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Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force

2017 North Greenfield Road, Mesa, Arizona
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1 Review
Type: Museums & Monuments
Ages: All Ages
Cost: $$

1 Review for Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force

June 03 2015
0 families found this helpful
"Cool planes and history"

This museum shows historic planes and teaches some of the navy history of past wars. I found the history of the planes fascinating. My 5 kids (ages 9, 6, 5, 2, and under 1) enjoyed getting a close-up look at the planes, engines, and bombs. This museum is somewhat small and not very interactive for young ones, so we didn't last here for too long.

The museum is mainly one large airplane hangar (air-conditioned). About 20 planes are circling perimeter, just a little ways in from the exhibits. Upon entering, my kids wanted to touch every plane. There are a few with signs that ask visitors not to touch, but none are roped off, so just be aware of the signs. The boys really liked seeing the missiles on a plane that was used in the Vietnam War. My oldest liked the mannequin showing where a wounded solider would fit on one of the smallest planes. There was also a small toy plane the kids were allowed to pedal around the room and a wooden plane that rocked like a rocking horse. Once the kids discovered these toys they didn't want to explore the exhibits.

The exhibits line the walls. There are some unique metals from German soldiers in WWII on display. My boys liked the engine display. There was one engine you could crank to see the gears move and another that would turn on if a quarter was inserted. I was interested in the exhibits, but due to lack of interaction, all but the 9-year-old lost interest quickly.

Outside are a few more planes on display, including a B-17 that you can go inside of. The guns are all set up so you can see where the soldiers would shoot from. You can also see where the bomb would drop from. Going inside the B-17 was probably my favorite part. Also outside, there is the maintenance yard, where mechanics are working on the warbirds (planes that flew in wars). Visitors can go into the maintenance area if accompanied by a docent (they wear the white shirts).

One detail that is pretty cool is that almost all the planes here still fly. For a fee, you can even schedule a ride in one of the warbirds. Most flights require passengers to be ages 12 or up but there is one plane that kids over 5 can ride.

This museum is probably best for children ages 8 and up, unless they are super interested planes or war history. It would be helpful to do a little research with children before coming here so they know what they are looking at and what to be excited about. If you do bring little ones, there is plenty of room from a stroller. For the size of the museum, I feel like $15/adult is a little steep, but again, if you know your warbird history, it may be worth it to see the rare planes housed here.

Bottomline: I would recommend this museum to families with school ages children who love planes or would like to teach them about WWI, WWII, or the Vietnam War. There is some great educational value here. I would not recommend this museum as an outing for preschool age children since they will get bored quickly.

Disclosure: This review is based on admission passes I received from Visit Mesa. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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