Yuma Proving Grounds Heritage Center, Yuma, AZ

The entrance to Yuma is marked by a pair of hard-to-miss guns.

The U.S. Army Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona is geographically one of the largest Army bases in the world. It has the longest artillery range (40 miles end-to-end), more than 200 miles of test roads for wheeled and tracked vehicles, plus it has a fully instrumented flight box where combat helicopters can fire weapons  and get immediate post-mission performance metrics.

The  Heritage Center is a small museum that tells the story of the weapons developed or tested here as well as interesting asides like the  geology of the proving grounds. Be sure to see one of the newer exhibits called Liberation of the Concentration Camps during World War II. It focuses on those Army units who were first to see the horror of Hitler’s insanity.

The main draw is the outdoor display area called The Wahner E. Brooks Historical Exhibit, so leave plenty of time for it. This  is an excellent vehicle park with dozens of tanks, howitzers and other artillery pieces for you to touch and see. Among them – an M4 Sherman tank, an M60 Patton tank, a Sergeant York antiaircraft gun, howitzers, missile launchers, and a fascinating pair of nuclear surface-to-surface missiles, the Honest John (first Army missile to be nuclearized).

The Heritage Center requires entry onto base so bring a driver’s license.

Hours:  Tues. – Friday:  10am – 4pm

Visit museum website

For hotels, we recommend Hotels.com