Seattle Aviation, Maritime and Transportation Museums

America has a long and proud tradition of being at the cutting edge of transportation technology. The Wright Brothers’ historic first flight, Henry Ford’s Model T, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Panama Canal, and, of course, the first lunar landing are just a few examples.

People and commerce have always been an important part of our country’s development and history. A diverse transportation system evolved, connecting all points of the compass, shipping supply to meet demand, and connecting farms to urban tables and Mother Earth to outer space.

Fortunately, the rich and colorful history of transportation in America has been preserved in a number of excellent museums across the country. Continue reading to find out about museums in Seattle them that are well worth a visit.

Museum of Flight

9404 E. Marginal Way South, Seattle 98108 – See on map

The Museum of Flight could not exist elsewhere in the world than it the city that saw the birth of Boeing. Showcasing a unique collection of over historic aircrafts, the Museum of Flight makes an interesting visit for all those who want to know more about the history of aviation. Spacecraft exhibits are also on display, illustrating the evolution of space exploration from Kitty Hawk to the historic moment when the first man set foot on the moon.

With 11 permanent exhibitions and more temporary ones, this top Seattle aviation museum allows you to plunge into the history of aviation and learn a lot of interesting bits about the evolution of flight techniques and the takes humankind took into conquering the space.

The 737 Airliner Theater exhibition allows you to board a US Air Boeing 737 and enjoy a business class seat while watching the documentary Time Flies: A Century of Flight Afterwards, you can visit the aircraft’s cockpit.

Entering the Air Force One exhibition means actually visiting the first presidential jet plane located in the museum’s airpark. A specially designed Boeing 707-120, the Air Force One was built back in 1959. Its special presidential facilities were used by the US presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and other top political figures, until it was taken out of the presidential fleet in June 1996.

Apollo 17 Mission Models showcases 1/6 scale models of Challenger lunar module. Complete the space experience with a visit to the Space: Exploring the New Frontier exhibition, where you see a diorama of the landing site.

Some of the most interesting exhibitions to visit are those focusing on the history of the Boeing, but also the World War I Fighters and World War II Fighters.

Opened to the public on October 25th 2008, the T. Evans Wyckoff Memorial Bridge with its aircraft  like structure offers visitors an instructional and entertaining experience.

  • Opening hours: 10:00AM – 05:00 PM daily
  • Prices: $19 for adults, $16 for seniors (over 65) and active military, $11 for youth (5-17), free for children under the age of 5, free on the first Thursday of each month after 05:00 PM (the museum is open until 09:00 PM on these days)
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Flying Heritage Collection

3407 109th St SW, Everett, WA 98204 – See on map

The home of flying warbirds, the Flying Heritage Collection is located 40 kilometers North of Seattle, in the town of Everett. Here you will find on display war aircrafts and technological devices used in the field of aviation between the years 1935 and 1945. A fascinating visit for aviation and history buffs, this Seattle aviation museum sheds a light on the way this world evolved, and show how past innovators and innovations influenced this evolution.

  • Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, closed on Mondays for the rest of the year
  • Prices: $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (over 65) and military, $10 for youth (5-17), free for children under the age of 6
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Northwest Railway Museum

38625 SE King St, Snoqualmie, WA 98065 – See on map

Located in Snoqualmie and housed by a Victorian depot, the Northwest Railway Museum offers a unique experience.

Here you can learn a lot of interesting things about the history of the railway system in Washington and the way it influenced people’s lives.

Visiting this Seattle transport museum feels like traveling back in time to an era before the Interstate highways even existed.

On Saturdays and Sundays, from April through the end of October, you can also enjoy a historical steam train ride.

  • Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM daily
  • Prices: free
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Historic Flight Foundation

10719 Bernie Webber Dr, Mukilteo, WA 98275 – See on map

Opened to the public in 2003 as “John T. Sessions Historic Aircraft Foundation”, this Seattle aviation museum intends to collect, restore, and showcase aircrafts that played a major role in the history of aviation from the times when Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic (1927) to the first test flight of the Boeing 707 (1957).

The Historic Flight Foundation is set at the southwest corner of Paine Field – a historic airport which had only slow activity since World War II. In 2011, a new building – the Historic Flight Education Center – opened, allowing visitors to enjoy a fully entertaining Killo-7 flight experience.

  • Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM Tuesday – Sunday, closed on Mondays
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The Center for Wooden Boats

Benefiting from three waterfront locations (at South Lake Union, Cama Beach and North Lake Union), the Center for Wooden Boats invites all those interested in learning more about the history of sailing and boats crafting to visit its premises, walk the doc and admire the exhibits.

Besides the maritime museum facet, you will find in each of these locations a hub of hands-on learning where you can acquire sailing skills, rent a boat, or attend a workshop.

Located on the waterfront, any of the Center for Wooden Boats’ three locations represents a great idea for a family day spent outdoors, weather you want to teach your kids a history and crafts lesson or you want to have some fun learning how to row or sail a boat.

  • Opening hours: schedule changes depending on the season
  • Prices: free
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