Friday, July 20, 2012

MAPS Museum visit- on the fly...

Hubby told me he decided to take an impromptu long weekend this weekend. He asked me what I wanted to do. In my head I said, "You to take care of cleaning the house, making dinner (not take out), take lil man out and just let me have a day to myself- after you've cleaned the house." What I really said was "I don't know."

I decided to take lil man to the library for storytime in the morning and let the hubby sleep in as he was out fishing really late the night before. It helped that lil man woke up extremely cranky and not wanting to listen to a thing I said. I was exhausted an hour into the day. But, let's make the most of it.
We had fun at the library and picked up books on the theme of the week- spiders.

When we came home, hubs was up. He said he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I said he could go without me so I could have time. He didn't really like that idea as he wanted us all to do something. I wanted my time but can appreciate the need and desire for good quality family time. He mentioned going to Cleveland to a museum. My wheels started spinning. It was noon. Museums close at 5. It's a 45 minute drive and someone gets cranky between 2 and 4. Hmm... not a great idea. I started looking at museums near us in the Akron/Canton area.

Google never fails. It gave me a list and I started to go through thinking what would be good. The Fossil museum would be cool, but we have a play date there with friends next week. Something else... Then I stumbled upon the MAPS Museum near the Akron Canton Airport. I was leary at first. Not sure what it held. The pictures shows planes but also displays. Lil man, at 3, would certainly not be into displays. I talked it over with hubs and we headed out to check out the museum with the idea that if the museum is not the best for lil man, we would head to Chuck E Cheese.

This museum, while small, is FANTASTIC! I cannot express enough how much I absolutely loved this place. I think I was more in love with it than either of my boys. It was the coolest thing ever. There were planes all over in the gift shop area hanging from the ceiling (what I want to do in lil man's room). There were all kinds of planes everywhere in the museum... hanging from the ceiling, on the ground, outside (thankfully the weather cleared a little). There were descriptions of everything military plane. It was so cool.

Sitting at the first exhibit- a military gun.... E is rotating the chair, daddy is moving the gun up and down.

Switched spots and focused...

So glad to see the planes.

Super cool glider from the 1920's.

The greatest surprise came to us while at the museum. We saw in the corner the gondola of the Goodyear Blimp. This is a huge thing in our house. Hubby used to work for the blimp (landing crew) and in our dating years, I would visit him at the hanger and sit in the blimp gondola. What was great about it was it was the exact same gondola he worked with- the GZ22. It had crashed a few years after he left (to settle down and be married to moi. Too much travel for him to be newly married and such) and apparently MAPS got the gondola of the blimp that crashed. The very one I sat in and explored (not that there's much to explore, but I looked into the balloon part of the blimp in that gondola and sat in the pilot's chair. Good times. Hubby said many memories came flooding back and he reminisced with one of the gentlemen working/volunteering with MAPS. Needless to say, this was lil man's favorite part of the museum and he had a ton of fun in the blimp. We sat in there for about 20 minutes just letting him play on one of the two trips to this exhibit.

Our blimp... see story below.

Inside our blimp.

The flag hanging from above the cockpit in the blimp.

Thought this sign was interesting. The how to make your own radio handouts were gone though.

Fox radios you can make using the missing handouts.

On the rotor of the blimp

You could climb up the ladder and look inside this fighter jet...

Not a big space... at all....especially when you consider the gear they have to wear.

umm... okay. Didn't think I'd fit anyway... or be able to climb over the gate....

Another favorite for lil man... helicopters.

The fastest plane here.

Yes, that speed says 1,372 MPH. Yowza!

I was in love with this B-25 Bomber It was my favorite.

Love this plane. Love love...
After looking at the planes in the hanger and outside, we headed inside to use the restroom (which was the nicest and cleanest I had ever seen in a museum. I almost took a pic but decided better not) and tour the Heroes Hall.

The Heroes Hall was filled with all kinds of really neat things. There were uniforms of all eras displayed, planes and helicopters, various stories of the heroes from the Akron Canton area who served (which was so cool to read). What I loved best about the Heroes Hall was the handwritten pieces they had. There was a handwritten flight log listing the date, time and mission they were on. There were lots of handwritten notes (my favorite things in the world to pour over) to family and friends from these heroes. It was wonderful and beautiful and reminded me of the book I just finished and can't stop thinking about, The Bungalow. 

Various helmets and piloting/air traffiking equipment.

various military uniforms for women.

Handwritten flight mission log. So cool!

He tried to open every display and play with the planes... There were many.

Interesting note....

Another handwritten note home from a local hero

Hobby to pass time- art- by another local hero.

Rosie the Riveter display.

Cool missles.

I loved this museum and will be back. I think it may become a semi-annual event. It's fantastic. If that's not enough to convince you to visit, the guest book I signed had people who visited from Oklahoma, Florida and other places who said it was a great museum as well. It really is. We saw kids of all ages who enjoyed it and some on guided tours (not something we can do with our lil man yet).

As always, I was in no way, shape or form compensated for this post. I simply loved this museum and can't wait to go back. It really is a gem.

Tomorrow, we hit our next annual event... The hotair balloon festival for the Football Hall of Fame Inauguration. It's our 3rd year attending. It's something we wouldn't pass up.

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