Must-See in Ohio: Armstrong Air & Space Museum

Armstrong Air & Space Museum, Ohio© 2009 Ohio Historical SocietyA half-buried dome and outstretched wings housing galleries beckon visitors to a museum honoring the first man on the moon.

500 S. Apollo Dr., Wapakoneta, Ohio

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” claimed the first man to set foot on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong. Armstrong’s own first steps were taken in Wapakoneta, his childhood home, where this museum was established in his honor.

The museum building is a domed structure, half buried in a grassy mound, with two wings for galleries. The upper floor contains the Infinity Room, an 18-foot cube, where one walks between ingeniously positioned rows of mirrors that reflect each other, oneself, and moving lights in numerous planes. In the Astro Theater, pinpoints of revolving lights are thrown against the roof and walls. Both rooms seek to create a sense of being in infinite space. Also of note are the two landing simulators designed to test your skills and see if you have what it takes for space travel.

One of the most fascinating items found here is a genuine Gemini VIII spacecraft, with an open doorway that reveals the interior: This was the world’s first docking satellite, flown by Armstrong and Maj. David Scott in March 1966. Another display includes the many honors bestowed upon the astronauts, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On display outside the museum is an F5D Skylancer, an airplane that Neil Armstrong flew as a test pilot.

Open year-round. Closed Mon. and major holidays. Admission charged.

(800) 860-0142; (419) 738-8811

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