My grandparents lived in Dayton when I was a child, which obviously translated into countless trips north on I-75.
Expeditions to Dorothy Lane Market. Forays to the Art Institute. And, of course, visits to the Air Force Museum.
(I remember one such trip that included too many sugar cubes and an upset stomach. But dang, those sugar cubes so were worth it.)
The last time I ventured to the Air Force Museum was in high school. And (not to give away my age or anything, but...) it's been a few years. You know the deal: Life happened. Jobs happened. Non-stop construction on I-75 continues to happen.
But now, after years apart, I feel compelled to head back for some quality time with the ol' Gem City. At the center of my rendezvous radar? The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
It certainly doesn't hurt that the museum recently opened a new, $40.8 million addition. The structure (the facility's fourth building) officially opened on June 8, 2016. That means we're almost a full month in, but don't worry -- that "new building smell" (which is almost as amazing as that "new car smell") is still rockin'.
Meaning? It's a pretty great time for you to mount your own trip north.
SO WHAT'S THIS NEW BUILDING GOT?
* 224,000 square feet of space
* NASA's first Crew Compartment Trainer (used to train space shuttle astronauts)
* The world's largest museum collection of U.S. presidential aircrafts, with 10 historical aircrafts
* The XB-70A Valkyrie. This was a highly-advanced aircraft tested in the 1960s
* Three cargo aircrafts, including the C-141C Hanoi Taxi (which airlifted the first American prisoners of war to freedom from Hanoi, North Viteman in 1973)
* New simulator rides, one of which features an exclusive Space Voyage experience
We could keep on listing reasons for you to check it all out. But I think you get the point. Right?
(If you happen to need an extra bit of reinforcement/ encouragement, just scroll back to the top and take a stroll through the photo gallery.)
You really don't have to be that into airplanes to find the joy & wonder in a visit to the Air Force Museum. (Of course, a healthy affection for flying machines can't hurt, either.)
If nothing else, plan a trip for the childhood nostalgia. ... Just don't eat too many sugar cubes.
Oh yeah, and admission to the museum is FREE. Yep, you heard us right.
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The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located at 1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433 (near Dayton).