Visit a hangar full of planes – some of which date back to the very beginnings of aviation history, and take a close-up look at Canada’s aerial heritage.
You can also experience first-hand what early flight was like – with the authentic feel of the wind in your hair from on board a historic biplane, taking off from the The Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
First established in 1960 and moved to its current location in 1988, this museum contains over 130 aircraft on display, and countless other aviation artifacts.
Walk around the planes resting inside the hangar, and explore their changing designs over time. You’ll find a few opportunities to take a seat in some of them for a photo.
But why stop there? Take the experience to the next level by FLYING in one them: The museum offers rides for a fee, ranging from $60-$160/person, on board an open-cockpit biplane dating back to around 1939 (the Waco UPF-7).
Flights range from 6 minutes to over 30 minutes in length – offering a unique view of Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, or the Gatineau Hills. Helmet and goggles included!
Helicopter tours are also available for small groups of one to a maximum of three passengers, and range from 6 minutes to 20 minutes of flight time. This is a great romantic/adventurous idea of couples – or just those looking for quality time spent exploring the city from a different point of view.
If you are more of the type that prefers to keep your feet close to the the ground, try the virtual thrills on the Redbird FMX flight simulator. Its a fully-enclosed, surround-visual, full-motion experience, using the type of technology used to train pilots around the world. Just make sure to plan this part of your day ahead of time, as advance reservations are also required.
The “space” section of the The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is significantly smaller, but still showcases Canada’s role in space exploration.
The museum also at times offers special exhibitions; for example, in 2013 from May 10 through September 2, the “Star Wars Identities” exhibition is on, and is described as a great reason to visit the museum this summer.
You can explore the museum on your own, or take one of a variety of guided tours available. For kids and teens (under 18) they also have sleepovers with age-appropriate activities throughout the night, including tours by flashlight, and movies.
One important thing to keep in mind: make sure to go early, not just to avoid the crowds, but because the museum closes at 5pm.
Located about a 10 minute drive from Parliament Hill, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (11 Aviation Pkwy, Ottawa ON) is easily accessible by car, or transit. You can even fly in to the Rockcliffe Flying Club, if that is your preferred mode of transportation.
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