Tuesday, February 21, 2006

National Museum of Naval Aviation

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!


lou in denver said...

outstanding presentation of nostalgia..
excellent photography..
my favorites past and present are the navy's own..the blue angels!!,
the museum is awsome and worthy of a visit anytime..rain or shine..
and the air-conditioning is a most welcome respite from the sweltering heat and humidity on any summer day!
thanks for another stroll down memory lane..

campbell said...

Deja vu all over again! That 40's kitchen reminds of ours in the 40's and early 50's. No matter how out of date it seems, my Mom could still bake the lightest cakes
and best meat loaf I've ever tasted.

I can't imagine what she would say about my microwave, granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Believe me, hardly anything comes out of this kitchen that smells or tastes like hers.

Yes, Virginia, girls do like guys in uniform. I lived in San Diego in the mid-50's and my heart was lost on a couple of guys until they shipped out! Whoops, too much information!

I'll make a point of visiting the museum when in Pensacola.

cshells said...

You are a great ambassator for Pensacola and Pensacola Beach. Your pictures and text have made me put the Navel Museum on my list of "must do's" next time we get down that way! Shells

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Nice article. I live in India and do visit your neck of the woods quite a bit. Incidently, I too wrote about an Aviation Museum, this one in Goa, India titled: "Indian Naval Aviation Museum" on my blog spot: http://mymysore72.blogspot.com/

I write only about aviation, Aircraft and so on. One of the articles is about the beach state of Goa and the Naval Aviation Museum there, among other articles. Do please read it, just for fun and hope you like it and my other articles and if you end up in India at some time, perhaps you'd like to take a look!