Evergreen Aviation & Space
An amazing collection with some unique
The impressive exterior of
the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR
Sometimes in life one finds
some of one's best experiences in the most unexpected places and
Perhaps the same can be said of
the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Almost literally in
the middle of nowhere (McMinnville has a population of 32,000 and
is an hour's drive from Portland) you will find an impressive
museum structure housing almost 100 airplanes and helicopters,
plus space capsules, rocket engines, missiles, and much more.
The piece de resistance is
undoubtedly the Spruce Goose - the gargantuan wooden airplane
designed and built by Howard Hughes in the 1940s.
Outside of Seattle - Still More
The parts of this series so far have concentrated on aviation
themed tourist attractions relatively close to Seattle city.
However, there are of course very many other aviation
attractions, the further afield you travel. We briefly discuss
some of these on the next page of this series, but one museum
stands out, head and shoulders above the rest, and demands its
own page - the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville,
Please click through the other pages in this series for
information on the aviation related places you can go and the
things you can see in the greater Seattle and Puget Sound area,
and read the additional material below about how best to plan
your aviation themed activities in the greater Puget Sound area.
0. Aviation Themed Attractions in the Seattle Area -
1. Museum of Flight, Seattle
2. Boeing Factory Tour & Future of Flight, Everett
3. Flying Heritage Collection, Everett
4. Historic Flight Foundation, Everett
5. Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Everett
6. Heritage Flight Museum, Bellingham
7. Fly in a glider/sailplane/balloon
8. Special Events
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR
10. Other Regional
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR
This museum is a long way from Seattle - indeed, it is an hour
southwest of Portland, OR, so that makes it 4+ hours away from
But it is such an extraordinary museum that it is worthy of
mention, even if you don't visit it while in Seattle and choose
to make a separate trip on another occasion.
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum has an absolutely
extraordinary collection of airplanes, space craft, and other
For example, when it comes to fighter planes, the museum has
planes dating back to the classic World War 1 fighters - the
Sopwith Camel and the Fokker Dr.1 triplane, then spanning the
WW2 era, Korea, Vietnam, and all the way to modern planes such
as the F-14D Tomcat and F-15A Eagle, plus a MiG-29.
A GTD-21 drone in front of the SR-71
with other planes and exhibits filling up
the remainder of the space.
It has other rare and notable planes such a a B-17G Flying
Fortress, a DC-3 (C-47), a SR-71A Blackbird, and - drum roll
please, the Spruce Goose.
You can get a sense of the enormity of
the size of the Spruce Goose when you see
the small WW1 biplane in front of it.
It has other commercial planes too, even a 747-100. At the
other end of the scale, the museum has kit-planes that people
can build at home, and even a lovely Schweizer SGS 2-32 glider,
as well as a collection of helicopters.
Some of the planes are loaners from other collections, so there
is an occasional rotation of planes in and out of the museum as
well (ie a reason to return from time to time).
If you prefer space, then there are Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
capsules, as well as various rocket engines and unmanned
satellites and other objects (some of which are replicas).
I was pleased to see a British Sten gun
and a beautifully preserved Short Magazine
Lee Enfield as part of their firearms
There is also a 4,000 sq ft area devoted to firearms, and all
manner of what they call 'incidental exhibits' ranging from
tanks to vintage cars and aircraft engines and other bits and
An unclear link to aviation, but many
aviation museums seem to end up with some
armored vehicles too, as is the case with
the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.
And when you're done looking at static exhibits, you can visit
their Imax 3D theatre to watch one of several different aviation
themed movies on rotation.
Soon to open is a 'nonprofit educational waterpark' - three
words seldom seen strung together. It will have four
waterslides, a wave pool, and a children's museum designed to
educate them about the power of water. An interesting and
novel addition to an aviation/aerospace museum, for sure.
Artist's impression of the new building
for the waterpark, complete with a 747-100
mounted on the roof of the building!
The museum was founded by Delford Smith, and in large part honors
his son, Michael King Smith, who died in a car accident in 1995. Delford Smith founded Evergreen International Aviation more than
40 years, a company that has grown to be a very large air
freight and air services provider, located immediately adjacent
on the other side of the road, also at McMinnville Airport.
You can enjoy the museum at your own pace, or take a guided tour
at 11am and 1.30pm; these last about an hour or slightly longer.
There are two cafes and also two gift shops.
The museum is open daily, from 9am - 5pm. Admission is
$20, with discounts for seniors, children, and AAA members.
For full details,
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25 March 2011, last update
21 Jul 2020
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