Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum was built in a hangar of the old Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.
It houses military and civilian jets, airplanes, models, space capsules, flight simulators, and loads of regalia.
I’m 30 and was immediately transformed into a 10 year old on arrival. With echos of Kenny Loggins in my head I drooled over the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet greeting us at the entrance. Also noteworthy were the massive B-1A Lancer, an F-4 Phantom, a B-17 Flying Fortress, and of course a big ‘ol B-52 parked at the entrance outside.
There's a distinct feeling of nostalgia and loss, as the fighter jet era is eclipsed by drones, satellites, and long range missiles. It's conflicting to glorify these killing machines, but there is no disputing that they are the epitome of cool.
The end of the hangar was all windows, casting beautiful light on the otherwise fairly cluttered collection of aircraft. The place can be rented for private parties and even weddings, giving access to cockpits and simulators for such circumstances. There was a gala of some sort the night before, so all of the aircraft were shoved to each side of the hangar.
Space-wise there were a Dream Chaser shuttle, an Apollo capsule, an X-Wing Starfighter (that’s right) and a large arcade of free and fun space flight simulators for kids. I took my mom on a moon buggy cruise and we had a blast. More advanced full-motion flight simulators were also available, but we weren’t able to get any seat time.
The museum is at the core of the now Lowry neighborhood, which represents urban renewal par-excellence. Lowry was once a massive Air Force base, and all of its hangars, barracks, and facilities have been converted to storefronts, housing, offices, and restaurants. It’s really a beautiful and unique neighborhood that is worth a drive through for anyone visiting Denver. The lobster tacos at North County, a restaurant right next to the museum, are killer!