San Diego Air and Space Museum
Your knowledge and understanding of the aviation world will reach new heights with a visit to the Air & Space Museum, one of Balboa Park’s most popular attractions since it opened in 1963. It’s home to dozens of aircraft. View a hot air balloon from 1783 and the actual Command module used on NASA’s Apollo 9 mission. See a model of the bright red Lockheed Vega in which Amelia Earhart set two of her aviation records. The model was used in the 2009 film Amelia, starring Hilary Swank.
Make your way through exhibits dedicated to the planes of both World Wars, and examine the aircraft that contributed to the Golden Age of Flight. Compare these to the hi-tech, supersonic rockets of the modern era, in the Modern Jet and Space Age Gallery. The museum also has the only GPS satellite on public display in the world.
The Education Center in the Edwin D. McKellar Pavilion of Flight hosts monthly family days, when children can participate in guided activities such as building their own gliders or miniature hot air balloon. Ask at the ticket desk or the Balboa Park Visitor Center for details.
Some of the museum's simulators include a 4-D experience that will take you to the moon, fly you on a jetpack adventure or send you on a mission to Mars. Rides on the simulators cost extra.
If you don’t have time for an extended visit, go to the Theodore Gildred Rotunda area for a smaller display of planes. The San Diego Air & Space museum is open daily, with extended hours in the summer. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.