Do you love airplanes, jets and learning about the history of the Air Force? A visit to the FREE National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio is a perfect place for a few hours or an entire day. Make sure you wear your walking shoes, because there are four massive hangers full of aircraft ready for you to explore. The National Museum of the USAF walks you through the history of air travel starting with the Wright Brothers and taking you all the way through all the major conflicts of American history through the space age and beyond.
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National Museum of the USAF
The National Museum of the USAF features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display with more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. You wander through each of the exhibits and watch the evolution of air travel in war time.
Make sure you take your time and look around the floor exhibits, but don’t forget to look up! There are massive planes suspended from the ceiling.
Keep kids of all ages engaged as you tour the museum by looking for all the cartoons on different airplanes throughout the museum.
You have the opportunity to walk through several of the presidential exhibits, but be aware that the aisles are narrow on the airplanes. There is a plexiglass archway when you enter the planes showing you how narrow the passageway is so you aren’t surprised when you walk through the planes.
Memphis Belle Exhibit
The Memphis Belle was the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to return to the United States after completing 25 missions over Europe. Upon its return to the United States in June 1943, the Memphis Belle’s crew flew the aircraft across the country to more than 30 stops on a war bond and morale boosting tour.
Have questions while you are touring the National Museum of the USAF? Just ask! There are knowledgeable museum volunteers throughout the museum who are happy to answer questions and give personal stories.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force galleries present military aviation history, boasting more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display — many rare and one-of-a-kind — along with thousands of historical items and powerful sensory exhibits that bring history to life.
Things to Know
- Admission to the museum is FREE.
- The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
- Parking is Free.
- The museum is huge and requires much walking.
- You are not allowed to carry in food or drinks but there is a cafe about halfway through the museum.
- The museum is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
- There are interactive exhibits but you are not allowed to touch most of the aircraft.
Find the National Museum of the USAF
The entrance to the National Museum of the United States Air Force is on Springfield Street at historic Wright Field (Gate 28B), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, six miles northeast of Dayton, Ohio.
1100 Spaatz Street
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day
and New Year’s Day
FREE admission and parking, plus FREE WiFi!
Where to stay in Dayton:
One of the big decisions to make when visiting a new city is where to stay. We’ve found that every city has preferred areas that make for a better overnight experience. Hilton Garden Inn Beavercreek is located just minutes from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. You have easy access to restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, bookstores and even a hospital across the road.
Having a clean, comfortable place to sleep at night is an important part of any family road trip. With a swimming pool, fitness room, free parking and wifi, you have all the comforts and amenities needed for the family. Breakfast is served in the restaurant on the main floor for a flat rate. (ask at the front desk for details).
Looking for something else FREE to do near Dayton, Ohio? Check out the Concrete Field of Corn in Dublin!