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Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum McMinnville OR is a unique destination dedicated to preserving aviation and space technology. The museum houses a wide range of military and civilian aircraft and spacecraft.
Highlights include Howard Hughes’ wooden behemoth, the H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose,” and a first-of-its-kind World War II drone. There are also exhibits on Orville and Wright’s elegant designs, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and much more. Learn more by clicking here.
The museum’s biggest draw is the Spruce Goose, the folly or masterpiece (depending on your view) of maverick aviator Howard Hughes. The wooden aircraft, which has a wingspan of 230 feet, made one brief flight during World War II.
It was stored in Long Beach, California, under a giant aluminum shell and later became a tourist attraction. After years of salt air, it was bought by the Evergreen Aviation Museum in 1992 from Michael King Smith and his father Delford M. Smith, founders of Evergreen International Aviation.
Today, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is home to more than 150 historic aircraft, spacecraft, and exhibits. Its key holdings include American aviation icon the Spruce Goose, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the Titan II Space Launch Vehicle with its original launch room. The museum also has hands-on flight and engine simulators. There are also nature trails, vineyards, and an aviation-themed water park. The museum was founded by Capt. Michael King Smith, a former fighter jet pilot for the 123rd Fighter Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard.
The museum’s aircraft collection traces the history of aviation, from the Wright Brothers’ first flight to commercial air travel and space exploration. You’ll see the world’s largest plane, Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, as well as WWI fighter jets and workhorses from the Korean War.
The Space Museum, opened in 2008, features a large display of intercontinental ballistic missiles and other space technology. Highlights include the Titan II ICBM, as well as one of the Mercury 10 space capsules.
Visitors can also view a restored SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest plane ever built. The museum has a wide variety of other military and civilian aircraft as well. This unique place is a must-see!
A little water fun is a must after scouring the museum’s two buildings of aircraft, including military and commercial aeronautical planes, helicopters, and spacecraft. But there’s so much more here, such as a large collection of firearms, historic artifacts, and an IMAX 3D theater.
Then there’s the one-of-a-kind Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose,” a wooden behemoth that made a short, single flight in 1947. And there’s also the SR-71 Blackbird, an experimental titanium reconnaissance plane that broke speed records.
Located at 500 N.E. Capt. Michael King Smith Way, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum complex is a quick drive from many Willamette Valley cities and towns. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s best to plan ahead for a visit. The museums will reopen to the public on June 6, 2021. The waterpark will open at that time as well. A waterpark ticket is included in the museum admission price. A few highlights include the Sonic Boom, Tailspin, and Mach 1 slides, a Vortex pool, and a leisure pool.
The museum is best known for the Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” and other historic aircraft, but it has an expansive collection that includes the intercontinental ballistic missile Titan II and space technology. It also hosts a variety of educational partnerships.
The exhibits are fairly well curated by era, although there is a lot of dust on everything and they could use some serious refinishing. It’s worth a visit though, especially if you’re an aviation buff or have kids in tow.
The Evergreen campus also has a conference center and an IMAX theater that are available for business meetings, quinceaeras, weddings, and other events. The company that owns the museum, Wings & Waves Waterpark, and additional property around the Museum plans to continue using these spaces for nonprofit events when they are not being rented out for private parties. Its owner, Klamath Falls native Steve Down, is a proponent of “cause capitalism,” a philosophy that places a strong emphasis on giving back to the community. Find out more!
Driving directions from A+ Exterior Cleaning to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
Driving directions from Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum to Joe Dancer Park