Initial Visit: May 18th, 2012
Rating: 5/5
Price: $

Description: These birds have been permanently grounded.

Every childhood boy likes one of three things: planes, trains, or automobiles. I leaned towards things that could fly, especially at supersonic speeds. So, it came to my surprise that there was a aviation museum within a reasonable driving distance from my home.

I have actually been here about 3 times total since my first visit. I think I was with Matt the first time here. I think we explored a bit of Bloomington-Normal before a concert in the evening.

The museum itself is just a little ways off the one of the main busy roads that runs through Bloomington. I actually think this up the road from the Bloomington Airport. How fitting! It’s not a massive museum by any means. The building itself is probably no larger than your local fast food eateries. But within those small confines is a tremendous amount of history. Each time I’ve come here, I’ve signed the guest book and donated a few bucks on top of paying the admission fees. The price is listed on their website. It was $5/each for adults.

As I said, the building itself housed a ton of information regarding aviation. They had a section dedicated to NASA. They had tons of props and displays scattered throughout. They had graphs with a ton of information. Suffice to say, I can’t put in words what photos do better. While I did supply photos below, due to limited storage space, I couldn’t upload nearly enough photos to show everything. While the inside was full of information and relics from aviation’s past, the things I was dying to see were outside. The things that flew in another time and in another place.

On one of the trips, we lucked upon a volunteer who was giving tours. He gave us a quick tour of the jets, planes, and aircraft outside and then let us explore to our hearts content. A few of my family members were veterans of the military, mostly in the Rangers and Marines. My dad tried to enlist but due to a hearing issue, wasn’t allowed in. By the time I was ready to join, my body had too many injuries to even think I could try to enlist (I was a very active kid and while I never broke a bone, I did do a lot of damage to my joints). Matt was also in the Marines for an undetermined about of time. So, suffice to say we all had some interest in the military in some way, shape, or form.

Following the path outside winds you around all that there is to see. It was extremely cool to be able to go up to any of the aviation vehicles and see them in person. Some of them had ladders that you could take up and see in to the cockpit. They are locked shut so don’t get any wild ideas of hopping in and taking off. I do think they have special events where they open them and allow people to get in and have their photos taken. Check their website for details on that and other events they have.

In the end, this place was great to check out. I loved getting to see the jets up close and person. I took one of my favorite photos ever and it’s included below. Can you guess which that is?

If you have kids that love aircraft or have a general interest yourself, do oneself a favor and check this place out if possible.

“Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

2929 E Empire St
Bloomington, IL 61704

(309) 663-7632