With Over 150 Aircraft On Display, This Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon Is a Soaring Adventure for Families

A black and white photo of the fuselage of the Spruce Goose being transported down the road towards McMinnville, Oregon.
The Spruce Goose making it's way to it's new home in Oregon in 1992. Photo via the Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum Facebook page.

Nestled in the heart of the Willamette valley in McMinnville, Oregon, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum stands as a towering testament to the human spirit's relentless pursuit of flight. This gem of the Pacific Northwest isn't a normal museum, it's a journey through time, where stories of audacious innovation and fearless exploration come to life.

What Is The Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum In McMinnville, Oregon?

Think of stepping into a world where the sky's the limit, literally! The museum's doors swing open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM, inviting adventurers of all ages to embark on a thrilling odyssey through the annals of aviation and space history.

This place isn't just a trip to the museum; it's a full-day affair. Though you can zip through the highlights in an hour, why rush? Give yourself a solid three hours to really soak it all in.

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is a full-blown sprint through decades of aerospace marvels. Imagine standing face-to-face with over 150 air and spacecraft, each with their own story to tell. From the legendary Spruce Goose to the stealthy SR-71 Blackbird and the colossal Titan II Space Launch Vehicle, history isn't just displayed, it's celebrated.

Got kids? Great! The Flight Training Center isn't just for show, it's an interactive playground where the young and young at heart can learn the ropes of aviation. Think of it as a gateway to the clouds, where Microsoft Flight Simulators offer a taste of the wild blue yonder.

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For the thrill-seekers, the MaxFlight Flight Simulator is your ticket to the skies. Ever fancied piloting the Spruce Goose or taming an F18 Fighter Jet? Here's your chance. With options ranging from serene flights to adrenaline-pumping combat scenarios and even a virtual rollercoaster, it's an experience you won't forget. At $10 per person (or $8 for museum members), it's a steal.

But the fun doesn't stop with the aircraft. The museum boasts iconic exhibits like the SR-71 Blackbird, the elusive F-117 Nighthawk, and the Titan II, each a legend in its own right.

Exploring The Spruce Goose At Evergreen

Let's talk about the crown jewel of the museum – the Spruce Goose. This behemoth of the skies (the largest wooden airplane ever constructed), born out of wartime necessity and Howard Hughes' ingenuity, is a spectacle in itself. Crafted almost entirely from birch Duramold process plywood due to wartime resource constraints, this titan of the skies made its mark on November 2, 1947, with a brief but historic flight over Long Beach Harbor. Fast-forward to 1992, and this icon found a new home in McMinnville, carefully transported and lovingly restored by the museum's dedicated team and volunteers.

Today, the historic Spruce Goose continues to hold the record for the largest wooden plane, largest seaplane, and largest propeller airplane that was ever built.

Why Is It Named The Spruce Goose When It's Made Of Birch Plywood?

'Spruce Goose' is a nickname given to the plane by it's critics. The name of the aircraft is actually the H-4 Hercules. It was also given other less appropriate nicknames by critics that we won't repeat here. Read more about this incredible aircraft here.

How Did The Spruce Goose Get To McMinnville? Did It Fly There?

This humongous aircraft (six times larger than any aircraft of its era) marked a significant milestone in aeronautical engineering and many people wished to see it preserved for generations to come.

The journey of the Spruce Goose from its birthplace in Long Beach, California, to its current home in McMinnville, Oregon, is a tale of logistical ingenuity and dedication. After the Evergreen Museum founders triumphantly secured the bid for this legendary aircraft in 1992, an extraordinary transportation mission commenced.

The Spruce Goose was meticulously disassembled and embarked on a complex voyage. It journeyed by barge along the West Coast, navigating the intricate waterways of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Upon reaching Portland, the colossal components were transferred onto trucks, carefully threading through the landscape to McMinnville. Later, in 2001, with the completion of the Evergreen Museum's Aviation Museum building, a skilled restoration team meticulously reassembled the Spruce Goose, piece by piece. This monumental effort not only preserved a significant piece of aviation history but also symbolized the relentless human spirit, ensuring that future generations could stand in awe of this extraordinary feat of engineering.

Check out the video below that shows the journey of the Spruce Goose to McMinnville in detail:

Is Admission To The Wings And Waves Waterpark Included In The Cost Of A Ticket To The Museum?

Just a stone's throw away from the Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum is the Wings and Waves Waterpark. You'll know the building because there's a massive 747 aircraft parked on the roof. The plane has waterslides coming out both sides, down through the roof, and into the pools below. Admission to this air and space themed waterpark is separate from admission to the museum, but it's well worth the cost to visit.

A replica of the Nasa Shuttle inside the Wings And Waves Waterpark with fountains shooting up in front of it.
Photo via Wings And Waves Facebook.

Why not make a full day of it and visit the museum for 2-3 hours in the morning and then spend the afternoon making memories with loved ones at the water park?

People slide out of the massive plane on the roof and down into the pools below.
Thrill seekers will want to climb up to the roof and into a retired Boeing 747 where they can take four different waterslides back to the pool below. Check out the Sonic Boom, Tail Spin, Nose Dive and Mach 1! Photo via Wings And Waves Facebook.

If you're going to visit the waterpark, it's best if you buy your tickets online as they're about $7 cheaper than buying them at the door and will guarantee you admission on the day you're there.

Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum Information

How Much Do Tickets Cost To The Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum?

Ages 16 and up cost $22, Ages 65 and up cost $18, Ages 5-15 cost $12, and Children under 5 get free admission.

What Are The Hours Of Evergreen Museum?

A plane inside the Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum.
Photo via Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum Facebook page.

The museum is open from 9 AM - 5 PM daily, but is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas eve, and Christmas day.

What Is The Address Of Evergreen Museum?

500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way in McMinnville, Oregon.

Get more information at the museum website.

Whether you're a history buff, an aviation enthusiast, or just looking for a unique way to spend the day, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville is your ticket to an unforgettable adventure. Are you ready to take flight?