Canadian Air and Space Museum

It used to be all about cars and trucks.  Then it was trains.  Now it’s airplanes.

Old-fashioned paper planes soar around the main floor of the house causing me to shriek, “Watch the baby!” about a gazillion times a day.  A remote control helicopter was a favourite birthday gift and is quickly becoming a Saturday morning play ritual with daddy.  And of course, Santa didn’t disappoint leaving a battery-powered hovercraft under the tree.

To say that the boys are deep into an “airplane stage” is probably a gross understatement.   To satisfy their love for all things aviation we headed over to The Canadian Air and Space Museum at Downsview Park.

I live about 15 minutes away and I didn’t even know that this gem existed!  The large hangar is home to several to-scale replica planes (including one of the Avro Arrow) and some are even the real deal.

Unlike other museums where I panic that we are going to be the new owners of a priceless Picasso, I wasn’t the least bit anxious when the boys, excited beyond words, ran from airplane to airplane.  Simple cord ropes keep the children back from the exhibit but many of the displays have metal, ladder-like stairs that children can climb in order to get a better view of the cockpit.

A cross-section of an Air Canada passenger jet is tons to fun to explore.  The boys eagerly took their seats and belted up, all the while flicking the tray in front of their seat up and down.

The highlight was sitting in the fighter jet.  The buttons!  Oh, the buttons!  If your kids are anything like my boys, they love pressing buttons and this dashboard is guaranteed to keep even the busiest of fingers occupied for a good five minutes!

What You Need To Know:

  • Admission is $11 per adult and children under 5 are free.
  • Parking is plentiful and free.
  • The hangar is spacious with lots to see but after a few hours you will find yourself ready to head home.
  • There is a flight simulator for older children (and grown-ups too!).
  • Definitely stroller friendly but washrooms are upstairs and no changetables were to be found (of course, I learned this the hard way and had to change an explosion diaper on the front seat of the car . . . in minus ten degree weather!).
  • Looking for some down time?  A quiet colouring station is the perfect place to unwind before packing in the car and heading home.
  • The only way to access the museum is to go through the gift shop, so be warned that this could result in lots of incredibly annoying begging polite requests for a keepsake.
  • I didn’t see food or drink for sale anywhere on the premise, so pack a snack (like your purse isn’t a sink hole of nibblies, crayons, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, etc. anyway).

Check it out!  Let me know if your kids enjoyed it as much as mine.

Do you have an aviation museum in your city?  Share with the rest of us . . .