Lyon Air Museum is located in Santa Ana, California, and is a very popular spot for families with kids. Because, you know, what kid doesn't like things that fly and can also be touched?
The museum is definitely a must-do when in Santa Ana area, so let's take a look why. We'll also cover some tips about how to have best time while there and what exhibitions are not-to-be-missed:
Don't miss an opportunity to talk with staff as many of them are ex-pilots and docents and have some first-hand experiences to share and shine a different light on exhibits and historic experiences.
This can be a surprise because most WWII museums display planes that have been retired for years and can't fly. Lyon Air museum has aircraft that are still is great shape, beautifully restored, lovingly maintained, and can be flown.
The museum theater is small, but a very cozy place to sit down for a little break and enjoy real-life WWII footage that involves planes and air fights.
The museum is not huge, and a lot depends on your pace, but it is possible to see most of the artifacts and exhibits in 2 hours, unless you have a toddler that has to touch every plane or a curious father who has to talk with staff for 30 minutes at a time.
If you really want to be thorough and do a lot of reading, you can easily spend more than 2 hours.
In addition to vintage aircraft, you will see some nice old cars and motorbikes from private collections on display and up close. All German and American vehicles are beautifully restored and impressive. There is even a car that Hitler rode in!
Get ready to be impressed and awed by examining the war aircraft. Only from up close can you truly understand what bravery it took to fly those planes to battle with very little protection and technology. This really goes to show that people did and still are putting their lives on a line for our country and all of us without any hesitation.
The museum is located in John Wayne airport, opposite from terminals and is easily accessible. It covers over 30,000 sq. feet and is not expensive at $12 for regular ticket and $9 with discount. If you are a senior, a military member, or a student, you will get a discounted rate.
There are some kid-friendly exhibits, but only a bit older kids can really grasp what it took to fly these planes. Small ones, however, appreciate seeing huge planes, like the B-12 up close, so most of them have a good time. A friendly advice - keep some snacks and water bottle handy to replenish the energy of the little explorers.
There are interactive exhibits at Lyon Air Museum and kids definitely congregate around them. The most favorite activity by all kids is a chance to climb in the cockpit. Then later they all love to sit on the Nazi tricycle with a little side car, see Dodge WWII truck, and try WWII helmet.
Since the museum is in a working airport, you can watch plenty of planes take off and land all the time. Even adults love that!
Visitors love abundant and free parking, but complain that there are no food facilities in or around the museum. It's important to think about that and eat a good breakfast or lunch before coming to the museum. Sometimes you can find a food truck parked by it, but it is not guaranteed.
The museum is very airy and well lit, making it perfect for picture opportunities. A part of the exhibition is outside, so make sure to visit that.