“The Cradle of Naval Aviation.”
Emblazoned on the water tower as the highway empties into Downtown Pensacola, there’s no denying that Pensacola is a town steeped in aviation history.
Opening in 1963, the National Naval Aviation Museum had humble beginnings. With only 8,500 square feet and a small number of aircraft on display, the museum was certainly not the giant that it is today.
Currently the most visited museum in the state of Florida, the National Naval Aviation Museum is a whopping 350,000 square feet and houses over 150 aircraft from all of the different eras and services.
Seeing how it is an aviation museum, the main attractions are certainly the aircraft. But these aren’t just models or planes that never quite made it off the factory lines. Many of the planes on display have been involved in actual aerial conflicts and masterfully restored to their original beauty. You can even jump into the cockpit of some of these planes and pretend you’re in the dogfight of your life.
Perhaps the most impressive display at the National Naval Aviation Museum is the tediously restored NC-4. The NC-4 was considered a “flying boat” and was originally designed to hunt and destroy German U-boats during WWI. Since the NC-4 never actually saw any action, it was tasked with another mission: fly across the Atlantic. On May of 1919, the NC-4 successfully completed the first transatlantic flight mission.
But aircraft are just a fraction of what is on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Make sure to stop by and marvel at the 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun. During WWII, surface ships were under constant attack from aerial threats. To combat this threat, the decks of US Navy ships were outfitted with the 40mm Bofors. You can actually sit on this gun and swivel it by using a hand crank at the museum–this is a lot of fun for kids!
You and your family are clear for landing at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola!
Junior Copywriter, Innisfree Hotels