Planning a trip to Pensacola, Florida? You don’t want to miss the Pensacola Lighthouse and National Naval Aviation Museum!
Living in Panama City, we have the benefit of taking day trips to some of the best places along the Gulf Coast. We’ve been to Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, located in Mobile, Alabama, which is only a few hours away from our home, and we’ve been on the USS Alabama (coming soon). We’ve also traveled East of Panama City to Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach, and Cape San Blas. We are extremely lucky to be able to leave out on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and find ourselves at any of these locations, with the day ahead of us to explore.
One Saturday several months ago we decided to head over to one of our favorite day trip locations, Pensacola. There is so much to see and do there, but on that particular day we explored the Pensacola Lighthouse and National Naval Aviation Museum. Having lived here most of my life, I’ve been to the National Naval Aviation Museum several times. My dad was in the Navy when he was younger, so it was no surprise that we would end up on the Navy base in Pensacola exploring. There is also a fort, Fort Barrancas, unfortunately the day we were exploring, we ran out of time to see the fort. We will definitely have to go back soon!
The Pensacola Lighthouse may sound familiar to you, if you’ve ever been a fan of the television show Ghost Hunters. We had no idea until we walked downstairs to the basement that we were standing in what was considered a haunted lighthouse!
They even have the episode continually playing downstairs so that you can see what they find! We didn’t see or hear anything while we were there, thankfully. The lighthouse is full of history, and I loved the way they rooms were set up, although I’ll admit that the mannequins are pretty creepy.
Sadly, I am terrified of heights (however, I love being in an airplane, go figure), and I tried to make it up the steps to the top, I didn’t make it very far. My anxiety got the best of me…but check out the steps! They are all see through, and you have to stay on one side or the other, depending on whether you are going up or coming down.
Space is tight! Some of the steps were even being worked on while we were there, and there was plywood in their place. Yikes! I suggest that if you have anxiety or experience claustrophobia, to just steer clear of trying to go inside the lighthouse. Tour the museum, and call it a day! Zack and the girls had no problem going up, so they took pictures and waved at me on the grounds below.
Do you see that building in the background on the right? That’s the National Naval Aviation Museum! It’s conveniently located right across the street so that you can take a day and tour both. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t enjoy spending several hours exploring the National Naval Aviation Museum.
There are airplanes from all throughout history, over 150, and so much information to take in. I highly recommend it! We homeschool, so this was a wonderful field trip opportunity for our family, however, even if you aren’t into the history (I couldn’t believe you wouldn’t be!), who doesn’t love looking and touching all the airplanes. There are even a select number that you can sit in the cockpit! What kid, or adult wouldn’t love that! There are also a number of different simulators – we did the Blue Angels experience. Very cool! It’s nothing crazy. It’s milder than any roller coaster, including kiddie ones, that I’ve ever been on.
I mentioned education right? Well, you can get a wonderful military history lesson here. There are exhibits that show uniforms, ships, historic documents, and many other interesting memorabilia. Even though my girls loved the airplanes, and reading how they were used, they really enjoyed the exhibits upstairs. They really enjoyed the Home Front USA, it shows a typical home during World War II, and a general store.
Another one that the girls enjoyed was The Pacific Island exhibit. Kelsie thought who can take a shower in that short amount of time!
To round out your day, if you’re lucky, you can watch the famous Blue Angels practice! Check their schedule, because we weren’t there on a day they were practicing. Another thing that we will have to go back for!
All opinions are my own, these are our honest reviews. We were in no way compensated for this post.