San Diego Air & Space Museum

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2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
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Open:
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Take flight with the San Diego Air and Space Museum! Spend hours browsing interactive exhibits, media, and replicas of popular and historic aircrafts.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Turn Your Eyes to the Sky
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Turn Your Eyes to the Skies!

The San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, is a perfect way to spend the day for anyone interested in aerospace. It houses some of the most interesting exhibits and artifacts in the aviation industry, including both replicas and educational displays.

The city of San Diego has an incredibly rich aviation history, which helps to make the San Diego Air and Space Museum truly remarkable. Here, you can see some of the most famous and innovative aircrafts including Convair, PBY Catalina, Ryan Aeronautical, and the North Island Naval Air Station. The wide variety of air and spacecraft on display is a sight to behold.

The museum has been a part of San Diego since its establishment in October of 1961. Since then, it has only expanded its collection and its efforts to educate and capture the interest of the public. Now, it is a Smithsonian affiliate, and is recognized as the premier aerospace museum in the country.

With a strong educational focus and an exciting blend of exhibits from the sky and space exploration, this museum is a can’t-miss attraction!

Alongside other popular Balboa Park attractions like the San Diego Museum of Art and the USS Midway Museum, the Air and Space Museum is part of the Go San Diego Pass. Buying a pass before your trip allows you to save money, and you can even take advantage of our exclusive discount.

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What You’ll See When You Visit

There’s so much to do and see at the San Diego Air and Space Museum that you’ll want to set aside a whole day for your trip. Pick up a map to make sure you hit all the exhibits that are most appealing to you, or start at one end of the museum and work your way through to the other to take everything in.

There’s a little something for everyone in the exhibits. Fans of planes, helicopters, and other aircrafts can learn about some of the most important and record-breaking aircrafts in history while also getting to see full-scale replicas. Those who are more interested in space exploration can learn about what it’s like to be a part of a space mission and examine everything from early prototypes to cutting-edge rockets, satellites, and command modules.

Even if you’ve never been particularly interested in aerospace before, the amazing exhibits on display just might change your mind and give you a new and exciting interest in the world above your head.

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What activities does the Go Pass include?

There’s a variety of activities included with the Go San Diego Pass such as: The San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Hiking Tours, Whale Watching, Snorkel Rentals, Museum Tours, Speed Boat Adventures and more!

For the most popular attractions and water-sport rentals as well as the biggest discounts, consider the All-Inclusive Pass.

Air and Space Attractions and Collections

The museum’s expansive collection of replicas and real models is one of its defining aspects. When you visit the museum, you’ll get to learn more about the work that went into creating these aircrafts, the jobs they’re used to perform, and the way they have allowed scientists and explorers to learn more about the world around us.

Aircraft and Spacecraft Collection

The mainstay of the Air and Space Museum San Diego is its vast collection of aircraft and spacecraft. Visitors can spend well over an entire day walking the property and learning more about a range of historical aircraft. Highlights include a reproduction of the 1901 Wright Glider, a Bowlus BA-100, and a mock-up of the Gemini spacecraft.

The models on display around the museum are either replicas that have been carefully recreated to be as authentic as possible, or genuine aircraft that have been painstakingly restored to their original glory. Either way, the opportunity to see them for yourself is well worth the cost of admission.

Artifact Collection

The museum has a large collection of aviation-related artifacts in addition to its many aircraft. Visitors can learn more about original flight attendant uniforms from Trans World Airline (TWA), find replicas of the Messerschmitt Bf 109K Panel made popular during the Spanish Civil War, or see a Thompson Trophy from the 1929 National Air Races.

Local Tips
Study Aerodynamics
In 2006 the Museum acquired the Low Speed Wind Tunnel near Lindbergh Field, where companies and individuals test their equipment and students can study aerodynamics. Don't miss it!

International Air & Space Hall of Fame

Throughout history, people like the Wright Brothers and Neil Armstrong have made huge strides in what aviation means for the world and the galaxy beyond. The International Air and Space Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of such people and aims to teach the aerospace leaders of tomorrow about the paths they and others before them have followed.

When you visit the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, you’ll see the photos and bios of dozens of people who have been instrumental to the development of aerospace engineering and piloting. You’ll also learn about people who contributed to scientific discoveries in the aerospace field.

Media Collection

Media lovers can spend hours perusing the museum's media library. It houses more than two million historical images of aircraft, equipment, events, and people related to the aviation industry, including prints and negatives. These images are provided for research and to pique the interest of any visitors who may want to extend their knowledge past what many of the floor exhibits have to offer.

The media collection also includes film and audio archives. Here, you can find over 5,000 audio tapes, video tapes, DVs, phonographs, and much more. Many rare historic films and videos are in the process of being digitized by museum staff.

World War I Gallery

Aircraft played a huge role in the first World War. Learn about famous pilots like the Red Baron and Billy Bishop, as well as the planes they piloted.

World War II Gallery

In the World War II Gallery, you’ll find all sorts of different planes that were used during the war. These planes conjure up images of daring dogfights and stealthy reconnaissance as you walk through the hall and look at the museum’s Spitfire, Hellcat, Japanese Zero, Warhawk, and many more.

Modern Jet and Space Age Gallery

This exhibit showcases rockets and other spacecraft of the modern age. Check out reproductions of the historic Apollo and Gemini ships, and learn the unique discoveries and challenges of exploring space in recent years.

Golden Age of Flight Gallery

The “Golden Age” of aviation occurred from about 1919-1939. During this period, trick fliers traveled across the country showing off their skills and inspiring the next generation of pilots. Learn about some of these aviators and their planes in this exhibit.

Simulators and Interactive Areas

Interactive experiences are available at the museum as well. Step onto the Max Flight Interactive Ride to experience a two-seat FS2000 flight simulator that includes sky loops, aerial combat, and sharp banks in its 360-degree, pilot-controlled experience. Other interactive exhibits include the Aerial Combat Experience and a 3D/4D theater that includes seats synchronized to what's happening on the screen.

Special Exhibits

Visitors who have a special interest in a particular sector of aviation may find themselves engrossed in the museum's special exhibits. Exhibits change regularly and have included such displays as American Women in Flight, which paid tribute to people such as Sally Ride, and SPACE: Our Greatest Adventure, a special program exploring the stars.

Fun and Informative Programs for Kids

The San Diego Aerospace Museum is a popular destination for school field trips. There are group tours offered for a guided educational experience that come complete with fun, immersive activities.

Another educational opportunity offered by the museum is their online STEM challenges based around all types of science. Kids can complete biweekly experiments that teach them more about the world around them and introduce them to the idea of running their own experiments.

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What to Know Before You Visit

Don’t let confusion over parking or stress over finding a place to get lunch ruin your trip. Check out these helpful tips so you can enjoy yourself!

Parking

There is free parking available on-site at the museum. If the lot is full, there are many other parking lots and plenty of street parking throughout Balboa Park.

Gift Shop

The museum gift shop offers a huge variety of souvenirs and gifts for aerospace enthusiasts. You can buy themed apparel, toys, games, books, stickers, mugs, posters, and much more.

Where to Eat

At the Flight Path Grill located inside the museum, you can quickly grab some light lunch and get right back to your trip. Fare includes sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, salads, snacks, drinks, and desserts. You can also buy alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, and mimosas.

Attraction Pricing

While you are free to walk around the museum as you please for the base admission price, there are some interactive attractions that charge an additional fee to participate. Check the official website for more information and have some cash on hand if you plan to visit one of these exhibits.

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