My husband and I have been to several air museums---including Duxford in the U.K. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is absolutely one of the best! Of course we were interested in seeing the Spruce Goose, but the museum has an amazing number of other aircraft, vehicles, space exploration modules and equipment, and even a Titan 2. I had no idea the Spruce Goose is as enormous as it is! I found it almost humorous that a few of my pictures of the Spruce Goose included what appeared to be a tiny airplane in the background. Oh....it was just one of those little B-17s!!!
We allowed three hours for our visit. This was not nearly long enough! While the admission (show your AAA card for a several dollar discount) came with a movie, we did not have time to view one as there was so much to see, to read, to learn, and to discuss with the knowledgeable veterans and other enthusiastic volunteers and guides. I'd recommend taking advantage of one of the tours (no extra charge); just factor in that you will not advance through the exhibits at the rate you might independently---but it will be a much richer experience and almost force you to take the time the exhibits deserve.
In advance of a trip to the museum it can be useful to view some of the videos accessible from the Museum website. There are others that can be found on YouTube, including the landing of the 747 at the McMinnville Airport across the street from the museum and the plane that is now atop the Waterpark. Where else can you leap into water tubes from the belly of a 747? You can also view videos of the construction of the Waterpark and the placement of the 747 on the top. I also found a video of Delford Smith discussing the idea for the museum and another that highlighted his vision for and use of helicopters as "workhorses" in industry, construction, search and rescue, fire fighting, etc. Learning that Smith was an adopted orphan makes the loss of his obviously intelligent and highly talented son even sadder. Some of Michael King Smith's awards and even his Corvette and a Mustang can be found at the Museum.
As another reviewer mentioned, I was also impressed with the patriotic (but not overwhelming) atmosphere of the Museum and the dedication to those who have served in the military or in the aviation industry. The volunteers with whom we spoke probably covered an age span of 60 years! It is apparent the concepts, the displays, the placement of items, the focus on education, and the vital role of the volunteers at the Museum are all projections of an insightful plan to educate, entertain, and maintain an awareness and appreciation for all the Museums contain and profess. While we did not experience the Waterpark during our visit, I think it is a grand addition to an amazing facility. And...I think I would like the person who thought up the idea of sticking an enormous plane on the roof of a waterpark and incorporating it into the chutes and slides. Makes me laugh.
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