America’s military has a fascinating past. Advancements in technology have completely changed the way our military is equipped and this is particularly true with aviation. The changing face of America’s military and the role of aviation are on open display at the Air Force Armament Museum, an historical museum in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
The Past and Present
The Air Force Armament Museum is a medium size museum that emphasizes history and education. It’s similar to most museums in this regard, with exhibits, photos, videos, and other displays that illustrate life in America’s Air Force. The museum dedicates much of its space to times of war, explaining what it was like for the men and women in America’s Air Force when they were up against some of the world’s most determined enemies.
A walk through the museum makes one fact obvious: America’s Air Force has gone through tremendous change and is very different today from what it was in the past. Older children will appreciate the history lessons to be learned inside the museum but younger children might need a little more encouragement to keep them happy. My girls are in elementary school and they did like sitting inside the A-10 Warthog Trainer and having their picture taken. Other than that, they were anxious to get out of the museum and spend a little time outdoors, for one obvious reason.
Look at Those Planes!
And what is so special about the outside of the Air Force Armament Museum? It’s the military aircraft on display. In fact, this is the first thing you will notice when you visit, as the aircraft surround the outside of the museum and are impossible to miss. My girls noticed the planes immediately and wanted to check out the planes the moment we arrived. But I insisted that we only take a quick picture or two, go inside the museum first, and then spend time on the outside looking at the airplanes.
As I said, my girls attitude toward the Air Force Armament Museum was lukewarm at first, but once they got outside, their interest increased tenfold. They loved walking around the outside of the museum, following the paved pathway, and looking at the aircraft up close. It provided some excellent photo opportunities, too, and about the only way it could have been better was with access to the insides of some of the planes. Yes, you can walk up and touch the aircraft, even look inside the windows if you like. But none of them were open for the children to explore. Having at least a couple planes with access to the inside would improve the experience, especially for the children.
Plan Your Visit
America’s Air Force has an amazing history and a visit to the Air Force Armament Museum is like taking a journey through America’s military past. The inside of the museum is a little smaller than others of this type, but there is a wealth of education and children will love walking around the outside and viewing the airplanes. Better yet, this museum is offered free of charge! They only ask for donations- there is no financial obligation since the museum is intended for educational purposes and receives its funding from the government.
With so much history on display and things to learn, the Air Force Armament Museum is a nice place to visit in Fort Walton Beach. It’s a nice diversion from the usual Destin/Fort Walton Beach attractions so bring the kids and transport you and your family back in time as you learn about America’s military past at the Air Force Armament Museum, a top attraction in the Florida panhandle.
Copyright 2015, Bryan Carey