March Field Air Museum, Riverside, CA
We learned about this gem from our fighter pilot friends, and we’re glad we did. Located on a distant corner of March Air Reserve Base, the March Field Museum has an outstanding outdoor display of aircraft that includes over 70 bombers and fighters. Remarkable for its breadth of aircraft, the map you receive as you enter says that can see 100 years of military aviation here, and we’d have to agree. The bombers alone cover 80 years starting with a beautiful B-17 and a B-29, and continuing up through today’s B-52s and FB-111s.
The main hanger has a red-and-white checkboard roof, so it’s easy to spot. Inside it you’ll find various exhibits and artifacts on our conflicts and the history of March Field, including the first Predator drone to be sent to a museum after serving active duty. And be sure to walk around the half-acre recreation of a Vietnam forward operations base complete with helicopters and sandbags. Its now the 50th anniversary of so many events from our Vietnam war years.
Interestingly, because of how the planes are arrayed, you immediately see how airplanes have grown in size. Next to the 265,000 pound, 159-feet long B-52, the B-17 Flying Fortress seems more like a Flying Cottage. Ditto for a fragile-looking 2,000-pound WWI biplane just a few dozen feet from a 19-ton F-15 Eagle.
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm
We came back in the heat of summer to explore the nooks and crannys of the March Field Museum and once again thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It’s one of the few places where you can really see the SR-71 and really crawl into the bomb bay of a B-29. That’s just for starters. The outdoor airpark is packed with whirlybirds and supersonic fighters and bombers — and all sorts of cargo planes. Look, touch, read placards. We didn’t stay in the area even though Riverside has all of the major hotels. And, yes, the sun has taken a toll on the airplanes but nothing to worry about. Come with high expectations; leave feeling rewarded.Visit museum website