What can you do on rainy days when you live in Pensacola Beach -- and happen to have company? It is an excellent opportunity to tear yourself away from the beach and head to the National Museum of Naval Aviation at the Pensacola Naval Air Station (NAS).
The Museum is a great place to take the whole family and, incredibly, admission is free (though donations are greatly appreciated). There are approximately 150 restored aircraft in this beautiful, spacious museum which represent the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Among other things, you will find a large collection of aircraft carrier models, a simulator, cockpit trainers, displays of actual flight logs and other memorabilia, a control car for the K-series of U.S. Navy airships, an NC-4 flying boat, and a Flying Tigers exhibit.
The Museum's Cubi Bar Cafe, which cannot be missed, duplicates the bar area of the famous Cubi Point Officers' Club in Subic Bay, Phillipines. For almost 40 years, the Cubi Bar (an acronym for Construction Unit Battalion One), was a major source of entertainment for the Navy and Marine Corps squadrons as they passed into the Western Pacific.
Another must-see -- and one of my favorites -- is the recreation of a downtown street in Pensacola, circa 1943. Below are photos I took this week.
This recreation of the Saenger Theatre entry, circa 1943, just goes to show that one thing has never changed -- girls still love a guy in uniform. Unfortunately what has changed is the price of a ticket. Then: 35 cents; Now: $7.50.
The old L & L Pawn Shop gave servicemen a discount and no interest for the first 30 days!
Wow! Pre-Birkenstocks and Crocs! Guys with buff shoes!
Where on earth did they find all the 'vintage' canned goods to stock this grocery store?
Don't you love the old cash register? All the good candy is under the counter. You must visit this exhibit just to see the old Musketeers, Snickers, and Hershey bars.
Take your parents to see this recreation of a mid-1940 kitchen. It will spark great memories for them and perhaps create some good ones for you.
And actually, this kitchen sink looks just like the one I remember in my grandmother's kitchen! Yikes...flashback...I suddenly remember being terrified of fried baloney (that's bologna to the more refined readers) as the center of the cold cut slowly began rising into a yucky-ruddy replica of Casper the Ghost!
Please, visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation!