Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, CA…

One of the best air museums in the country is found in sunny southern California.  The Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, is a very family-friendly, well-done, and enjoyable stop for all ages!
The Palm Springs Air Museum is a great stop for families when visiting southern California! |
Focusing on the WWII aircraft, the museum’s knowledgeable staff loves to share about this era in our history.  With nearly 40 docents, 70% of whom are retired veterans, there is always someone around to answer questions and share stories from WWII.

This F-16 Fighting Falcon, located in front of the Palm Springs Air Museum, makes a great photo prop! |

The fun begins while you are still outside – there are several aircraft on display that make for great photo ops.

The Palm Springs Air Museum has some unique displays and is a great family-friendly destination! |

The museum is comprised of a lobby, and 3 indoor hangars: the European Theater hangar, the Pacific Theater, and the B-17 hangar.  A fourth is in the process of being built as the museum expands.

The Palm Springs Air Museum is a top family friendly destination for military buffs! |

In front of the Craven’s Hangar, you will find military displays that you can examine – our boys especially love these kinds of exhibits.

The Palm Springs Air Museum is one of the top air museums in the nation. |

The museum has at least 4 large, gorgeous murals, including one that greets you as you enter the main doors.

One of several large murals at the Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, CA.  |

To your left is the ticket counter, and a gift shop with quite a collection of military and aircraft collectibles.

Just part of the fun gift shop at the Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, CA |

The Palm Springs Air Museum’s 65,000 square foot facility is brimming with hands-on and static displays, including 46 vintage aircraft, most of which have been restored and are still flown today.    One of their aircraft, an SBD Dauntless, was submerged under Lake Michigan for 50 years before being pulled up and restored.  The Dauntless is the only aircraft in their Pacific Theater hanger that is not air worthy.

During our visit, there was a friendly volunteer stationed near their rare P-47 Thunderbolt.  He told the kids all about the museum, details about many of the aircraft, and just general facts about World War II.

P-47 Thunderbolt at the Palm Springs Air Museum.  |

The museum is very family friendly.  They have a kid’s area, a cute cafe’, and several hands-on exhibits.  They even have a great sense of humor.

Family-Friendly Palm Springs Air Museum even as a sense of humor!  |

The hangars are filled with aircraft, signs, photos and pictures, displays of models and war memorabilia, and even actual war footage being played on monitors.

Palm Springs Air Museum |

There are several murals scattered throughout the hangars, like this one honoring the Tuskegee Airmen…

One half of the large mural honoring the Tuskegee Airmen at the Palm Springs Air Museum in California. |


Half of the Tuskegee Airmen mural at the Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, California. |






The guys’ favorites were all the restored aircraft, like this F4U Corsair, and talking with the veterans.

Palm Springs Air Museum |

The little girls’ favorites were watching the monitors, playing in the museum’s children’s area, and going upstairs to the library, where you can use their flight simulation programs on the computers they have set up there.

Caleb’s favorite was the kid’s area, of course!

Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, CA.  |

A display in the South/Pacific Hangar…

Displays at the Palm Spring Air Museum.  |

While the primary focus of the Palm Springs Air Museum is on aircraft, there is also quite a bit of information on the aircraft carriers and battleships that they served alongside…

Large ship model at the Palm Springs Air Museum. |

We were excited to find a penny pressing machine here!  It is located between the Freedom Fighters Cafe’, where you can purchase various sandwiches ($5.75 to $8), chips and drinks…, and the Kool Kids area.  One more pressed penny added to their collections!  I suppose that we should get Caleb a book like the other kids have – he has quite a little collection of pressed pennies, from across the country, that we have stashed away for him in a nightstand drawer.

Yes, the Palm Springs Air Museum even has a penny press!  |

In the Kool Kids area, children can play in the simulator of a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk, The Kool Kids area at the PS Air Museum is a fun hands-on area for kids at the Palm Springs Air Museum.  | ourtravelingtribe.comdo paper crafts, play in an old firetruck, go on the air in a mock radio station, and direct air traffic from a control tower.

There are lots of different activities for children in the Kool Kids area of the PS Air Museum! |

The Palm Springs Air Museum is continually growing and improving!  During our visit, they were gearing up to unveil this restored P51 Mustang, which is now housed in one of their indoor hangars.

This P-51 Mustang was recently unveiled at the Palm Springs Air Museum. |

Besides the 3 indoor hangars, there are additional aircraft outside.

The air museum is located adjacent to the Palm Springs Airport, which adds to the atmosphere as visitor’s can see and hear the planes flying in and out of the airport.  WWII era music being piped into the hangars doesn’t hurt the aura either!

There are outside displays at the Palm Springs Air Museum also!  |

The kids really enjoyed getting to test out this transport plane (which does NOT fly, for obvious reasons…)…

There are several areas meant for hands-on exploring at the Palm Springs Air Museum.  |

We were pleasantly surprised with our visit to the Palm Springs Air Museum!  We had not heard of it before visiting Palm Springs, so we were extra pleased when it ended up being one of the best air museums that we have visited in our cross-country travels!

Here are our tips for visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum:Visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, CA.  |
*Call ahead to find out about any special programs that may be offered during your time in Palm Springs, and plan accordingly.  They generally have a program every Saturday at 1, but call to confirm and find out if they are offering any additional if that is of interest to you.

*Plan for, and tour around, the weather.  Palm Springs can get very hot!   Since some of the aircraft are outside, if you are visiting during the hot season, check them out during the coolest part of the day (generally morning, so head outside first!)

*Between the Pacific and the European Theaters is another theater – a movie theater!  On your way into the displays, be sure to note the film schedule posted outside the door to see if any interest you – they play different footage/film throughout the day.

*No signs, but if you head upstairs to the library (R at the top of the stairs) there are computers loaded with flight simulation programs that you can practice flying on.  Not games, but practice programs.  My kids really enjoyed this part of the museum, in fact, it was Joel, Emma’s, and Savanna’s favorite part of the museum.

*Choose comfy shoes!  The museum is all concrete, and you will want to visit the whole thing.  There are numerous places to sit down and rest your feet tho, the choicest being at the cafe’ where you can also pick up refreshments.

*Don’t forget your quarters and penny for your pressed penny souvenir.  There are also some fun offerings in the gift shop, but, unfortunately, no bumper stickers (too bad for us!).

*Write down any questions and take them with you so you don’t forget to ask!  The staff and docents at this museum were so knowledgeable, and answered several of the boys’ questions.

*Take your camera – our kids were so happy to get their picture taken with the P-47 Thunderbolt since it was the first one we’ve ever seen in an air museum!  #WWIIgeeks

Check it out!  It’s a great family-friendly stop in Palm Springs.  You can find out more about the Palm Springs Air Museum on their website at

Lilla Rose

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  1. I have heard wonderful reports from a couple of friends who volunteer there how much they enjoyed your visit. They were so impressed with your family too. Did you happen to see our friend Chris? He is the artist there who wears a kilt.

    • That’s so sweet Betty! We sure enjoyed our visit – all of the staff and volunteers were so friendly and helpful!
      We DID see Chris – his work is incredible! I thought that having him there, painting era appropriate pics was such a neat touch and added to the WWII timeframe atmosphere. I loved his paintings!
      Tell Joe HI from us!
      <3 Dana

  2. Have you ever been here:

    • We have not Jessie, but it looks great! We actually haven’t been able to explore much up north since we go back to Montana in the summers. We are working on having more freedom to travel during then, tho, so hopefully we will get to check it out! :)

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