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South Dakota Air and Space Museum

Drove back into Grand Rapid for this museum that we had missed while we were there earlier this month. It's located at the Eglin Air Force base. There is a very neat outdoor display of planes from the past as well as a Titan missile and a couple of other missiles, Mim3 Nike Ajax, and a Minuteman 2. The planes were amazing as they stretched back to the late 40's and have history of what purpose they served on the story boards in front of each plane. Unfortunately the indoor portion of the museum was closed for maintenance so we were not able to check that part out.

After finishing at the museum, since we were in town, we went shopping for food at Walmart as Interior doesn't have much of a grocery store. Fueled up the truck and headed back to the rigs.

From South Dakota Air and Space Museum Website:


Located just east of Rapid City, north of Interstate 90 and outside the main gate at Ellsworth Air Force Base, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum tells the stories of not only past aviation but the future of aerospace. There are many different exhibits, one-of-a-kind artifacts and fun-filled activities that showcase the history of those who risked it all for the innovation of aviation and the science of aerospace. Admission is free. See their Facebook page for current days and hours of operation.

The South Dakota Air & Space Museum boasts an extensive collection of artifacts and documents that capture the distinguished history of Ellsworth Air Force Base, the 44th Strategic Missile Wing, and the 28th Bomb Wing throughout the Cold War. Ellsworth AFB played a crucial role in national defense during this time period with an arsenal that included bombers such as the B-29 Superfortress, B-36 Peacemaker, B-52 Stratofortress, and B-1 Lancer along with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles including the Titan I and the Minuteman. The museum includes examples of the B-29, B-52, B-1, and both the Titan I and the Minuteman. In addition, the museum offers tours of an intact Minuteman Missile Launch Facility (missile silo) that was used to train maintenance personnel from the 1960s through the 1990s. This silo, which includes an inert training missile, provides visitors a rare opportunity to go inside an underground launch facility and get a feel for what it was like during the years these powerful missiles were on alert defending the nation.

The museum also has four large inside galleries of artifacts covering the history and heritage of military and civilian aerospace achievements covering the past century. The museum itself is housed in four aircraft alert hangers in which Air Defense Command fighters sat on alert waiting to engage penetrating Soviet bombers during the height of the Cold War.

The museum is open year round (although the indoor galleries are closed during January and February) and the tours of Ellsworth AFB and the Missile Silo are offered from mid-May through mid-September. Admission to the museum is free, but there is a small charge for the bus tours to the Missile Silo.

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