Did you know that Long Island played a huge part in aviation history? So big in fact that, it is known as “The Cradle of Aviation.” Long Island was home to three major airfields, historic flights, air craft production facilities, played crucial roles in WWI and WWII, and made the Apollo Lunar Module! It’s easy to see why Long Island’s Cradle of Aviation Museum is one of the most popular air and space museums in the country.
Our family had a terrific visit to the Cradle of Aviation Museum. There is something for every age group, from historical facts and cool displays to hands-on fun and activities.
- Jet Gallery– This gallery contains an amazing variety of L.I. related large military and civilian aircraft, including a Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, a Grumman F-14 Tomcat, a Grumman A6-F Intruder and a record-breaking El Al Boeing 707 flight deck.
- Planetarium Dome Theater– This IMAX Theater provides a unique immersive learning experience-Sky Lab, Space Junk, and more! Check out the new Superpower Dogs opening March 19th.
- Red Planet Cafe
- Setting: Space Station on Mars in the year 2040
- Open: 11:00 am to 3:30 pm
- Food: wraps, salads, sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, vege-burgers, soups, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken fingers, pizza, grilled cheese, curly fries
- Museum Store– unique collection of books, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs
- Main Gallery– 150,000 square feet with 75 air and spacecraft–hot air balloons to the Lunar Module, all in chronological order. 30 hands-on exhibits and a half dozen cockpits to climb into! The exhibits:
- Dream of Wings, The Hempstead Plains, World War I, The Golden Age, WW II, The Jet Age, Contemporary Aviation, Exploring Space
- Special Exhibits–
- Apollo & Space Exhibit– Immersive exhibit engaging your sense, “Did you know that Long Island was one of the most important regions in the country involved in the success of landing man on the moon? From 1961 to 1972, Grumman employees, designed, assembled and tested the Apollo Lunar Modules that successfully landed 12 men on the moon between 1969-1972.”- www.cradleofaviation.org
- The Arcade Age Exhibit– “The Arcade Age explores the short history of video arcade games through exhibits and gameplay, just as they were intended to be experienced – in an arcade!”
- Junior Jet Club-“Young aviators can build, explore and even settle down for a story in our book corner. The Junior Jet Club is included with museum admission or you can enjoy it without the rest of the museum for only $2.50 per person. The cheapest play-date in town! The Junior Jet Club is open from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.The Junior Jet Club is an area designed specifically for young ones up to the age of six. The colorful space incorporates many hands-on, aerospace themed activities.”
- Nunley’s Carousel Carousel- over 100 years old!; painstakingly restored; 41 horses and a lion—need I say more?
- Firefighter’s Museum -Technically this is it’s own museum and education center, but it’s located inside the Cradle of Aviation and is a lot of fun if you have the time.
Amazing Long Island Aviation Facts:
- Aviation was Long Island’s largest industry from the 1940-60’s
- Aircraft made on Long Island played crucial roles in WWI, WWII, and the Lunar Program
- Home to 3 major airfields: Roosevelt Field, Curtiss Field, Mitchel Field
- Charles Lindbergh departed from Roosevelt Field for his 1927 trans-Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis.
- Amelia Earhart and other women in 1929 founded the International Organization of Women Pilots, known as the Ninety-Nines. The Curtiss factory building still stands.
- The Cradle of Aviation Museum along with Nassau Coliseum, Nassau Community College and Hofstra University are on the site of a former Air Force based established 1917 (decommissioned 1961).
- Republic Aviation Corp. developed the P-47 Thunderbolt, a main fighter in WWII.
- Grumman, based in Bethpage, produced the F6F Hellcat, a critical plane in America’s WWII victory, and the Apollo Lunar Module.
- The supersonic F-14 Tomcat was built for the Navy in Calverton, Long Island by Grumman.
- The Apollo Lunar Module was made on Long Island!
- More fun reading- https://metroairportnews.com/journey-long-island-aviation-history/
- February Break 2020 -Special Programs during vacation week!
- Website: www.cradleofaviation.org
- Address: Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530
- Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30-5:00
- Open on Mondays that fall on holidays and school breaks
- Admission Rates
- Museum– Adult $15, Child/Senior* $13 (Museum includes aviation museum galleries and Junior Jet Club)
- Planetarium & Dome Theater Shows– Adult $9, Child/Senior* $8
- Museum and Show Combo– Adult $20, Child/Senior* $18 (Combo includes the museum and a single Planetarium or Dome Theater show.)
- Other Options– Junior Jet Club $2.50 (by itself, otherwise included with museum admission), Nunley’s Carousel $2
- Telephone: General (516) 572-4111, Reservations (516) 572-4066
Family Adventure Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost– This adventure starts at $66 plus travel for a family of five. If you splurge on every option, your adventure total increases to $94 plus travel. You can add a small additional budget for the carousel and/or museum shop. They have a cafe, but you can bring in your own packed lunch if you prefer. There’s no fee for parking.
Parking & Transportation– The museum has its own parking lot. If you need mass transit:
- Bus-the N16 Hempstead-Rockville Centre bus route stops almost directly in front of the Museum.
- Train- taxis/ride shares are available from the Garden City, Mineola, and Westbury LIRR stations
Location– This museum has a nice central location. It’s not too far of a commute from NYC or the majority of Long Island. There’s plenty to do in this area.
Day Trip or Overnight– This museum is a day trip. If you want to explore the area, there’s plenty to be found and the Long Island Marriott is close to the Cradle of Aviation.
Experience– This adventure was so much fun! Our favorite things were climbing into the various aircraft and vehicles for awesome playtime and the freeze-dried ice cream from the museum shop! We really felt like we had a full experience that was very interactive and full of learning. This is a top notch museum! Whether you are an aviation buff, a kid who loves to play, or even a mom who needs a good indoor activity, this is the place to be.
Combination– This area is very populated and full of adventure. Some areas of interest to check out might be; Hofstra Museum of Art, Old Westbury Gardens, Roosevelt Field Mall, Eisenhower Park, Long Island Children’s Museum and, African American Museum of Nassau County