Pensacola Naval Aviation Mueum

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February 18th 2011
Published: July 2nd 2011
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This museum was amazing. We spent at least 5 hours here and I wish that we could have spent an hour more. There are two huge buildings to explore the main museum and the hanger which houses the air craft that simply wouldn't fit inside the main building. Normally when you think of aviation your first thought is the air force but the Navy has also played a large part in aviation. This was Chris's favorite military museum so far. His main reason for this is that this covers so much of the history of flight from World War 1 through WW2 and choppers used in Vietnam and more modern really is astounding when you think of how much has changed in less than 100 years. You also get a far better idea of exactly how big these aircraft and how powerful their engines were. You can sit inside many of these planes and look in wonder at all of the instrumentation. You can sit in a battery gun or look at a ball turrett that was used in WW2 and think how cramped it must have been for the gunner that sat for hours on end on a mission. There are models of aircraft carriers with the most detailed miniature figures I have ever seen in a museum. There is one picture posted where Chris and I are intently examining one of these models. Truthfully we looked at that model for well over half of an hour as there was a fun game posted for kids to play which was kind of like where's Waldo, there was a list of over twenty things you had to find including sailors playing cards, a photographer, a seasick sailor etc....
Part of what made this museum so much fun was the interactive details. It wasn't just stories of battles and heroism although there were plenty of those but also stories about what it was like at a base in the Pacific during WW2 with a list of shower rules ( 5 seconds to wet down, then lather up and 10 seconds to I'm lucky if I can make it out of the shower in 10 minutes never mind 10 seconds ! ) There was also a typical Main Street on the homefront during WW2 ( the war bond raffles, drives for nylons, rubber and aluminum, what you could actually get with your food rations and what people learned to live without....and what a typical kitchen looked like again truly amazing to think how far we have come in the past 50 years. ) There is a photo that Bob took that I love of a group of school girls that must have been on a field trip posing around a Sailor getting a shoe shine. Another neat thing that happened was that there was a retirement ceremony that took place while we were there "Shipman going a shore"...
In fact my only real disappointment when we were at this museum was that the Blue Angels were in California for an air show so we were unable to watch one of their practice sessions....and I had specifically gotten everyone up early for that purpose, oh well it wasn't a total loss as one of the navy men kindly gave us directions to the Krispy Kreme when I asked.
I won't get into details of every plane but trust me there is more than enough to keep one occupied for hours.

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