The Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California is a treasure trove of history. It’s home to the largest collection of military aircraft on display outside the Pentagon. The museum boasts more than 100 aircraft and 20,000 artifacts and photographs documenting aviation on the West Coast since 1913. Pacific Coast Air Museum is located at One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. When we first heard about the museum, we immediately wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, we had other plans for our visit this weekend so we couldn’t get away until later in the fall. Luckily, that was when they host their Fall Air Fair every year which allows visitors access to many of the exhibits on site. We were eager to see everything and not disappointed by what we saw! The museum is located just off Highway 12 near downtown Santa Rosa in Sonoma County in northern California. There isn’t much in town or nearby so if you are traveling there be sure to factor that into your travel plans as well as the time needed to explore it all. With that said, it’s worth making the trip for anyone with a love for aviation history or who simply enjoys exploring historical sites!
The closest major airport is San Francisco International Airport which is about 2 hours north. From there, it’s about a 45-minute drive to Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa is located just north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. The museum is surrounded by a number of historic buildings that are part of the historic downtown district.
From SFO, take the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to the East Bay. From the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, take I-80 East to Sacramento and then Highway 50 to Santa Rosa. Highway 12 is the main road through Santa Rosa.
The museum’s mission is to preserve the history and honor the men and women who served in the military and operated aircraft in the Pacific Coast Air Museum’s collection, while educating visitors about the role of aviation in American history. The Pacific Coast Air Museum’s collection consists of historic aircraft from World War I to the present day, including a helicopter, a DC-3, a B-17, a B-24, a P-51, a C-54, an F-86 Sabre, a F-5, a B-25, a C-47, a B-26, a F-86K Sabre, a P-2, a P-26J, a P-35, and many more. The collection also includes a number of trainers and observation/liaison aircraft, including a Consolidated VP-2, a Lockheed U-2, a Northrop U-2S, a Northrop E-2 Hawkeye, a Boeing RC-135, a Boeing RC-118, and a Globemaster. Visitors can explore the aircraft in the museum’s extensive collection, and get up-close and personal with some of the most historic aircraft in the world. Visitors can also enjoy the museum’s aircraft displays, and learn about aviation history through interactive exhibits. Other events and activities at the Pacific Coast Air Museum include educational programs for students, military re-enactments, and special events.
There are so many things to see and learn at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. We went on a Saturday which is the norm for the museum’s Fall Air Fair, which is a great time to visit. – The Pacific Coast Air Museum has a large collection of military aircraft on display. There are examples of every major aviation era, including World War I and II, Korean and Vietnam War, and the present day. – The Boeing Heritage Center is the home to a number of historic aircraft, including the B-17 Flying Fortress, which is one of only two flying examples in the world. The museum displays and preserves the Boeing Heritage Center collection of over 200 aircraft, including large transport aircraft, long-range bombers, and experimental aircraft. – The Boeing Factory is a small but informative museum that explores the history of Boeing and the development of commercial airliners. Visitors will learn about the creation of the 747, 787 Dreamliner, 777, 767, and 757, as well as the Boeing 717 and 727. – The Boeing Aircraft Pavilion is a hands-on center with interactive exhibits that explore aviation and the role of flight in human history. Visitors can learn about the evolution of flight, explore careers in aviation, complete aviation-themed puzzles, and more. – The Boeing Pavilion is a tribute to the creation of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Historic Flight Center is one of the best places to see a full-scale replica of an aircraft in the museum’s collection. This is a great place to see how an aircraft looked in its original form, and how it looks today after decades of service and restoration. The Wings Over the Bay Air Show is one of the best ways to see the Pacific Coast Air Museum’s collection in action. The show features aerial performances and demonstrations by military and civilian commercial pilots, including the Pacific Coast Air Museum’s collection of historic aircraft. – The Boeing Plant is a small but informative museum that explores the history of Boeing and the development of commercial airliners. The pavilion features a large gallery of Boeing aircraft, interactive exhibits, and a hands-on gallery for children. – The California Aviation Hall of Fame is a great place to learn more about the people who have made a mark in the aviation industry. The exhibit features aviation pioneers, including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and many more.
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