Before You Visit
- The more time you have to spend at Pima Air & Space, the better your experience. We have 80 acres and more than 300 airplanes, not to mention all our artifacts (more than 125,000 on display) and the 390 Memorial Museum ("the museum in the museum"), plus the exclusive and impressive “Boneyard” tour. We recommend you spend a minimum of 3 hours at the museum. For the best experience, we highly recommend getting a 2-day pass, especially for photography buffs. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk, although there's plenty to see and do for the mobility impaired.
- Browse our website to target your interests before visiting. If you are not sure what you want to see, take the virtual tours of the Main Hangar; Hangars 3 & 4 (combined); the Space Gallery; the 390th Memorial Museum, and our outside collection. Or read about our exhibits. Understanding the ABCs of U.S. military aircraft designations is also helpful: www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/aircraft.html.
- All the tours run on a seasonal schedule (more tours during the peak season, less off peak) and the riding tours (the “Boneyard”/AMARG tour and our tram) generally require an advanced purchase, so it is best to check our tour times and information before you arrive. Riding tours can be purchased online or via telephone in advance (there is a small convenience fee per ticket and sales end at midnight the day prior) however we also sell tickets at admissions the day of the tour for walk-ups. We advise arriving at the museum early (we open at 9:00am) to purchase these walk-up tickets.
- Arrive as early as possible in order to give yourself plenty of time to explore.
- Wear sunscreen, bring a hat, and carry bottled water with you. During winter, bring a sweater or jacket (think layers). Enjoy! Tucson is one of the sunniest cities in the world boasting 350 days of sunshine a year!
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Only have a few hours? Take these tours:
- Tram Riding Tour The 1-hour tram tours are narrated by experienced docents who oftentimes share their personal stories about aircraft on display. You will drive by most of the outdoor aircraft collection on our 80 acres. Last stop is the 390th Memorial Museum. Afterwards, you can walk back to the aircraft that caught your attention and take a closer look. Tram tours are an additional $6 per person.Take a morning tour during the summer months when it is cooler. During winter, we suggest taking an afternoon tour.
- Docent-led Walking Tours Tour the Main Hangar and/or Hangars 3 with an experienced docent who knows the aircraft “backwards and forwards.” There are a variety of aircraft in the Main Hangar from military to small civilian aircraft, starting with the Wright Flyer replica and offering a mini history of aviation. Hangar 3 is dedicated to WWII. These 50-minute tours take place daily in the morning (and early afternoon from November through April) and are FREE!
Have 4 to 6 hours? Check out these highlights too:
- “Boneyard”/AMARG Riding Tour
An exclusive tour of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group on a climate-controlled bus with a knowledgeable docent narrating the tour. The tour requires advanced purchase and you will need to check-in with a government-issued ID 1 hour before the tour. It’s only available on non-Federal-holiday weekdays and the schedule varies, so it’s best to check ahead for information and to make your purchase in advance (a small convenience fee applies to advanced purchases) or arrive when the museum opens at 9:00am for available walk-up tickets.
- Space Gallery
Covers the entire history of space exploration, the X rocketships and space-age materials. Look at an actual moon rock, dock a space capsule on an actual simulator (no mere vidoe game), try your hand with a lunar lander, and speak with experienced docents who will share information beyond the exhibits.
- Flight Grill
Our in-house restaurant has a variety of menu choices and snacks (think ice cream!), most prepared fresh. The seating overlooks the outdoor airplanes and the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base runway. Dine inside or out. It's delicious!
Let us help with these sample 1-day weekday itineraries. Just make sure you have purchased tickets as our Riding tours frequently sell out (if you have not pre-purchased your tickets either online or through the 888-71TICKETS number—see our Buy page—it’s best to arrive close to 9:00am when we open!).
10:00am ......Tram Tour
10:30am ......Walking Tour of the Main Hangar
*"Boneyard"/AMARG tours only operate on weekdays that are not federal holidays.
Tour times subject to change.
Got even more time? Do all that, and...
- Self-Guided Tours
Stroll around any of the hangars and/or the outdoors at your own pace and check out whatever displays interest you. Every hangar is manned with experienced docents, happy to speak with you and answer any questions. You can access our individual aircraft information page using a smart phone/tablet with the app: MyGeoTrex (GPS-based outside the hangars, alphabetical list inside) or scan the QR codes on the outdoor aircraft signs with an installed QR reader. Your personal carrier rates apply.
- Museum Store
As you leave, peruse our store for a multitude of gifts, souvenirs, books and novelties. We have something for everyone here. We ship domestically too. Ask for details.
VISITING WITH KIDS
According to 2012 family research, to optimize a museum visit with kids base the activities on the age of the child, specifically:
- Ages 1-4 Creative play (learning through play, fantasy, exploration)
- Ages 4-7 Interaction, education and variety
- Ages 8-11 Interaction combined with processing (kids asking questions and then being able to explain things in their own words)
- Ages 12+ The challenge, intensity and authenticity that teens "crave."
So please bring your children. Wagons are available on a first-come basis in the Main Hangar to pull around smaller children.
To maximize your Pima Air & Space visit with your children and grandchildren we recommend the following:
First, if possible, attend an age-appropriate "Soaring' Saturday*" event (included in the price of admissions).
Second, attend a special kid-centric/family event:
- Night of Fright (the last Friday of October, 5-9pm, non-scary, carnival fun & candy. Please see FAMILY EVENTS for a complete description)
- Santa's Landing (December weekend day, Santa lands in a helicopter and visits with kids, check FAMILY EVENTS for a complete description)
- Night Wings (4th Saturday cool summer evenings Jun. through Aug, 5-9pm, please see FAMILY EVENTS for a complete description)
- Great Paper Airplane Fly-off (1st Saturday in February, kids 6-14 throw paper airplanes; the farthest one by age group wins a flight over Tucson for 2 and a tablet with aviation software, please see FAMILY EVENTS for more information and register at greatpaperairplane.org starting mid-November.)
Third, we offer "scavenger hunts"
- Aviation Animals Scavenger Hunt available to download (Planes with animal nick-names; can you guess why?) and * Scavenger Hunt Answers
- Disney "Planes" real-life inspiration and their location.
Fourth, fold a paper airplane and see how you would stack up in the museum's annual Great Paper Airplane Fly-off scheduled for the first Saturday in February. Check out the Exhibit in the Main Hangar. More information on the Fly-off event is at our microsite greatpaperairplane.org.
Last, the following is a brief summary of suggestions to pique kids' natural curiosity by the aforementioned age groups. As some activities appeal to several age groups, they are color-coded to help families with children of more than one age group.
Ages 1-4 Creative play (learning through play, fantasy, exploration)
Ages 4-7 Interaction, education and variety
Ages 8-11 Interaction combined with processing (kids asking questions and then being able to explain things in their own words)
Ages 12+ The challenge, intensity and authenticity that teens "crave"
Before you visit, experts recommend involving kids with virtual tours. We love ours and hope you and your kids will too! Or create these aviation- and space-themed crafts from Michaels Craft Stores, highlights of their summer 2014 "Passport to Imagination," found at http://www.michaels.com/on/demandware.static/Sites-MichaelsUS-Site/Sites-MichaelsUS-Library/default/misc/passport/week3/pimaairspace.html. And reviewing the ABCs of U.S. military aircraft designations is great way to understand the purpose of the aircraft (and review your ABCs with younger kids) http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/aircraft.html.
Children age 6 and under are given FREE admission to the Pima Air & Space Museum however to take either the Tram Tour or the "Boneyard"/AMARG Tour their tour seat must be purchased ($6 for the Tram Tour, $4 for the "Boneyard"/AMARG Tour) unless they are age 2 and under and will remain on an adult's lap (limit 1 lap child per paying adult).