to Concorde to the Enola Gay. These aircraft are the real thing folks, meticulously preserved to chronicle the history of aviation in all its forms. The Udvar-Hazy Center also sports a terrific observation deck form which you can view the comings and goings at Dulles.
- Out on the West Coast San Francisco International harbors a jewel box of an aviation enclave, the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. Located in the International Terminal the collection focuses on the West Coast and the vast Pacific. There’s a nostalgic look at Pan Am and its pioneering transpacific efforts, including the famed China Clipper. A visit to this museum is a trip back into another, more gracious era of flight. You owe it to yourself the see the way it was.
- In the middle of the country lies Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Inside the terminal you’ll find the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, a right-sized, insightful museum that sheds light on the likes of Apollo 13 commander astronaut Jim Lovell, aviation pioneer Charles A. Lindbergh, and the airport’s namesake, General William “Billy” Mitchell. Perhaps more than any officer in history, it was Mitchell who foresaw the importance of air power on the world stage.