The Panhandle Sights

National Museum of Naval Aviation

  • 1750 Radford Blvd. Map It
  • Pensacola
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 07/06/2017

Fodor's Review

Within the Pensacola Naval Air Station (widely considered to be the must-see attraction in Pensacola), this 300,000-square-foot museum has more than 140 historic aircraft. Among them are the NC-4, which in 1919 became the first plane to cross the Atlantic; the famous World War II fighter the F-6 Hellcat; and the Skylab Command Module.

Other attractions include an atomic bomb (it's defused, we promise), and the restored Cubi Bar Café—a very cool former airmen's club transplanted here from the Philippines. Relive the morning's maneuvers in the 14-seat motion-based simulator as well as an IMAX theater playing Fighter Pilot, The Magic of Flight, and other educational films. Pensacola, also known as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation," celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation in 2011.

The museum also offers two MaxFlight Simulators that takes users on a high-definition adventure in air-to-air combat and stunt flying in an interactive 360-degree pitch-and-roll

technology experience. The $20 experience is for one or two. There's also two HD Motion-Based Simulators that offer a larger group of up to 15 people a five-minute, multisensory experience combining a high-definition projection screen and surround-sound, with the motion of the ride compartment. Riders can choose their own adventure, either a ride with the Blue Angels or take off from an aircraft carrier and do battle in the Iraqi desert in the Desert Storm Simulation." The ride costs $6

While at the museum you may hear the Navy's Blue Angels aerobatic squadron buzzing overhead. This is their home base, and they practice maneuvers here on most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 11:30 from March to November. The pilots usually stick around after the show to shake hands and sign autographs. During the show, cover your ears as the six F/A 18s blast off in unison for 45 minutes of thrills and skill. Watching the Blue Angels practice their aerobatics is one of the best "free" shows in all of Florida (well, your tax dollars are already paying for these jets and their pilots).

The Pensacola Naval Air Station is also home to the National Flight Academy, which teaches the principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) during an immersive experience for students aged 11–17.

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Sight Information


Pensacola Naval Air Station, 1750 Radford Blvd., Pensacola, Florida, 32508, USA

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Sight Details:

  • Museum free; IMAX film $9; flight simulators $6 or $20

Published 07/06/2017


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