Shearwater Aviation Museum
The main difference between this museum and the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum is that this one features aircraft and aircraft carriers from the armed forces, as opposed to commercial and recreational aircraft. Most young children won't know the difference, but if you have a little person who is really into "army guys," this one might be of special interest for him or her.
There is a room off to one side with mannequins in air force uniforms, and a fantastic old-timey underwater suit. Very young children might be frightened by the static models. Or maybe it's just my kid. They are kind of creepy, so we kept moving.
Now for this museum's crowning glory: Just on the other side of the mannequin room is a giant concave mirror used to help land planes on an aircraft carrier. It's like one from a house of mirrors and you can have a lot of fun with it. I'll admit we spent most of our visit admiring our wide faces and long arms. Awesome.
There is plenty of aircraft artwork upstairs, most of it painted with breathtaking detail. I found it quite fascinating but I suppose young children would have to have a special passion for airplanes or airplane art for the second floor gallery to hold their attention. There's also a bit of taxidermy. But if art and stuffed roadkill don't appeal to you, you could probably skip the upstairs.
There is a second hangar to explore with more helicopters and airplanes. We moved from one aircraft to another pointing out the letters and numbers painted on them and talking about numerals. Workers had opened up the doors of the showroom to make way for a new Sea King that was arriving, making the active daycare playground behind the museum clearly visible, and suddenly the airplanes lost their prominent spot in within my child's attention span. So we headed out.
The gift shop was sparse but the rubbery-foam toy planes they sold were all we needed. They were much better quality than the brittle papery ones you usually see. We got a nice yellow one to bring home and spent a good long time zooming it and crashing it. It wasn't as nearly as fragile as I thought it might be, and was well worth the $5 price tag for all the fun we had.
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Toy Aircraft Carrier