by LAINEY KRAL | photos by Kevin Griffin © 123RF.COM

On the Wing

San Diego’s known for its ocean views, but there’s also plenty to see if you look to the skies. Local aviation museums provide unique insights into science, technology, and military history. Bring the whole family to one of these aviation destinations for a day of educational exploration – and a whole lot of fun.


Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is located at MCAS Miramar San Diego, and showcases United States Marine Corps aviation – it’s the only museum in the world dedicated to this important piece of U.S. military history. The museum, which is staffed almost entirely by veterans, has 27 aircraft on display and eight galleries of artifacts ranging from World War I to the present day. Admission is free, and the museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

San Diego Air & Space Museum
The San Diego Air and Space Museum covers the history of human flight, from the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon in 1783 through present-day space exploration. This Balboa Park museum is home to both reproduction and original air and spacecraft, including the Apollo 9 Command Module – stop by for a visit, then enjoy the special exhibits and interactive simulators. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway Museum invites visitors aboard one of the country’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. The USS Midway served from 1945 to 1992, and began its new life as a museum in 2004. Follow the self-guided audio tour to explore over 60 aviation exhibits and the collection of 29 restored aircraft. Located alongside Navy Pier, it is the most popular naval war ship museum in the country. The museum is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.