When I mentioned we were planning a visit the Alberta Aviation Museum to several friends, no one seemed to know what I was talking about. “You mean the one in Wetaskiwin?” Nope. We have our own Aviation museum right here in Edmonton and it’s pretty fantastic! I feel like this hidden local gem really doesn’t get the credit it deserves and would love to see more people pay it a visit.
The Alberta Aviation Museum is located in downtown Edmonton at the historic Blatchford field. You may have noticed the planes perched high up on the posts along Kinsgway Drive, but I am not sure most people realize the historic significance of this old airport. The Alberta Aviation Museum is a collection of amazing vintage planes and memorabilia housed in the only double-long, double-wide hangar of its type left. The hangar was built by the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was once the gathering place for the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to train pilots, navigators, and other aircrew to support the Allied war effort.
The Alberta Aviation Museum lets you explore the evolution of flight in Alberta with everything from bush planes to bombers, jets and more! There are many beautifully restored planes throughout the space, as well as a work space full of others currently undergoing restoration. For the curious, you are even invited to ask a museum interpreter for a behind the scenes tour of the workshop. Much of the museum is ran by dedicated volunteers who are happy to speak about these labours of love, and share their passion for planes.
During our visit, there was a lot to take in and learn, with many interactive features throughout. I particularly loved the attention to detail and the way they set the scene with rich landscapes around each featured plane. My husband is a big WWII war buff so he enjoyed reading the history and the kids had fun exploring the space and checking out some of the interactive features like the flight simulators. There was something to keep everyone happy and engaged throughout.
Discovery Backpack Program
For added fun on your visit to the Alberta Aviation Museum, consider renting one of their Discovery Backpacks. For $5, this kit comes filled with fun materials and ideas to occupy the kids and enhance your visit. There were several wipe-off activity cards with markers, building blocks to create your own plane, and a take-home notepad and crayons for doodling and making your own paper airplanes. Each backpack comes sanitized, and customizable to your child’s experience and/or school curriculum needs. They are best designed for ages 4-10, but my 9 and 12 year old still enjoyed many of the activities inside.
My kids also got a kick out of the interactive questions posted around the museum. There were post-its available to write and leave your own answers. There were also a few tables set-up throughout the space with coloring pages and materials to keep the little hands busy.
We had a great afternoon at the Alberta Aviation Museum. The kids really enjoyed working through the scavenger hunt and testing their flying skills on the flight simulators. SPOILER it is much harder to get a virtual plane off the ground then one would think! There is so much great stuff tucked away in this unassuming hangar building, and we were happy we took the time to stop in and learn a little more about Alberta’s rich aviation history.
The Alberta Aviation Museum:
Winter Hours of Operation | September to May:
Tuesday to Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Summer Hours of Operation | June to August:
Open 7 Days a Week: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Alberta Aviation Museum
Address: 11410 Kingsway NW, Edmonton