Santa flies a bush plane to the Museum of Flight this weekend
Seattle’s Museum of Flight features a fly-in by Santa and Mrs. Claus, with added attractions of the new Space Shuttle trainer and more.
Seattle Times staff
The reindeer are resting up for their big night, so Santa and Mrs. Claus are arriving at Seattle’s Museum of Flight in a de Havilland Beaver bush plane to greet their fans Saturday.
They’ll visit with kids inside the museum until 2 p.m., part of family activities throughout the galleries. Visitors can “fly” Santa’s sleigh on flight simulators free from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Aviation Learning Center. The Boeing Orchestra and Band are among performers throughout the day.
The permanent Space Shuttle Trainer exhibit in the Space Gallery is the newest of the museum’s many attractions. Crews for space-shuttle missions from 1981 to 2011 trained in the huge, 122-foot-long, 48-foot tall mock-up, and while the museum hoped to get one of the retired space shuttles that ended up in New York, Los Angeles, Florida and Washington, D.C., the trainer has the advantage of access. The real shuttles are on display out of reach, while Museum of Flight visitors can enter the shuttle trainer’s Cargo Bay, including wheelchair access. In-depth tours of the crew compartment are available at additional cost on weekends; advance reservations are available since space is limited, but there’s usually space for last-minute visitors.
Related displays let visitors use flight sticks to “land” a shuttle, explore panoramic images from a real shuttle and see flight-training suits worn by Washington state astronauts Dick Scobee, who died in the Challenger disaster in 1986, and Michael Anderson, who died in the Columbia space shuttle accident in 2003.
Other museum attractions include the Great Gallery display of aircraft and Kid’s Flight Zone activities; Personal Courage Wing interactive exhibits of World War I and World II fighter planes; William M. Allen Theater; and the Red Barn, an in-depth look at the founding and history of the Boeing Company. The Memorial Bridge over East Marginal Way South provides access to attractions across the street from the main museum building, including the Space Gallery and the outdoor Airpark with a 1960s-era Air Force One and the Concord supersonic jet, both available for walk-through.
A classic, customized Lincoln Continental limousine built for Pope Paul VI’s 1965 visit to the United Nations and later used in ticker-tape parades for Apollo 8 and 11 astronauts is on temporary display in the museum lobby.
Museum of Flight parking is free. Saturday’s holiday event is a popular draw, with crowds usually gathering by 9:30 a.m. to await Santa’s arrival.
Time: Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive 10 a.m., greet visitors inside the museum until 2 p.m.; museum open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, until 8 p.m. first Thursday of each month. Airpark open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment tours 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m. weekends.
Location: Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle.
Cost: $17/adults; $14/ages 65 and older and active military; $9/ages 5-17; ages 4 and younger free. Free admission 5-9 p.m. first Thursday of each month. Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment tours, $20-$30 in addition to museum admission.
More information: 206-764-5720 or www.museumofflight.org.
Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or firstname.lastname@example.org