Aircraft Carrier Museum
Climb aboard the USS Midway and stand on a colossus of U.S. military history. Before its reincarnation as a museum in 2004, this was the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, in operation from September 1945 right up until Desert Storm in 1991. Today, the 972-foot (296-meter) craft is home to over 60 exhibits and welcomes more than 800,000 visitors each year. More than 20 restored aircraft showcase the changing face of warfare via the evolution of this mighty carrier. You can even climb into the cockpit on some of the planes to gain insight into what it may have felt like to actually take to the skies.
A series of flight simulators provide a fascinating chance to experience what it’s like to launch, maneuver and do battle in an aircraft. Genuine recordings from U.S. missions add to the realism of what bomber pilots go through. Extra charges apply for the simulators.
Part of the museum’s appeal lies in the history of everyday life on the ship. Peek into the sleeping quarters, imagine the characters that might have inhabited the ship’s jail, or stop to consider the ship’s post office and how it would have been the only link to the officers' families across the seas. You’ll be kept well-informed all the way around the vessel, as the entry fee includes a self-guided audio tour for adults and children. The audio tour is narrated by people who served on the carrier. Even if you don’t have the three or four hours necessary for a good look around the museum, climb aboard the deck of USS Midway free of charge for a great view of San Diego from the water. The museum is open daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.