Exploring History at the Pima Air Museum

Welcome to the Pima Air Museum, where the airplanes on display tell stories of aviation history. From the world’s oldest flying airplane to modern military jets, the museum’s vast collection showcases the evolution of aviation technology and its impact on society. Walking through the outdoor exhibits and aircraft hangars, visitors can explore the rich history of flight and learn how these machines transformed the way we travel and fight wars. Whether you’re a history buff or aviation enthusiast, the Pima Air Museum is a must-see destination in Tucson, Arizona.

Pima Air Museum

The Pima Air Museum is a world-renowned aviation museum located in Tucson, Arizona. It was founded in 1966 by a group of aviation enthusiasts who wanted to preserve and showcase the history of aviation. Today, the museum has grown into one of the largest and most comprehensive aviation museums in the world, with more than 350 aircraft and spacecraft on display spanning over 100 years of aviation history.


The Pima Air Museum is not just any aviation museum, it is a world-class facility that showcases some of the most significant aircraft in history. The museum’s mission is to educate and inspire visitors about the history of flight, its impact on society, and the technology that has made aviation possible.

The museum is located on the grounds of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which was established in 1925 as a bombing and gunnery range. The base played a critical role in aviation history, and it has been designated a national historic landmark. The Pima Air Museum stands as one of the most significant collections of aviation artifacts in the world, in part because of its location on the historic base.


The exhibits at the Pima Air Museum are not just static displays, they are interactive and engaging, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with some of the most historic planes in the world. The museum has more than 100,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and over 80 acres of outdoor exhibit space, making it the perfect destination for aviation enthusiasts of all ages.

The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of aviation history, from the Wright Brothers’ early flying machines to advanced military aircraft like the B-52 and SR-71 Blackbird. One of the most impressive exhibits is the collection of World War II-era planes, which includes the iconic B-17 bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter plane.

The museum also has a large collection of vintage commercial planes, including the Boeing 747, which revolutionized air travel in the 1970s. Visitors can explore the cockpit of a Boeing 737 and see what it’s like to sit in the pilot’s seat of a commercial airliner.

Notable Aircraft

Among the most notable aircraft on display at the Pima Air Museum is the B-29 Superfortress, the plane that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. The museum’s B-29 is one of only two that are still in flying condition, and visitors can take a tour of the inside and even book a flight on this historic plane.

Another highlight of the museum’s collection is the SR-71 Blackbird, a reconnaissance plane that could fly at speeds of up to 2,200 miles per hour. The Blackbird was designed to fly higher and faster than any other plane in existence, and it set numerous speed and altitude records during its operational life.

The museum has a number of other unique and notable aircraft on display, including the experimental X-15 rocket plane and the only remaining XB-70 Valkyrie bomber. Visitors can also see the world’s smallest jet, the BD-5J, which was featured in the James Bond movie Octopussy.

In conclusion, the Pima Air Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in aviation history. With its extensive collection of planes and artifacts, interactive exhibits, and knowledgeable staff, the museum offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Visiting Pima Air Museum

Pima Air Museum is one of the largest non-governmental aerospace museums in the world, located in Tucson, Arizona. It offers a stunning display of over 350 historic aircraft and spacecraft spread over 80 acres of land. The museum aims to preserve aviation history, educate visitors about the importance of aerospace technology, and inspire the next generation of aviation enthusiasts. Here is everything you need to know before planning your visit to this magnificent museum:

Tickets and Hours

The museum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission tickets can be purchased at the museum’s entrance gate or online through their official website. The ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults (13 and over): $16.50
  • Children (5-12): $11.00
  • Children (4 and under): Free
  • Seniors (65 and over), Military and Arizona Resident: $13.75

Group discounts are available for groups of 20 or more people, and reservations are required at least 2 weeks in advance. Members of the museum can enjoy free admission to the museum and various other benefits. The museum also offers special events and tours, for which additional charges may apply.

Recommendations for Visitors

The museum is vast, and visitors may need several hours to explore everything it has to offer. However, here are some recommendations and must-sees to help you plan your visit:

  • Start your tour at the main hangar, which is the largest in the museum and displays some of the rarest aircraft.
  • Don’t miss the Blackbird Airpark, a separate facility that houses the world’s fastest and highest-flying jet, the SR-71 Blackbird.
  • Visit the Boneyard, which is the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world.
  • Take a tram tour, which provides an exciting way to explore the museum’s vast collection and learn about aviation history.
  • Visit the Space Gallery, which features exhibits related to space exploration, including an actual moon rock.
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and water, as the museum grounds are extensive and exposed to the Arizona sun.
  • Consider purchasing an audio tour, which provides detailed information on the exhibits and their significance.

There are also several restaurants and a gift shop available on the museum grounds, allowing visitors to take a break from the aircraft to enjoy some refreshments and souvenirs.

Virtual Tour

For those who cannot visit the museum in person, the museum offers a virtual tour on their official website. The virtual tour allows visitors to explore the museum’s grounds and exhibits from the comfort of their homes, offering a unique experience for those who are unable to visit in person.

Whether you are a lifelong aviation enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational day trip, Pima Air Museum is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Tucson, Arizona. With an immense collection of aircraft and spacecraft and a dedication to preserving aviation history, every visit to Pima Air Museum is a noteworthy experience.

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