6 Tips for Visiting the
March Field Air Museum
If you live in Southern California and have kids who love airplanes, you must plan a visit to the March Field Air Museum. Having one of the largest collections of military aircraft on the West Coast, this indoor and open air museum is worth a visit. We enjoyed our visit last year and wanted to share tips for a family visit. Our boys are 11 and 13, but I think kids of all ages would enjoy seeing these great airplanes up close. The museum is located at 22550 Van Buren Blvd in Riverside, near Moreno Valley and just off of the 215 freeway.
Over 100 years of aviation history is on display at March Field Air Museum. There are 70 aircraft and over 30,000 artifacts to view. Fabric-covered bi-planes from World War I, worn-out helicopters from Vietnam, modern and sleek jet fighters and even unmanned aircraft of the future are all ready and waiting for the kids (and adults) in your family to view and admire. Learn about their history and important roles in US history.
1. Explore the Main Hanger
Start your visit off by visiting the main hanger. Here you will find over a dozen military aircraft. Some exhibits allow kids to take a closer peak by climbing a staircase or even stepping inside. Our boys were not too old to put on a helmet and climb aboard. All those dials and buttons are fascinating to ponder and consider the complexity of these machines.
2. Talk to a Volunteer Docent
During our visit, we spoke with some volunteer docents that were so friendly and helpful. This nonprofit museum operates with a small number of paid employees, but a large number of volunteers. Many of them are retired military personnel and aviators. They are eager to tell you interesting stories from the past. They are a wealth of information and ready to make your visit commemorative and educational.
3. Take a Tram Tour
These 45-minute tours of the open-air portion of the museum are a great way to cover a large amount of space with minimal effort. These trams are fun for the whole family, especially if you are visiting with young children that may get tired of walking. The tours are narrated which means that while you ride along and see the vast collection of aircraft, you'll also be hearing from a knowledgeable guide on history and interesting facts of these airplanes. Tours depart several times each day and cost an additional $3. Plan in advance by reserving your seat when you first arrive.
4. Get Personal
Don’t miss the opportunity to look at photos and read personal letters from men and women who have served our country. We were fascinated with the display of artifacts that piece together a personal side of service and war time that is often missing from history books. It's the part of the museum that came to life for my husband and me especially.
5. Visit the Museum Store
When your visit is complete, be sure and stop by the Museum Store before you leave. I always love purchasing a good children’s book related to our field trips, something we can enjoy long after the experience. The Museum Store has an excellent selection of related books both for kids and adults. You’ll also find clothing, model airplanes, patches and pins, and other memorabilia. Plus, every purchase you make helps support this non-profit museum and its educational programs.
6. Choose the Best Time to Visit
Because a good portion of this museum is located outside without any shelter from the sun or harsh weather, we recommend choosing your day to visit carefully. We went in July, and it was sweltering. In fact, once we arrived, we soon wished we had picked another time of the year to visit. Don't get me wrong, we still enjoyed our visit and were glad we went, but we wished we had picked a cooler time of the year to visit. It was too hot to explore outside for any length of time, and we opted to not take the tram ride either because of the high temperatures. Shoulder seasons such as Fall or Spring may be the best time to visit.
Admission prices are $10 for everyone 12 and older. Children 5-11 are $5 and children under 5 are free. All active military personnel is free. March Field Air Museum is open all year Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Check online for the latest pricing and hours. Parking is free.
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