My husband Michael and I spent an awesome week in Virginia Beach last month and we thoroughly enjoyed the lively, 3-mile-long ocean boardwalk, the exciting attractions, the amusement rides, and the many other fun-in-the-sun activities Virginia Beach has to offer. The weather was sunny and hot…perfect conditions for a fun-filled beach vacation. Sometimes too perfect!
One day, needing a little break from the sun and sand, Michael suggested we check out the Military Aviation Museum, a short 20 minute drive from the Boardwalk. I admit this was not my first choice for a day of sight-seeing, but my husband loves all things military-related, and he was so excited about seeing the only airworthy De Havilland Mosquito in the world (I thought one of the reasons we were leaving the beach was to avoid mosquitoes!) And he has willingly gone into every boutique, souvenir shop and outlet store I’ve dragged him into so how could I refuse? In hindsight, I have to say I am so glad I went!
The Military Aviation Museum is a fascinating place, even if you are not a big aviation history buff. It has one of the largest collections of WWI and WWII war birds in the world, and seeing them up close and personal was surprisingly moving. The planes have been carefully restored and are in excellent condition. (You are not allowed to touch the planes, but other than that you can get as close as you want.) Many of them are still airworthy and regularly fly at air shows. Also, the volunteer guides are very knowledgeable and more than willing to answer any questions you may have. In addition, the Military Aviation Museum offers a variety of tours and will customize a package to suit your particular needs.
If you’re looking for a truly breathtaking experience, you can book a flight on one of their historic planes! It’s not cheap, ($149 for a 15-Minute Flight / $229 for a 30-Minute Flight) but we felt the fee was reasonable for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this. We flew over the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, the Intracoastal Waterway, and we got a bird’s eye view of our friends baking on the beach!
The next time you come to Virginia Beach, make sure you pay a visit to the wonderful Military Aviation Museum. And as you take it all in, take a moment to remember that we owe our freedom to these spectacular machines and the heroic men who flew them!