Re-living Transportation History at the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation

I’m usually the planner of the family. I coordinate our meals, activities, adventures, and everything in between. But earlier this spring, my husband took over the planning and found a place to explore. I must admit, I wasn’t too crazy about his idea. I wasn’t sure if the girls would enjoy it (or me, to be honest-I’m not a history lover), but I was proven wrong.

The trip’s coordinator enjoyed teaching the girls about history. I must admit, I learned quite a bit too!

The Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation was a great place to spend a couple hours as a family. The 30,000 square foot building, located next to the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa, was filled with unique artifacts and exhibits that share the rich history of aviation and transportation.

Exhibits from the Civil War, WWI, and WWII were fascinating. My hubby knows history and could help fill in the gaps for the rest of us. It’s one thing to learn about these events in school, but seeing photos and artifacts up close puts things into perspective.

This museum was more than just artifacts though. Vintage and antique cars, bikes, and planes were all on display. We all had different favorites. I found the hand-carved, horse-drawn hearse very fascinating. And, the DeLorean brought back memories of watching Back to the Future with my dad.

I was super excited to see this car! It’s the little things, right??

My girls liked taking turns as pilot in a Graflight experimental airplane. They had so many questions that sparked great conversations. We all learned something new while wondering through the museum. After seeing all the airplanes though, the girls been asking when we can take a trip on a real plane!

This trip’s coordinator likes these sorts of places in general. Cars, planes, and history are his ‘thing.’ His eyes lit up when looking over the Vietnam Huey helicopter and other military vehicles. I think he also enjoyed being the ‘expert’ on our tour and helping all his girls learn more about history.

The girls loved the hands-on exhibits. Especially when they got to be co-pilots!

The United Flight 232 exhibit shared information about the July 19, 1989 plane crash that occurred at the Sioux Gateway airport, claiming the lives of 112 people. Miraculously, 184 people survived this tragedy. Although I was a small child when this crash occurred, I remember hearing about it throughout my life. It was an eerie yet amazing exhibit to see. Before we left the museum grounds, we were able to stand on the very runway where the crash took place all those years ago. The quick reaction and amount of emergency personnel involved with this incident was astounding.

The United Flight 232 exhibit grabbed my attention. It was amazing to see how small town Iowa pulled together at such a difficult time.

Before we left, we checked out a few planes in the outside aircraft collection. While we didn’t go in them, it was fun to be that up, close, and personal with larger planes. A Boeing 727 FedEx package delivery plane is also connected to the museum via an airport passenger jetway. The plane is currently being renovated into a learning center, with hopes to be open in the fall. I’m sure it will be packed with fun facts and activities for the whole family.

So, if you are looking for a little something to do, check out the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation. You are sure to find something unique, fascinating, or educational no matter your age.

These helicopters are huge! It was another fun photo op for the girls!

To find visitor information, check out the museum’s website:


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