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13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

72 views | By Hangar.Flights Contributor | Last updated on October 17, 2022

There is no place like New York State. From the world-famous city of New York to the vast forests and picturesque lakes in upstate, this state has something for everyone. And that includes aviation enthusiasts! If you’re looking for a great way to spend an afternoon or weekend, check out one of these thirteen aviation museums located throughout New York State.

Visiting one of the aviation museums in New York State feels like an unforgettable journey of discovery into aviation history. Long Island has the largest concentration of aviation museums in New York State due to its pedigree as the ‘Cradle of Aviation.’ Visitors can view legendary military and civilian aircraft up close inside world-class facilities. Several aviation museums in New York State host special airshows allowing guests to experience the history and theater of flight, including the exploits of acclaimed aviators such as Charles Lindbergh and Floyd Bennet, who all hail from New York State.

13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

Some museums offer brave thrill-seekers a ride in vintage planes, and their excellent gift shops have an incredible selection of souvenirs. If you are planning on visiting one of the aviation museums in New York State, then you are in for a bit of luck. This article about the best aviation museums in New York State is your guide to discovering well-preserved gems of aviation history and their location in the state of New York.

13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

1. American Airpower Museum (Farmingdale)

Explore a diverse collection of aircraft on static display inside the sprawling 35,000-square foot  (3,300 m2) American Airpower Museum hangar at the historic Republic Airport in Farmingdale. Visitors should note that most of the aircraft on display are airworthy thanks to an excellent team of volunteers, including veterans and retired Repbublic employees. Schedule your visit between the spring and summer months when the planes fly regularly and experience an exciting ride onboard a Douglas C-47B Skytrain, one of the few surviving examples that flew on D-Day during the Normandy invasion. The American Airpower Museum’s aircraft collection includes World War II-era Republic Aviation fighter planes and modern aircraft like the P-47 Thunderbolt, the Republic F-84 first generation jet fighter, Republic F-105 Thunderchief, and a Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt. Other airplanes on exhibition include General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark, Lockheed T-33A,  Grumman TBM-3E Avenger, North American B-25 Mitchell, and the Stinson 108-2 Voyager, among others. The museum is open to visitors all year long. You can book your ticket on their website, where you can view upcoming airshows or commemorative events that make the American Airpower Museum one of the most popular aviation museums in New York State.

1. American Airpower Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

2. Bayport Aerodrome (Long Island)

We consider the Bayport Aerodrome one of aviation’s best-kept secrets and an iconic landmark in Long Island’s unique aviation history. The 50-acre airfield is a time capsule with its collection of vintage open cockpit airplanes, and its 2,740 ft x 150 ft grass runway is a true-life field of dreams, the only remaining public grass landing field left on Long Island. The Aerodrome is a rural airport run and owned by the Town of Islip and is a National Historic District. At the heart of the treasure is the non-profit Bayport Aerodrome Society comprising aviation professionals and enthusiasts who offer tours and host numerous aviation-related social events on the aerodrome grounds. A tour of the living museum provides visitors a glimpse of the golden age of aviation as you watch open cockpit biplanes take off and land on the grassy airstrip. The Bayport Aerodrome is open only on weekends, and you can visit its website for more information on one of the most extraordinary aviation museums in New York State.

2. Bayport Aerodrome - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

3. Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park (Buffalo)

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, located in downtown Buffalo, New York, is America’s largest inland Naval and Military park. It is home to several Naval aircraft, including the versatile Bell UH-1H ‘Huey’ Iroquois helicopter, famous for its outstanding service during the Vietnam War. Other notable naval aircraft displayed at the museum include Marine Corps Gyrodyne X-Ron 1 one-person helicopter, an Air Force F-101 Voodoo, a Navy FJ Fury (FJ-4) fighter bomber jet, and a USAAF P-39 Airacobra fighter plane. Visitors should schedule a visit between April and November before the park closes for winter. There is an excellent gift shop sporting a great collection of memorable souvenirs.

  • Website: https://buffalonavalpark.org/
  • Open: April to Oct – daily.
  • November – Saturday, Sunday, and Black Friday
  • Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

3. Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

4. Cradle of Aviation Museum (Garden City)

Suppose you love spending long hours immersing yourself in an incredible collection of aviation artifacts. In that case, you should consider the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City on New York’s Long island. The Cradle of Civilization Museum offers an enjoyable and educational experience for adults and children, encompassing static aircraft static displays, eye-opening multimedia exhibits, and themed events. The museum complex houses the JET BLUE DOME theater, where visitors can view films that trace aviation history. A digital planetarium provides immersive and interactive audio-visual exhibits. One of the museum’s star attractions is the ‘cockpit trail,’ where visitors sit in aircraft cockpits from a different era. The museum has eight galleries with over seventy aircraft consisting of open cockpit biplanes, warbirds, jet fighters, commercial aircraft, and spacecraft. The Cradle of Civilization Museum is open to the public all year long, and we advise that you buy tickets online. Also, we recommend you stop at the gift shop with its excellent array of souvenirs and the museum cafe before leaving.

Tip: You can even make a virtual visit to the museum via Google Street View 360°!

4. Cradle of Aviation Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

5. Empire State Aerosciences Museum (Glenville)

The Empire State Aerosciences Museum ESAM in Glenville, New York one of the most enlightening aviation museums in New York State. And if you don’t mind that the exhibit’s layout looks dated and has a bit of a run-down look, it is a great place to spend quality time with your kids. Apart from its impressive collection of restored military and civilian aircraft, the museum has tons of interpretive exhibits crammed into every nook and cranny of the facility. It houses New York State’s largest aviation library. Your kids would have a swell time climbing in and out of the airplanes on static display (yes, visitors are allowed to do that) under the helpful guidance of the friendly staff and touch cockpit buttons that launch the fighter jets above Mach 2 speeds (yes they are allowed to do that too). Among the restored aircraft on display are the Northrop F-5 Tiger, a Mikoyan Guiverich MiG-15 fighter jet, and McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom I, among others. Other exhibits include the Amelia Earhart Exhibit, fragile aircraft and detailed models, aviation memorabilia, and photographs. Public access to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum depends on the time of the year, and it is best to visit the museum’s website to confirm the precise opening days.

  • Website: https://www.esam.org/
  • Open: Spring/Summer
  • Tuesday to Sunday
  • Fall/Winter
  • Friday to Sunday
  • Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

5. Empire State Aerosciences Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

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6. Glenn H. Curtiss Museum (Hammondsport)

About a mile south of the idyllic village of Hammondsport in New York is a hidden gem dedicated to preserving the history of early aviation. The Glen H. Curtiss Museum is a 60,000-square-foot museum dedicated to the exploits of New York State’s pioneer aviator and airplane manufacturer whom the facility is named after. The museum has a priceless collection of vintage aircraft and aircraft engines and is a must-visit destination for aviation purists. Among the over twenty aircraft on static display include the JN-4D Jenny biplane,  a Curtiss Model MF ‘seagull,’ Curtiss Model E “America” flying boat, reproductions of the AEA June Bug, and Curtiss Model D . Visitors can also observe the museum varied collection of vintage automobiles, wooden boats, bicycles, antique fire-fighting equipment, and speak with volunteers working on aircraft restoration. The Glen H. Curtiss Museum is among the few aviation museums in New York State that are open to the public all year round. Interested visitors should visit the museum’s website for more information.

6. Glenn H. Curtiss Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

7. Grumman Memorial Park (Calverton)

Hardcore fighter plane nerds and wannabe Top Gun pilots would love the Grumman Memorial Park located on the site of the former Grumman Aerospace Flight Test Facility (Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant) in Calverton, New York. With support from local businesses, Grumman Aerospace employees raised funds to purchase land near the old Iron Works. They built the museum to celebrate and preserve Grumman’s proud legacy of producing exceptional military aircraft and the aerospace technology that landed men on the moon. No doubt visitors will be awe-struck viewing the museum’s star attractions and cold-war warriors, an F-14A Tomcat, and the A-6E Intruder on static display on the well-manicured facility grounds. Visitors strolling along the Walk of Honor can view the marble memorial plaques from families of former Grumman employees detailing their loved ones’ essential contributions to the various aviation and aerospace programs. They can take pictures on the patch of the former World War II runway, complete with landing lights and a mock-up of the F-14 Tomcat’s AIM-54A Phoenix air-to-air missile. The museum is open to visitors throughout the year, and you can visit its website for more information.

7. Grumman Memorial Park - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

8. Historic Aircraft Restoration Project – HARP (Brooklyn)

If aircraft restoration is your thing, the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project (HARP) should be on your must-visit checklist. Located at Hangar B at Gateway National Recreation Area of Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, the museum comprises mainly volunteers attempting to restore, research, and preserve America’s incredible aviation history. Visitors experience the sights and sounds and what an operational airplane hangar felt like during the 1950s and 1960s. The volunteers act as tour guides and are often ex-military or civilian pilots and mechanics with decades of experience. The Historic Aircraft Restoration Project is open to the general public throughout the year, and visitors can visit the museum website for more information on opening days.

8. Historic Aircraft Restoration Project - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

9. Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum (New York)

You may be surprised by the addition of a naval museum to our list of must-visit aviation museums in New York State. But the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum’s collection of iconic supersonic aircraft, which includes a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12 Blackbird, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, is a worthy inclusion. Visitors to the floating museum, which reopened in 2008 after a lengthy renovation, can explore significant exhibitions and programs on display at this National Historic Landmark. These include the Exploreum Hall, an 18,000 sq. ft interactive exhibition area and education center where guests can land a space shuttle and sit at the controls of a real Bell 47 helicopter. A selection of military aircraft are on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, including the North American F-1C Fury, General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon, Bell AH-1J Sea Cobra, North American F-1C Fury, and the Douglas XBT2D-1 Dauntless II. The museum is open all year round, and the on-site gift has a lot of interesting souvenirs.

  • Website: https://www.intrepidmuseum.org/
  • Open: Monday to Sunday and on holidays.
  • Hours: Monday to Friday – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays – 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

10. National Soaring Museum (Elmira)

Explore the heritage of non-powered flight at the National Soaring Museum on top of Harris Hill in Elmira, New York. It features one of the most extensive collections of vintage gliders and historical sailplanes under a single roof. Besides watching the several sailplanes and gliders on display, visitors can purchase a 20-minute sailplane flight at the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation Flight Center. Other notable exhibits include soaring trophies, photos, and other sailing memorabilia. The National Soaring Museum also administers the National Landmark of Soaring program, which identifies and documents events, individuals, and sites of significant historical importance to soaring. Your kids can come along for the trip and enjoy the museum facilities, including a large playground, swimming pool, amusement park, and picnic area. The National Soaring Museum is open throughout the year, and a website provides more information.

10. National Soaring Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

11. National Warplane Museum (Geneseo)

Dedicated to celebrating the lore of American World War II fighter planes, the National Warplane Museum inside the Genesco Airport in Genesco, New York, is a holy destination for warbird lovers and one of the most visited aviation museums in New York State. The museum’s entire aircraft collection, exhibits, and film shows celebrate United States service members and their families for their sacrifice and devotion to the American flag. Visitors get a chance to learn about wartime military equipment and tactics, giving them a whole new perspective on the part of history rarely seen outside of military circles. They view, touch, and climb inside the large collection of restored WW2 and Korean war aircraft on display inside the museum’s hangar. There are flight opportunities for visitors who desire a ride in one of the historic aircraft. Its annual Geneseo Airshow, “Greatest  Show On Turf,” draws spectators and warbird owners from around the globe. Opening hours vary, so visit the museum’s website for more information.

11. National Warplane Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

12. Niagara Aerospace Museum (Niagara)

The Niagara Aerospace Museum is one of the more intriguing aviation museums in New York State despite its uncertain history. Now located inside the old terminal building of the Niagara Falls International Airport, New York. The museum has a collection of mostly Bell and Curtiss-Wright aircraft on display.

12. Niagara Aerospace Museum - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State

13. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (Red Hook)

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome provides a fun-filled day out for the family if your idea of having a great time is watching aircraft from World War I and the Golden Age of Aviation flying in their natural environment. The living museum, located in Rhinebeck, New York, offers Air Shows, aircraft displays, aviation exhibits, and open cockpit biplane rides. Its collection of eighty vintage Pioneer, World War I, and post-War airplanes, and taking a ride in one of their biplanes is worth every dime.  Also, visitors watch the old plane flying exhibit, where several biplanes take to the air to perform daredevil stunts and view tons of historic aviation memorabilia. The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has many activities to satisfy a die-hard antique airplane enthusiast. You can visit their website for updates on the days and times of their numerous annual airshows.

13. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome - 13 Must-Visit Aviation Museums in New York State