Before museums, bards passed on the history of flight through static-filled in-flight announcements and interpretive dances on biplane wings. Take a direct flight to aerial history with today's Groupon: for $14, you get admission for two, which includes unlimited access to the motion-simulator ride, to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City (up to a $28 value).
Populated by more than 75 aerial voyagers of note, the Cradle of Aviation Museum's eight permanent exhibits thrill eyes eager to study an interactive chronology of skysploration. A suspended fleet of flying machines casts imposing shadows and realistic rabbit silhouettes across the four-story, glass visitors’ center atrium, where visitors of all ages investigate 30 hands-on displays and six open cockpits cached within the museum. Skip ahead in the nearly 150-year timeline to The Golden Age exhibit to discover how Long Island manufacturers aided the meteoric growth of international aviation. A replica 18th-century hot-air balloon wilts on its balloon vine when compared to the Mach 2+ Republic F-105B Thunderchief in The Jet Age exhibit, and a lunar module once used to train Apollo astronauts for moon landings inspires children to dream of growing up to be lunar modules. Pilots younger than 6 can cavort in the Junior Jet Club, climbing aboard plane-shaped play places and reading aloud from a kids’ library.
Appetites for flight sate their hunger with access to the X-Ride Theater, a mechanical motion simulator that matches bumping seats to video footage. Swoop, soar, and barrel roll during Fly with the Blue Angels, X-Ride Theater's visual and kinesthetic journey that mimics piloting a jet in the U.S. Navy's aerobatic squadron. Groupon holders also receive 25% off five-day Aerospace Summer Camps (up to $340) led by museum educators, who explore different science topics each week with kids age 9−12.
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Flanked by seven other aircraft, a Grumman F-11 hangs suspended in a shallow dive over the main entrance to Cradle of Aviation Museum’s four-story glass atrium. Three viewing levels on wraparound balconies afford views of the aircraft that only fellow pilots in close formation ever saw when it was in service. The 150,000-square foot facility’s eight exhibits grant similarly intimate glimpses of more than 75 aircraft and spacecrafts that trace the historic path of Long Island’s aviation contributions since 1870. Those artifacts include a replica of the Wright Brothers’ 1899 kite, five aircraft made in Long Island for World War II, and the Grumman Lunar Module LM-5 “Eagle,” which transported Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to that soundstage that looked like the moon.
Patrons also get a chance to soar skyward in the X-Ride Theater, a 30-seat motion simulator whose “Fly with the Blue Angels” film mimics the piloting of a U.S. Navy squadron jet. Over in the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium and the National Geographic Dome Theater, the immersive screens bring to life subjects such as National Geographic's Mysteries of the Unseen World. After riding the Historic Nunley's Carousel, which was built in 1912, guests can reenergize over a meal in the Red Planet Cafe, whose space station décor evokes a Martian cafeteria in the year 2040.
1 Davis Ave.
Garden City, New York 11530Get Directions