Review of the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, WI

by StevenHelmer

I visited this museum with my wife and daughter. Read to find out what I thought of it.

Description: Experimental Aircraft Association-run museum located at 3000 Poberezny Road in Oshkosh Wisconsin. The museum focuses on the history of flight and features a wide variety of displays that include vintage aircraft and flight-related artifacts. The museum also offers several hands-on activities for kids. My wife, daughter and I visited here earlier this week and spent roughly 3 hours touring the museum.

Review

My oldest daughter turns 11 later this week and, rather than throwing her a birthday party (which I’m not a huge fan of because it’s hard to get guests to commit during the summer), my wife and I decided to celebrate it by taking her someplace she had never been before, the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since our daughter loves airplanes, we figured (correctly) this would be a good option for her.

This wasn’t my first time visiting this museum. However, my last trip was more than 20 years ago (when I was about my daughter’s age) and I didn’t remember much about it. What I discovered was this museum was extraordinary.

I’ve been to quite a few museums in my lifetime and this was honestly the first time I felt like I was experiencing sensory overload. While the museum isn’t overly large, it does make great use of the space it has and there are some rooms where you literally get worn out just trying to see everything. The main floor, for example, has planes on the floor and hanging from the walls and ceiling. This room, alone, could take you a good chunk of your day. And, the museum has plenty of other rooms, as well as the attached Pioneer Airport. We were there for three hours and I’m sure we missed something.

Airplane at the Pioneer Airport
Airplane at the Pioneer Airport
Steven Helmer

Another thing that surprised me about this museum was the variety of hands-on experiences they offered, especially for kids. Their KidVenture Gallery has several flight simulators, including one for a hot air balloon and another one for a hang glider. There’s also a half-scale replica of an F-22 that kids can sit in.

One thing we didn’t know about when we got there was the museum also offers free plane rides to kids ages 8-17. Unfortunately, it was too windy for my daughter to take advantage of this when we were there (if I had known about it ahead of time, I would have postponed our trip and taken it on a day with better weather).

Half-Scale F-22 Replica
Half-Scale F-22 Replica
Steven Helmer

The staff members manning the museum when we arrived were very friendly and knowledgeable. When we first arrived, we were greeted and were given a short talk about the various rooms and activities that were available to us (something more museums should do) and, while we were walking the floor, another staff member took a few minutes to point out some interesting facts about one of the exhibits my daughter was looking at. I think that, and him telling her to keep her eyes out for the hidden Spongebob Squarepants in the Paris exhibit helped keep her interested.

When it came to overall cost, I honestly didn’t have any complaints. The museum offers a family admission for $31. This is actually pretty reasonable, especially when you consider it includes the free plane ride (at least when the weather permits). The gift shop was also relatively reasonable. There were some higher-end items. But, there were also plenty of things that allowed my daughter to stay within her $10 budget.

I think my only real complaint about this trip was the lack of signage pointing out where the museum was. We actually drove past the street and had to go in a big circle before we found it and, considering there are other signs pointing to downtown Oshkosh and some other attractions, I was a little disappointed by the fact they didn’t bother placing a sign telling us where to turn. However, once we did find the place, we certainly enjoyed ourselves.

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Final Opinion

This was definitely a unique experience that the three of us enjoyed. If you are looking for something fun to do with your family and are near or going to be near the Oshkosh, Wisconsin area, I would recommend putting this museum on your list of things to do.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 07/30/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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Digby_Adams on 07/30/2015

The serious fly-in people are really interesting people. I did enjoy listening to them talk about all their flying adventures. It's an amazing number of people.

StevenHelmer on 07/30/2015

When we went up there this week (I purposely avoided the fly-in crowds), I honestly wasn't expecting there to be as much as there was. As I told my wife, if we were to take photos of everything, we probably would run out of space on our memory card before we were finished.

Digby_Adams on 07/30/2015

My husband is a pilot and I did go to the Oshkosh fly-in with him one year. I got to know the museum well because of their air-conditioned and very clean toilets. I preferred those to the portablble toilets in the 100+ temps. Admission to the muesum was included in the fly-in ticketsand there was a shuttle bus. For that week I went to every event at the museum. It is a very interesting place.

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