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: http://www.midamericaairmuseum.org/.

 

Night on the Town

Date night in Sioux City, Iowa
Date night in Sioux City, Iowa

We lucked out on this date! We rarely plan ahead, and this was no exception. We got a sitter a week in advance, knowing we needed an evening to ourselves. By the middle of the week we didn’t know what we were going to do. Ideas were thrown out in between getting supper on the table and tucking kids into bed, but no decisions were made. Then the sitter (a wonderful family friend) gave us a gift. She offered to keep our kiddos at her house overnight. What luck! We graciously accepted and started to think of what we would do with the extra time. By Friday morning, less than 12 hours to our alone time, we developed a plan. We decided to go to Sioux City, Iowa. I know this may not be considered a small town, but there is definitely some small town charm in this city.

Our date started on an hour-long drive. At that point, I honestly didn’t care where we were going or how long it took, I was just happy to be alone with my guy! After stopping at a couple of stores to pick up a few things, we headed toward the Historic 4th Street District. If you haven’t made it past the mall and shopping in Sioux City, you must head downtown! The older buildings are well-kept and have stunning architecture. We took a little stroll to check out the eateries before stopping at SoHo Kitchen and Bar. Check them out on Facebook  here. They had a variety of fun items on the menu. We shared an appetizer and the Bacon, Mac & Cheese Burger with Sweet Potato Fries (calories don’t count when you share, right?) in hopes of making it to the dessert round. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for the giant warm chocolate chip cookie I had my eye on!

The food was great, and the company was even better. We were able to catch up and have much-needed adult conversation. We weren’t ready to call it a night yet, so we walked hand-in-hand down 4th Street as the sun started to set. I had to sneak a little romance in there somewhere! There were beautiful murals on the buildings as well as some great garden areas. Theaters, specialty shops, restaurants, and bars lined the streets. Downtown Sioux City is also the home to the Sioux City Art Center and the Sioux City Public Museum, which both offer free admission. They are definitely places I’d like to visit in the future.

After our stroll, we tried our luck at the newly built Hard Rock Casino. Truth be told, we aren’t much for gambling, but doing something different was on our agenda. We watched others win (and lose) money and checked out the music memorabilia. The energy was catching, but we decided to head home and keep our money in our pockets.

The hour drive home after a fun-packed night was well worth it. Being able to sleep in the next day without an early morning wake-up call from our kiddos was an added bonus. We picked up our girls from what they called ‘a vacation’ and went about our normal weekend activities. Our first date night of the summer was a success. I am already looking forward to the next one!