High Flying Adventure at The Hiller Aviation Museum

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Treat your little Maverick to a day of jets, flight and all things air transportation at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos.  From model planes, life-size aircraft and interactive games, you and your little one will be in awe as you explore over a century’s worth of aviation history. You can even take a simulated ride and satisfy your need for speed and high-flying adventure with the museum’s Flight Sim Zone.  So grab your little aviator and head south for a fun-filled day with turbo engines and the latest aircraft innovations.


How to get there: The museum is located South of San Francisco by a half hour, right off the 101. Appropriately located on Skyway Road.

Hours: Open 7 days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm

What to see: For a real thrill, head out back and let your little pilot climb aboard a Boeing 747. Work your way up the steep, winding stairs to check out first class and sit in the cockpit. And while you’re on the edge of the San Carlos airport, climb up to the viewing platform. It’s a great place to catch a glimpse of small planes taking flight.

In the Atrium, there’s a small play area for young kids. This is a convenient spot for active ones to blow off steam on the rockers or spend some time coloring. The old airplane seats in the space happen to be a comfy spot to feed the baby too.

If you have a real aviation savant on your hands, you can pay an extra $3 per person to take a virtual flight across the Bay in the high-tech Flight Sim Zone.

Tickets: You don’t need to spend more than an hour and a half or so to get your money’s worth (Adults: $11, Seniors: $7, Youth: 5-17 $7 and Children 4 & under: free with a paid adult). And note that you have to enter and exit through the gift shop so be prepared to buy a souvenir—or let your kids know ahead of time that you won’t be.
Insider Tip: Download this coupon good for $1 off each admission.

Grub: If your plane lover hasn’t had enough, keep your aviation adventure alive by enjoying lunch at one of two fun places.

One great option is to bring along a picnic and head to Coyote Point Recreation Area. Park (for $5) near the Magic Mountain Playground, then set up on the sports fields where you can fly a kite, as well as watch the planes coming in and out of SFO.

On a cold day, you might prefer to watch the SFO runways from a cozy booth at the Burlingame Elephant Bar. Be sure to ask for a table by the window and arrive with an appetite—even the kids portions are hearty. While you’re waiting for your food, keep entertained by tallying how many planes take off, how many land, how many are the same airline, etc.

Happy plane day!

– Amy Heinz

photo credit: Craig Howell via Flickr