7 Aviation Museums in Nevada

Everyone knows about the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, but a lot of people are unaware that a great aviation museum can also be found in all states across the country. If you’re an aviation or history buff, these facilities are a perfect way to spend the afternoon. These are the 7 aviation museums in Nevada.

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There are hundreds of aviation museums across the United States, and they provide both permanent and short-term exhibits of all types. If you want to view old and newer airplanes up close or wish to take a look at artifacts that include everything from old photographs to military uniforms, this is the place to be, and none of them will ever disappoint.

Some of these museums even allow you to get up inside of the planes so you can get a feel of what it was like to be a pilot at that time. Many of them are located near airports for convenience, but all of them have items throughout their facility that are of interest to someone out there. Some specialize in certain wars or branches of the military, and there are hundreds of artifacts for you to enjoy regardless of which one you go to.

Although Nevada is home to the Flying Thunderbirds, there are a total of seven other aviation museums across the state, and they are described below.

1. Hawthorne Ordnance Museum (Hawthorne)

Hawthorne Ordnance Museum
Leonard J. DeFrancisci Hawthorne Ordnance Museum

Open every day except Sunday most days of the year, this museum is home to two main aircraft: the Gyrodyne QH-50D and the Piasecki HUP-1 Retriever. In 1926, the US Navy’s main ammunition depot in New Jersey blew up and killed 50 people, injuring many more. Four years later, the museum was set up in Hawthorne to remember the event, but it didn’t stop there.

Today, this museum commemorates this event by honoring the Navy and its mission in defending the freedom we are all used to, so taking a trip through the museum is truly unforgettable. You can stay up-to-date on their activities and exhibits by visiting them online at www.hawthorneordnancemuseum.com

2. American Museum of Aviation (Las Vegas)

Although the museum is yet to be completed, it will become home to roughly 10 different aircraft, including the Convair 240, Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, Boeing 727-232, and the Douglas DC-7B. Their goals include everything from building a facility to commemorate propeller-driven and turbine-powered military and commercial classics to housing a variety of aircraft and cockpit displays that can be enjoyed by the public.

They also intend to present a variety of educational opportunities for those who wish to learn more about aviation in general and the Air Force and Navy in particular. Several Navy and Air Force planes will also be included in the museum, and you can keep up with their progress by visiting them online at www.americanmuseumofaviation.org

3. Cannon Aviation Museum (Las Vegas)

Located at the airport in Las Vegas, this museum is open 24/7 and offers free admission to everyone. Their main aircraft is the Cessna 172, which set the record for flight endurance in 1958-59, at 22 hours and 19 minutes. You can find the museum at the second level near the baggage claim area, as well as near the Signature Flight Support terminal.

The museum is an attractive facility that features larger-than-life photographs and dozens of artifacts for people to enjoy. Since there is so much to look at and see, you can spend an entire day there and take your time learning about aviation and the Cessna 172. They can be found online at www.mccarran.com/museum or by calling them at 702-455-7968.

4. National Atomic Testing Facility (Las Vegas)

Open daily most days of the year, this facility mainly highlights the activities and history of the atomic testing program. Covering the period in 1951 when testing first started to the present day, its exhibits include American nuclear history, radio bandages, Geiger counters, pop culture memorabilia, testing equipment, videos, interactive displays regarding radiation, and even a Ground Zero Theater that simulates the observance of an atmospheric nuclear test.

There is a large collection of artifacts on display every day of the year, and they are continuously updating and improving the exhibits so that you don’t see the same thing every time you visit them.

5. Nellis Air Force Base Freedom Park (Nellis AFB)

Located at Nellis Air Force Base just north of Las Vegas, a few of the many planes they have on display include the General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark, North American F-86E Sabre, Fairchild A-10A Warthog, and the Republic F-105G Thunderchief, among others. You can visit them via prior visits to the facility, and you can contact the Air Force base if you have any questions.

6. Thunderbirds Museum (Nellis AFB)

Open Monday through Friday and available to anyone who has access to the base, admission to the museum is free and they have a great gift shop to boot. It isn’t just a tribute to the Air Force’s Flying Thunderbirds. It is a testament to more than 50 years of aviation history in the United States, and its many artifacts include the Thunderbirds aircraft static display, which can be viewed 24/7 by all visitors. 

Hundreds of artifacts can be viewed through glass display cases in the many rooms that make up the museum, and the main aircraft now being exhibited is the General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon. The museum is currently closed due to renovations, but you can keep up with their progress by calling them at 702-652-7200.

7. Naval Air Station Fallon Air Park (NAS Fallon)

If you have access to the air station, you can easily visit this museum. It is home to roughly two dozen airplanes, and the collection includes the Bell UH-1B Huey, Lockheed S-3B Viking, Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21bis, and the Vought A-7B Corsair II, as well as the Northrop F-5E Tiger, PZL Mielek Lim-5, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet, and the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye.

You can get additional information on the museum by contacting the NAS Fallon on Carson Road.

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