Day Trip: Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum- McMinnville

By Emy Sloan


The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum is a must see for aircraft and space enthusiasts of all ages!

Located in McMinnville, Oregon, this exceptional museum consists of two large buildings chock-full of airplanes and spacecraft, an IMAX theater, an impressive outdoor playground and most importantly is home to the famous Spruce Goose- the world’s largest aircraft!

Co-founded by Captain Michael King Smith, this museum lives on in his memory by honoring his lifelong dream- to create a space rich in aviation history that honors the service of our veterans and provides educational programs in aviation. With over 150 aircraft/spacecraft exhibits, countless artifacts and other attractions the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum does just that.


At first I was a little nervous that my kids (3-year-old twins) were too young to enjoy this place. Boy, was I wrong.

The excitement began as soon as the museum came into view. There were uncontrollable shouts of “Airplanes!! Airplanes momma!!” and “There’s an airplane on that house!?” (referring to the Boeing 747 that sits atop Evergreen’s Wings & Waves Waterpark next to the museum.)

They had no idea what was in store for them. Honestly, either did I!


We entered the aviation museum first.

It was just beautiful, an amazing collection of planes and artifacts from all different eras. So much history. The kids and I enjoyed walking around, looking at each one. I was surprised with how many questions they had. I was also very surprised that they never once tried to go over the ropes and touch things that they shouldn’t touch.


The main attraction, of course, was the massive Hughes H-4 Hercules- also known as the Spruce Goose!

Wow. We were all blown away!

This gigantic ‘flying boat’ was produced by Howard Hughes in 1947. It is the largest aircraft in the world with the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history! It almost fills the entire building!!

We were able to walk up and take a peek inside. So cool.

(For an extra charge the museum offers tours of the cockpit.)


There is a children’s play area in this building as well.

This area is full of fun and interactive things to do, including rolling planes to ride along a mini runway and mini helicopter & plane models to climb around in! From here you can take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor to explore even more fun exhibits.



After spending so much time in the aviation building, we didn’t get to have a chance to fully explore the space museum.

We DID however take advantage of the Biplane ride in the space building (which is included with admission!) We were the only ones there so the kids were able to ride for a really long time.



Next we had to check out the awesome aviation playground.

This super unique playground is free and open to the public. There are helicopter and space shuttle climbing structures, a teeter-totter, swings, slides, tunnels and so much more!



When it was all said and done the kids were exhausted. (So was I!) We ate some lunch in the car on the way home and needless to say they passed out immediately afterwards. They slept all the way to Salem!

Here’s a fun fact: We were able to enter this museum for FREE with our Gilbert House membership! Yet another great reason to get one. Read more about the Gilbert House Children’s Museum here:

It was an enormous success. We had an incredible experience and will definitely be back!!



500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, OR 97128

For more information:

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