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I’ve been told there are those who actually are interested in more than just airplanes. Odd, I know, but if you’re one of “them”, there are exhibits at the museum for you, too. There are many more than I can list, much less remember, but I’ll mention the recreation of a WWII hangar bay and reproduction of a 1943 American “Main Street”. Combined they give a good feel for what the war years were like for those both in the service and at home. There’s a very informative exhibit about the Navy’s Lighter-Than-Air program, which included rigid airships that dwarfed today’s 747s and A380s. And a recreation of the NAS Cubi Point Officer’s Club, with its collection of squadron plaques and other unit memorabilia that easily make it a museum in its own right.

The best part of a visit to the Cradle of Naval Aviation is the chance to see a practice performance by the US Navy Blue Angels. Every Wednesday during airshow season, and most Tuesdays, too, the Blues put on a full-scale, 100% regulation airshow for the hometown crowd. If you always wanted to see the Blue Angels, but didn’t want to spend the preceding six hours roasting in the sun, you are in luck. Park behind the museum and walk out through the flight line display to a set of bleachers that are right up against the edge of the airfield. The show starts promptly at 8:30 AM, after numerous un credited (and unaware) warm-up acts in T-39s, T-45s and the new T-6s. Spectacular show over, you and the crowd of around 1000 are off the base by 9:30, before it has a chance to get really hot in the panhandle.

The Blue Angels

The Blue Angels

Now you know what you have to do. Cajole, bribe, beg if you have to, but make a visit to the National Museum of Naval Aviation a part of your next Florida trip. The folks in Buena Vista will be busy with other matters anyway, now that Pluto’s been demoted and all. Fly Navy!

 


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