If you have kids that love airplanes, you won’t want to miss visiting the Aerospace Museum of California! Read more about our experience, plus learn about an incredible new resource for Sacramento families!
Aerospace Museum of California
My kids are fascinated by all things that go, so I was excited to take them to the Aerospace Museum of California, located right here in Sacramento!
Built on the grounds of the former McClellan Air Force Base, the Aerospace Museum consists primarily of a large, open exhibit hall plus outdoor space with 50+ aircrafts!
Weather permitting, several of these are open every day for visitors to explore. When we visited, we got to climb aboard the “Jolly Green Giant,” a helicopter from the Vietnam War; a FedEx delivery plane; a Coast Guard aircraft; and (my favorite) a World War II era plane that flew supply missions during the invasion of Europe. Nothing teaches you history like being inside the actual aircraft that took part!
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Back inside, there are even more aircraft (and engines) to see, plus rotating exhibits on different topics – the current exhibit is the Art of the Airport Tower. My kids loved getting into the training craft – which were actually used to train pilots – and pretending they were flying a plane!
My oldest son’s favorite part, though, was the Morphis Simulator Ride. It is a mini-theater inside of an aircraft, which moves as you watch a short film about flight or space. (This is an additional cost from admission).
If you bring a toddler, you will need to watch them like a hawk in the main exhibit areas. Many of the aircraft on the exhibit floor are marked off with just a chain – an obvious “no touching” signal for most people, but not for a curious toddler! I actually ended up putting my two year old in a stroller as we went through these areas. Luckily there are several areas set up just for kids where she was able to play and really get a more hands on experience. She loved climbing up into the mini-aircraft and playing with the controls!
There is a small but well-stocked Kids Zone upstairs geared toward younger children. It is gated but open to the main exhibit floor so that parents can relax and enjoy the view while their kids are enjoying themselves with the many airplane-themed puzzles, toys, and art stations.
What made the visit special for me was chatting with the docents. These older gentlemen are so knowledgeable and really have a love for the aircraft. One told me that every time his wife goes to an outlet mall, he finds an airport to visit – win win! And they are all so patient with children and love to answer questions, so be sure to take advantage of this amazing resource!
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Planning Your Visit
How long you will spend here really depends on your child’s age and level of interest. My 5 year old was ready to leave after about an hour and a half, whereas my 8 year old could have easily stayed longer than the 2 hours we were there.
Luckily Freedom Park is right next door, so I recommend packing a lunch (there’s nowhere to eat close by) and having a nice picnic lunch and playtime at the park after the museum or to break up a longer visit. (You can exit and re-enter the museum). Keep in mind that this park is one of the few in Sacramento without a shade cover, so it gets very hot in warm weather, so you’ll want to make sure you visit it earlier in the day during the summer.
I definitely recommend visiting the Aerospace Museum of California for hands on, real world learning about aviation!
Sacramento for Kids
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Long-time readers know how much I love to get out an explore the Sacramento area with my kids, but not having grown up here, I sometimes feel at a disadvantage. No more! Now I have in my hands an incredible new resource for families in Sacramento. No matter what your children’s interests or ages, you will find tons of ideas for family fun in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart).
Whether you love nature or art, sports or festivals, you will find lots to enjoy in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart)! I also love that the book includes activities that encompass a wide range of ages, so this book can be enjoyed by your family for many years to come.
At first I wished that the book were organized into themes, but I’ve come to appreciate the intentional randomness of the list. As the author notes, often the best adventures are actually a tangent from what you meant to do! This book is great for spring break or weekend adventures. My kids and I had a lot of fun just flipping through the book to see which ones we have done and just how many we have left to do! (The Aerospace Museum is #36 on the list, by the way!)
1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart) is the ultimate bucket list for Sacramento families. I can’t wait for all of the adventures ahead of us!