Our Hometown Tourists Visit the Aerospace Museum of California to see airplanes, sit in cockpits and learn aviation history in Sacramento

EDITOR'S NOTE: Our Hometown Tourists visited the Aerospace Museum of California on their most recent excursion.  The following blog includes accounts by Janet Lewis and Carol Dabrowiak with photos by Cynthia Gibbs detailing their visit to this Sacramento attraction.  When you stay at a participating Sacramento Gold Card hotel, remember to ask for your FREE Sacramento Gold Card.  The Aerospace Museum of California offers one free admission with one paid admission of equal or greater value with your Sacramento Gold Card. The Aerospace Museum of California is located at 3200 Freedom Park Drive in McClellan, Calif., less than 20 minutes from Downtown Sacramento.

Aircraft at the Aerospace Museum of California

-Photo courtesy Aerospace Museum of California.

By Janet Lewis and Carol Dabrowiac, Photos by Cynthia Gibbs

Our Hometown Tourists Visit the Aerospace Museum of CaliforniaWhen we walked through the doors of the Aerospace Museum of California, we were immediately given an overview of the whole building. Of course, we noticed the planes because they are huge. But we soon realized that there was so much more to experience.

We saw videos playing on monitors, cockpits we could climb into, game tables with colorful experiments, and even a simulation machine to take us into space.

Our docent, Ted, invited us to take a ride in the simulator. We climbed into the capsule.  As Ted started to close the hatch he said, “Oh, if the ride is too rough you can hit the red emergency button." Yikes! Where were we going on this virtual ride? But it was really fun and educational.  We landed safely with no need for bailout.

Around the museum’s inside perimeter walls, we viewed display areas featuring videos and information about space, ejection seats, the Tuskegee Airmen and the Coast Guard.

It was fun climbing inside a T-28 training cockpit and pretty amazing to realize how many pedals, levers and gauges airplane pilots have to look at and work with.  Later, outside, we saw an entire T-28 training aircraft. 

Our docent for the outside area aircraft was John.  We can’t recall all of the aircraft numbers or official names, but we can tell you that we got to walk into a “Jolly Green Giant” helicopter, a “Skytrooper” plane with a very unusual history, and a “Flying Boxcar.”  The collection even contains two Russian MIGs on loan from the U.S. Air Force Museum (one obtained by “classified” means, according to the sign in front). 

One of the most interesting looking planes is the “Warthog.”  The “prettiest” is probably the dark blue Blue Angels jet, where John explained to us how air pressure through the pitot tube shows up as readings on the pilot’s instruments.  After that, John showed us differently designed pitot tubes located on other aircraft.  

Closeup of one of the jets flown by the Blue Angels.

-Photo courtesy Aerospace Museum of California.

There really is something for everyone here at the Aerospace Museum.  Upstairs, we found a display on Women in Aerospace.  This exhibit provides a concise yet comprehensive overview, along with a 10-question quiz that we, of course, took the time to complete.  The gift shop offers a selection of books, one of which is related to women in aviation.  Girls, check it out!  Women are part of aviation and aerospace history, too!