Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum interrupted by a Sand Storm!!

In keeping with our aviation themed weekend, Nancy and I decided to take a trip over to the Pima Air and Space Museum on Monday. We read online that the museum is a "pet friendly" facility so Luke and Leia were welcome, we like that.

The museum is a short drive from Justin's Diamond down Valencia over near the airport and the AFB. The museum sits on 80 acres and contains 300 aircraft in a combination of indoor and outdoor venues. There are 6 hangars containing numerous aircraft from a Wright Brothers replica, to a B-29 superfortress, to an SR71 blackbird.

Nancy and I enjoyed wandering around inside the hangars and looking at all the interesting aircraft. Luke and Leia were more interested in all the people. Some other folks brought their dogs as well and that always meant much tail wagging whenever we would cross paths.

Leia is still cautious around young children. We're not sure what it is about children that has always had her on edge but when kids see her she always tries to move away. Luke on the other hand eats up any attention he can get. He charges right into the middle of even large groups of kids and starts dishing out nose kisses to everybody!

If you do attend the museum with a pet you will not be able to take any of the tram/bus rides. As far as we could tell that was the only thing the pets were excluded from. Every other building or hangar we entered the dogs were welcomed with open arms.

There is also a diner on the premises that serves the usual burgers and fries and such so it is possible to enjoy a lunch here as well.

Nearly all of the planes (except the ones hanging from the ceiling and a few that are roped off) are hands on. A few, such as the F-14 even have a ladder pushed up to the side to allow you a vantage point to get a good look inside the cockpit.

"Goose" was giving everybody the "hang loose" sign.
JFK's Air Force One.

While we were all wandering the grounds looking at the outdoor planes, a nasty sand storm came out of nowhere. I no sooner said, "I think we might want to get back inside", and we were engulfed in whipping winds and sand everywhere. I took a look behind me and I could barely make out the outlines of the planes we had just been looking at. We jogged back to the nearest hangar (space exhibit) to wait it out.

While we were hiding out in the space hangar, the power went out. The space hangar is the only hangar in the complex with no skylights for natural light, so it was only light by tiny emergency lights over the exits. We decided it was no fun hanging out in the dark so we ventured back into the storm to get to another hangar. By this point my camera was getting pretty low on juice as I foolishly forgot to recharge it after all the weekends picture taking/uploading, so I didn't get much for pic's. I did manage to snap this one just when the storm died down a bit.

This pic was taken after the sandstorm had knocked out the power to the entire museum complex. It doesn't look too bad at this point but you can still see there was quite a bit of sand in the air looking at the mountains in the background.
It was fun looking at all the classic aircraft and wandering through the different hangars. And it was fortuitous that we planned an event that afforded us indoor comfort on a day that a sand storm rolled into town. I must say I did find the entry fee to be a bit high at $15 per adult (dogs are free) and I was also a bit disappointed in the state of a few of the exhibits. Too me for that entry fee all the exhibits should be meticulously maintained as the term "museum quality" implies.

As a comparison, John and Ellen just posted about their visit to the National Museum of Naval Aviation on their blog relaxedrush and it appears the exhibits there were in better condition and the entry charge was $0. That's right NADA.

Overall, it was a fun day at the Pima Air and Space Museum. It's a good "pet friendly" activity even if it is a bit pricey and some of the exhibits seem a bit less than perfectly maintained.

Have a great day everybody!!



  1. Great job with this post, I really enjoyed all of the pictures. The Pima Air and Space Museum is on my list to visit sometime. I agree, seems the $15.00 entrance fee is a bit steep.


  2. $15.00! That is way steep in my book. Even if the girls could go with us. But I sure enjoyed visiting through your pictures. You really need to be careful out on the highway when these sand storms come up. Very dangerous.