Half inside and half outside, our trip to the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley was the whole package. Of course, we did the outside part first while it was raining (you know, in case it rained harder later) and by the time we were done and heading inside the sun came out. Bad timing. But hey, a little rain never hurt anyone. Here are my top 5 reasons for spending the morning at this Langley gem.
1 – Tons of airplanes!
The museum has beautifully restored planes, some of them quite old. LM’s favorite was the Handley Page Hampden. Built in 1942, it only flew for 100 hours before crashing during torpedo dropping practice. Don’t worry, the whole crew survived the crash. My favorite was the beautiful little wood Nelson BB-1 Dragonfly. Built in 1947, the Dragonfly was not a remarkably successful endeavor – the wood panelling made it look good but difficult and costly to build.
2 – Lots of room to social distance.
With half the museum outdoors, there is a lot of space to keep away from people not in your family bubble. Likewise, museum staff have done a great job keeping foot traffic moving one way throughout the facility. There is plenty of hand sanitizer on hand too, in case you forgot yours. Note that masks are mandatory, even while you are in the outdoor portion of the museum.
3 – Friendly staff.
The front desk staff were super welcoming and happy to see us. The person walked around from behind the counter, while keeping her distance, to show us the way around the museum. I love that; a real sign of great customer service. When we were finished with our self guided visit, we were shown where things were located in the gift shop, including the “t section” which was pointed out quietly in case we weren’t interested or able to purchase a toy for LM. I thought this was incredibly sensitive and kind. Growing up in a refugee household, we rarely had money for things in gift shops, and I know it was hard on my mom.
4 – That said… Fantastic gift shop.
If you asked LM what his favorite part of the field trip was, he will likely say GIFT SHOP! The kid loves to shop. The gift shop is small but well stocked with airplane toys, hats, pins, hoodies, models, and more. For the real airplane buffs, there is a huge selection of second-hand, extremely affordable airplane books; I’m talking like $1 and $5 books here! We left with a light up airplane ($15) and a paper sling-shot plane (75 cents). My step-dad left with about 15 used books; my mom had to help him carry them out to the car.
5 – Planes taking off! The building is right next to the Langley airport and includes a little “backyard” where you can stand atop a small staircase by the fence that gives you a perfect view of the runway. We stood there for a good 45 minutes, watching little planes take off and land. Nothing beats seeing the real thing in action.
The Canadian Museum of Flight
The Canadian Museum of Flight, located at Hangar # 3 – 5333 216th Street in Langley, B.C., is open Wednesday to Saturday (10am-4pm) and Sunday (12pm-5pm). You have to pre-book your visit by calling 604-532-0035. Admission for adults is $10, youth (6-15 yrs) and seniors (60+ yrs) are $7, and kids under six are freeeeeee. You pay when you arrive. For more info, visit www.canadianflight.org.
What’s on your local adventure list?