Even though we're not taking to the skies by ourselves yet, we can still find a way to get our airplane fix from the ground. We visited the Chino Planes of Fame Museum last summer with Dan's grandfather and Cynthia while they were in town and it was great, but there is a plane museum closer to home, too... less than ten miles away, in fact.
The Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana is situated directly on the north side of the runways of John Wayne Airport (aka, 'SNA,' 'Santa Ana Airport,' or 'Orange County Airport.') Some days Dan and his friend will both ride their motorcycles over to the parking lot there on their lunch breaks just to watch the planes land and take off from the airport. We used to do this sometimes during empty afternoons when we lived in Roanoke, too. I think a fascination with flight is just human; the fact that we've figured out how to do it is just amazing.
The Lyon Air Museum was small but worth the visit. They had several planes inside, ranging from World War II to Vietnam, all with interesting stories and pasts. All of them still fly, too, which is really cool for how old they are. Besides the planes, there are also several military trucks, motorcycles, and passengers cars, including a Mercedes-Benz previously used by Hitler during his reign of Nazi Germany. Creepy!
Everything in the museum is in incredible condition. Like in the museum in Chino, veterans wander the grounds ready to answer questions about the planes, many which they flew in during wars themselves. The stories these men share about their experiences during their service is really interesting. I definitely recommend seeking them out and being friendly with them if you ever visit a museum like this; they'll teach you more about the planes than any signs or videos ever could.
Address: 19300 Ike Jones Rd, Santa Ana, CA 92707
Hours: 10am - 4pm every day
General Admission: $12/ Kids 5-7: $6 / Kids under 5: free