Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thrifty Bay Area Fun at Hiller Aviation

This past weekend my 4yo Monkey had a play date with one of his friends. The other Mom is a teacher and is always "in the know" about cool, fun, educational places to take our kids. So while we have done play dates at our homes many times, we often get out and do different stuff also.

We went to check out Hiller Aviation Museum located in San Carlos, CA. Children 4 and under were free, so we didn't have to pay for the kids. Adults are normally $11, but there is a printable $1 off coupon on their website. However, the other Mom had purchased a Groupon so she paid for me and I drove. I am not sure what the deal was that she got since she paid for me to get in I didn't want to ask too many questions. But if I know Groupons the way I do (and believe me, I know them well) I am sure we got a great deal!

The museum was pretty cool. And it was great for our youngsters who have short attention spans. The museum covers the first 100 years of aviation. There were many models of old and new planes...all types from commercial to pleasure craft, from jet to helicopter. Everything from a simple glider from the 1800's to a Boeing spy plane from the 1980's. They had several exhibits that you could actually enter - so the boys got to sit in real pilot seats in the cockpit! There were a few things that were a little beyond them, such as the whole upstairs section with computers with flight simulation software and another video game-type thing downstairs, but there was a lot for the younger set. A whole seating area (747 seats of course) with some toys and ride-on planes for toddlers, and tables for them to enjoy their snacks.

There was an outside area that was fenced off that overlooked the San Carlos Airport. The boys ran around out there and blew off steam after eating their lunches. The museum is not that large, so the boys were inside and outside a few times, and also in the gift shop where there were a lot of tempting toys. We got a lot of cute pictures of them. I would definitely recommend it, especially if your child loves aircraft!  I can see us going back when the boys are a little older and can understand the meaning of it all a little more. We spent about 1.5 hours inside and another 30 minutes watching the boys play with the new toy planes we got them outside. It's a great place to go if you are looking for something that is not going to take up your whole day, especially if you have a child that might still nap for part of the day. It wasn't very crowded even on the weekend which was a plus as well.

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