Marine Corps Aviation Museum


Location: Miramar (15 Miles / 20 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 9AM – 3:30PM (Closed on Mondays)

Cost: Free (Donations Appreciated)

Features: Only Museum in the Country Dedicated to Marine Corps Aviation

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum Highlights: Twenty-five thousand visitors from around the world visit this facility dedicated to the history of Marine Corps Aviation each year. (Put a pin on your hometown on the maps just inside the entrance.) This is the only museum of its kind in the country. It is appropriate considering San Diego is known as the birthplace of naval aviation and continues to this day to lead the world in the development and operation of military aircraft. (To learn more about aviation in San Diego, visit the San Diego Air & Space Museum.)

There are 50 planes and helicopters in the Flying Leatherneck Museum’s collection, with 30 on display at any one time. Aircraft include the F4U Corsair, F-4 Phantom, the current F/A-18 Hornet, and even the enemy’s MiG-15. You can check out the current list of Marine Corps planes and helicopters on exhibit.

If you wonder why this is called the Flying Leatherneck Museum, the term Leatherneck refers to the high collar found on Marines Corps uniforms, which used to be made out of leather to protect soldiers in hand-to-hand combat.

The Museum is currently housed in a temporary facility. Plans have already been drawn up for a new facility, which will be able to house their collections under a roof. Meanwhile, the plane exhibits are outside. (Thus, don’t visit on the rare day it is raining). You will find exhibit plaques providing in-depth detail on each aircraft and its particular history. Typically during the summer months, you can climb up to see an open cockpit on the 2nd and 4th weekends of each month.

Inside the Museum, you will find a collection of memorabilia and videos describing various aspects of Marine Corps aviation history starting in 1912. You will see stories from WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and other conflicts. There is also a one-of-a-kind display on the history of women in the Marine Corps.

Plan on spending up to 1.5 hours at the Marine Corps Aviation Museum with time being split fairly evenly between the indoor and outdoor exhibits. There is also a Flying Leatherneck Museum gift shop for those who like military collectibles, books, videos, and posters.

Food – There is no food allowed on the premises, but there are several delis, cafes, and restaurants along Miramar Road, in both directions.

Information on Visiting the Flying Leatherneck Museum

Visitor Information: (Costs are Approximate)

  • Parking is Free
  • Entrance is Free. There is a Donation Box.

Directions from Google Maps to 8464 Miramar Road in San Diego, CA 92126. (This address is for the Peterbuilt Truck facility across the street from the Marine Corps’ Aviation Museum. The Museum is located on MCAS Miramar. There is no need to enter the military base since the museum has its own separate entrance on Miramar Road. You will see a large Flying Leatherneck Museum sign hanging on the fence next to an open gate. After you pull through the gate, you will see to the right plenty of parking and the temporary facility.)

Traffic – Traffic is relatively light during the Museum’s normal hours. If you stay in the area a little past the Museum’s closing time, you will run into heavy traffic on Miramar Road, especially driving east towards highway I-15. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)

Transit – A bus does come within a one mile walking distance east of the Marine Corps Aviation Museum. (See San Diego Transit Information for the bus schedules and information for the online Transit Planner. Use MCAS Miramar for the destination using the Transit Planner. You will have to walk past the main entrance for MCAS Miramar on Miramar Road to reach the Museum.)

Related Attraction – You may also be interested in visiting the Marine Corps Command Museum at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot next to the San Diego Airport.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Museums*, Aviation & Auto Museums, Military Museums & Presence, Miramar, Souvenirs |

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