Believe it or not Iowa actually has a rich aviation history. And, kids in particular seem infatuated with aircraft and other flying objects. If you’ve got a little aviation aficionado fasten your seat belt, and prepare for take-off on a fun-filled aeronautical adventure. Kids can learn more about Iowa’s aviation heritage at a variety of local flight museums. Read on to find out how to get your high-flying journey started in Des Moines.
3704 SE Convenience Boulevard • Ankeny, IA 50021 • 515-964-4515
Located at the Ankeny Regional Airport, the Iowa Aviation Heritage Museum is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can also call and schedule an appointment. The museum chronicles Iowa’s military aviation and general aviation history from pre WWII to present day through restored airplanes, artifacts and newspaper clippings. Since the museum is staffed by volunteers, it is highly recommend that you call before your visit.
P.O. Box 31 2251 Airport Road • Greenfield, Iowa 50849 • (641) 343-7184
The Iowa Aviation Museum celebrates Iowa’s remarkable aviation heritage…from the state’s first recorded flight in 1910 to its native sons and daughters exploring the universe. Kids will love viewing the Museum’s vintage aircraft that are on display. The Museum is open April to
November, Monday through Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 pm. Admission is $10.00 for Adults, $9.00 Seniors and $5.00 Kids.
Camp Dodge • 7105 NW 70th Avenue • Johnston, IA 50131 • (515) 252-4531
The museum’s purpose is to collect, preserve and exhibit materials that illustrate the story of Iowa’s military past from statehood to the present. To demonstrate aviation in the military the Museum displays a replica of a WWII Flying Tigers bomber and a UH-I “Huey” Helicopter from the Vietnam War that is suspended from the ceiling. They also have a small flight simulator with actual footage from a WW II bomber available. The museum is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; it is closed on Sundays. Admission is FREE.
1601 N Jefferson Way • Indianola, IA 50125 • (515) 961-3714
Celebrating over 40 years in Indianola, the National Balloon Museum archives more than 200 years of ballooning. You and your family can easily spend an entire afternoon exploring one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to providing a comprehensive understanding of ballooning and its history. General Admission is $3.00 for Adults (12 and over). Visitors under 12 are FREE. The Museum is open Monday-Saturday 10:00-4:00 and Sunday 1:00-4:00.
600 E Locust Street • Des Moines, IA 50319 • (515) 281-5111
The State Historical Museum is an exciting adventure: its exhibits tell the stories of Iowa’s growth and development through the exhibition of a rich collection of historic artifacts and documents. The Wings Over Iowa exhibit includes three vintage aircraft, which are suspended from the ceiling of the Museum’s atrium. The aircraft include a Bleriot XI Monoplane (ca. 1909), Curtiss Pusher Biplane (ca. 1911) and a Benoist Tractor Biplane (ca. 1917 – dates vary in different sources). The Historical Museum is open 9:00 am – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Noon – 4:30 pm Sunday; and admission is FREE.
Do you have a little aviation enthusiast? Which aviation museum is your favorite? Tell us in the Comments.