Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is an Aviation Buffs Dream Destination

One of the best aviation museums in the country. Featuring The Howard Hughes built “Spruce Goose” and a SR-71 Blackbird.

If you haven’t heard by now, let me break the news. The “Spruce Goose” has landed in Oregon.

The Spruce Goose is a gigantic wooden airplane. It was built by Howard Hughes during World War II at a cost of $23 million dollars. That equates to close to $300 million in today’s dollars.


Evergreen Aviation ImageClemens Vaster137/Wikimedia Commons

The plane is the museums main attraction and shares its space with a multitude of other aviation exhibits.

The Hughes H-4 Hercules, better known as the Spruce Goose is housed in a huge exhibit hall at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum located in McMinnville, Oregon. The winning bid for this plane happened in 1991. It was a big win for the Evergreen Museum and Oregon aviation buffs. But it didn’t come without a price. Part of the deal to secure this aircraft was that a new exhibit hall had to be constructed specifically for the plane. It took ten years for the exhibit hall to be completed. In 2001 and the plane was finally able to be moved to its new home.

If you’ve never seen the Spruce Goose in person, believe me, pictures and film reels don’t give a true impression of how massive this airplane is. Its size dwarfs the rest of the items on display in the same building. The layout of this massive building takes into account the planes size. Care was taken to insure it didn’t cause a distraction to the rest of the exhibits.

One nice feature is that you can actually enter the aircraft for a close-up view of the fuselage.

If you have the money and want to expand your tour of the Spruce Goose, you can take a special tour of the flight deck. This tour gives you the opportunity to sit in the pilots seat. To some, this would be the thrill of a lifetime. But to put it mildly, the extra expense is reserved for those who can most afford it.

Spruce Goose imageClemens Vaster/Wikimedia Commons

A couple of side notes about the Spruce Goose:

  • Due to Government wartime restrictions on steel and aluminum, most of the plane was built out of wood. Which is why it was dubbed a flying boat.
  • The plane is made almost entirely out of birch, not spruce. I’m not sure how it became known as the “spruce” goose other than it rhymes and probably made for better press.

The museum building is staffed with volunteers. Some are experienced pilots who actually flew the types of aircraft on display. If you’re fortunate, you may get the opportunity to talk with one of these volunteers and have them bend your ear with a personal story or two.

The museum is designed as a complex comprised of three large buildings. The buildings house more than 200 exhibits of vintage and historic aircraft. Included are both civilian and military helicopters, airplanes and spacecraft. An Imax 3D theater is also part of the complex.

The second building houses the space flight exhibits with a Titan II missile and SR-71 “Blackbird” as its main attraction. The Blackbird is a long-range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

SR-71 Blackbird imageJames Gordon/Wikimedia Commons

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum’s huge display, and the ability to get an up-close look at these historically significant items makes for a memorable outing.

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is an excellent destination for your next or future travel adventure. 

Find out more about the Evergreen Museum and the Spruce Goose below:

Evergreen Museum

Watch a video of the Spruce Goose’s historic first and only flight as well as its move from California to Oregon.


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