Frontiers of Flight Museum
6911 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas
Our quest on a day too cold for outdoor activities was a place with room for kids to play that also appealed to adults. We found it at the Frontiers of Flight museum near Dallas’s Love Field airport. Actually, we’d been to the Smithsonian affiliate before, on a summer day when it was too hot for outdoors. But this museum has plenty to keep bodies and minds engaged even when temperatures in Texas are just right.
The museum, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, occupies a 100,000-square foot building at the southeast corner of Love Field. Be prepared to exit off Lemmon Avenue as soon as you see the museum entrance sign, even though the building itself still seems a long way off.
As we parked, my daughter’s five-year-old twin sons were awe-struck at being able to walk beneath the wings of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 protruding from the museum wall. The plane’s position wasn’t due to pilot error. Its front end stands inside, where the plane serves as a mini-museum of information about Love Field’s iconic airline, alongside other Southwest historical exhibits.
As we entered the museum, the glass-walled model room caught our eyes. The museum augments its exhibits of full-sized planes and other craft, including the Apollo 7 command module, with scale models. And the model room is where lucky volunteers design and build these.
The boy’s favorite exhibits included the moon landing exhibit and the playground, with its airplane scaled to fit child pilots and a climbable indoor control tower. My daughter found the exhibits of flight attendants’ uniforms from the 1970s and 1980s hilarious but thought-provoking.
I was most interested in a newly-restored Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny” biplane from World War I and the exhibition of posters of famous cockpits currently on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. The “At the Controls” exhibit gives visitors a pilot’s-eye view of a century of changes in flight technology. From the controls of the Wright Brothers’ original Flyer, to a space shuttle. From a World War I SPAD XIII with bullet holes to the atomic bomb carrying Enola Gay.
Museum admission is $8 for adults, $5 for ages 3-17, free for children under age 3. For more information about the museum and its educational programs, see http://flightmuseum.com/
Can’t get enough airplanes? See also the Cavanaugh Flight Museum near Addison Airport, 4572 Claire Chennault, Addison, Texas. With indoor and outdoor facilities, it boasts more full-size planes, especially military aircraft. The boys’ took their Navy vet grandfather from Florida there especially to see the Navy planes. See www.cavanaughflightmuseum.com for hours and admission prices.
(For what it felt like to fly the old planes, see this coming Friday’s post on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Wind, Sand and Stars.)