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Guide to Touring USS Midway Museum

February 8, 2023 By CityPASS

The USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California, is a marvel of American naval history. This must-see military museum contains the USS Midway, one of the country's longest-running aircraft carriers. After serving the United States military from 1945 to 1992, it was turned into a museum in 2004. The museum offers visitors a unique chance to learn about what life was like on the Midway.

At the USS Midway Museum, you can see many different types of aircrafts, hop into a flight simulator, and even check out the command center that participated in Operation Desert Storm.

Incredible Experiences at the USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum stretches over 10 acres and offers over 60 exhibits aboard the aircraft. It offers a self-guided audio tour so that you can explore every inch of the museum at your own pace.

Self-Guided Audio Tour Narrated By Former Midway Sailors

Included with admission, the self-guided audio tour helps you navigate the entire museum. Expect to spend anywhere from around 2 to 4 hours making your way through the museum with the self-guided tour.

Narrated by former sailors, the audio tour fills you in on what life was like on board the USS Midway. It's split into three sections: flight deck, hangar deck, and below deck.

If you're visiting with children, you may want to opt for the family self-guided tour led by airman Sam Rodriguez. Just make sure you bring wired headphones or earbuds for each member of your family. The tour is also available in various languages.

Hangar Deck Exhibits

Learn about the Battle of Midway — a major naval battle that took place in 1942 — with interactive displays aboard a restored fighter plane and dive bomber plane. You can also see the complexities that make up an authentic World War II R-2800 Twin Wasp engine and view the designs of other wartime aircraft.

The hangar gives you a peek into how the sailors lived as well. Go ahead and spread out on one of the bunks to feel what it was like to sleep right underneath the Flight Deck.

Flight Deck Exhibits

The four-acre Flight Deck is home to 26 restored aircraft, including jet fighters, helicopters, bombers, and other rare designs. The interactive Meatball Exhibit allows you to see exactly how the pilots were able to land on the floating base of the Midway. You can also venture through seven pilot ready rooms to imagine what it was like to discuss important projects during wartime.

At the center of the Flight Deck, you can see how the military ran the command center. If you choose to do a guided Island Tour, you'll get to see and learn about the ship's flight control sections and learn about the air operations, navigation rooms, captain's bridge, and captain's cabin.

Just below the Flight Deck, check out the command center that directed Operation Desert Storm and take a peek at the radio message center.

Below Deck Exhibits

The Below Deck exhibits allow you to imagine what daily life was like in this floating city at sea. Start with the Chow Line and Galley, where over 14,000 meals were prepared daily, before heading to the Wardroom, where the officers dined.

Visit the chapel, which shows how the multiple different faiths of the Midway's diverse crew were represented, and then head to the Sick Bay and Dental exhibits to see the state of healthcare at sea.

Don't forget to check out the engine room and main control rooms to experience what it would have been like to power the naval aircraft carrier.

Aircraft Gallery

Over 30 aircraft and helicopters are displayed at the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. See aircraft that dates back to the Battle of Midway in 1942 to the Korean and Vietnam wars to the present day.

Remembrance Wall

The air museum has a digital remembrance wall to honor fallen heroes. Here, you can submit pictures of a fallen hero. When your submission has been approved, your photo will show on the website's virtual remembrance wall.

Flight Simulators

The flight simulators at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego are guaranteed fun for all ages.

The state-of-the-art Air Combat 360 flight simulator is a battle simulation for two people. You will be in full control when you launch off from the carrier decks and into the air. As you pilot the attack, you can roll, spin, and loop the plane. All riders must be at least 48 inches tall (or 42 inches with an adult) with a maximum height of 77 inches.

You can also opt to try the Screaming Eagles experience, a virtual reality simulation of an F/18. With VR goggles and motion effects, you will really feel like you are in a battle in the sky. Riders need to be at least 42 inches tall to ride.

Battle of Midway Theater

Located on the floating Hangar Deck, the 90-seat Battle of Midway Theater features a 15-minute film that covers the story of a significant WWII naval battle. "Voices of Midway" is presented through the lens of the heroes that lived through this important battle. The film comes with your admission ticket.

Save on Your Visit to San Diego's Naval Aircraft Carrier Museum

On your next trip to San Diego, make memories that will last a lifetime. Save money by bundling admission with San Diego CityPASS® tickets. You can visit the USS Midway Museum, SeaWorld® San Diego, LEGOLAND® California Resort, and other top San Diego attractions at a large discount. With CityPASS® tickets, you can save up to 4 off the retail price for admission to each of these popular San Diego attractions.

San Diego Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in San Diego, we recommend finding lodging near San Diego's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header image Courtesy of USS Midway Museum.

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