Grandparents on the Go

Air Force Arizona Wing Aviation Museum –Falcon Field

Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing Aviation Museum –Falcon Field

Grandparents on the Go
By Cathy Burford & Cathy Droz

Photo by Cathy Burford

As grandparents we sometimes need to come up with a ‘Plan B’ activity. The Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum at Falcon Field was my ‘back-up plan’ when our schedule changed.  Not wanting to disappoint, the kiddos and I simply drove to Mesa to check out this little gem in the East Valley.  Little did we know what a thrill we were in for!

As soon as we got out of the car I knew something was going on at the museum that day, as we raced to the chain-link fence to discover which plane was warming up.  It was a ‘warbird’, very close to the fence warming up for takeoff.  The kids were thrilled, and so was I, as I was expecting to see the same static display that I had seen at the museum years before.  A historic aircraft taking off was quite another matter!  Wasting no time, we entered the museum and were able to closely inspect all the planes in the hangar.  The focus is the WWII era, but you will also find specialty aircraft on display.  A huge plus for me is the large number of volunteers, ready and waiting to answer any questions that you or your grandkids may have.  Just a few of the aircraft are; F2N Phantom II, P-47 Thunderbolt, B25J ‘Maid in the Shade’, Sikorsky H-19, Grumman AF 25 Guardian, PT -17 Stearman, and even a Soviet MIG. 

The major difference here at the CAF is that many of the planes here actually FLY!  Which leads me to the best part of our visit; watching their famous B-17 Flying Fortress, ‘Sentimental Journey’ fire up, taxi, and take off!  The CAF is unique in that it offers rides in some of their aircraft, and regularly ferries them to events throughout the US.  Check out their website for the travel schedule.  ‘Sentimental Journey’ was donated to the CAF in 1978, and her restoration began.  This gleaming flying machine is a sight to behold; massive in size, it transports you back to the war years in classic style.  Watching her come to life is an unforgettable experience!

If you want to truly experience a trip back to the 40’s, make plans to attend their annual fundraiser ‘A Night in the 40’s Big Band Dance’.  This is scheduled each March, and be sure to dress in 40’s style! The hangar is also available for event rentals, but you don’t need to have a party there to have a blast at this museum.

If you go:

Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing Aviation Museum

2017 N Greenfield Rd.

Mesa, AZ 85215
p. 480.924.1940

Oct – May 10-4 daily                                             

Jun-Sept 9-3 Wed to Sunday                       

Adults $10; Seniors $9; Ages 5-12 $3; Under 5 Free