Lego Robotics and an Airforce Boneyard – A Visit to Pima Air & Space Museum

I was looking for a Throwback Thursday post and came across this one from our visit to 
Pima Air and Space Museum from a couple of years ago. 
This was a terrific spot for a family visit. 
In fact, I think I’ll add it to our list for a return visit!

There is not much our grandson loves more than dinosaurs, except perhaps robots. Better yet is programming robots so when we were planning our recent visit to Tucson, and I saw that Pima Air & Space Museum offers Lego Robotics workshops once a month I knew this spot needed to be on our itinerary.

Unfortunately, the phone number listed for registration was incorrect. But I was determined. I decided to take a chance and send a Facebook message to Pima’s page. They quickly responded with their education coordinator’s email address and I was able to connect with her. Good thing too since there was a waiting list by the time we arrived in the area.
F4 – Phantom

Since the workshop was in the afternoon, we decided to make a whole day of it and arrived at Pima in the morning. It’s an easy drive from Tucson, even the far north end where we were staying. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly front desk staff who helped us out with our purchase of the Tucson Attractions Savings Passport. This little booklet is full of information and discounts that you can use while visiting Southern Arizona. We used ours right away at Pima and saved $15.50 with their 2-for-1 deal. It almost covered the $20 price of the book, and we knew we would be using it more than once during our stay. I highly recommend it. (Note: I checked the website and this pass is now $24, still a very good price.)
We were amazed at all of the planes in the main hangar. There are a great variety of different eras represented, including my personal favorite, the Wright Flyer. The boy favored the helicopters and managed to run through a set of camera batteries on them.
My favourite photographer at work
Huey – Bell UH-1 Iroquois

After checking out the planes in the main hanger, we decided to find the Space Gallery. This building houses a ton of information and items from the Space Race. You will also find the Angel Education Station where kids can learn about the space program while having fun at the interactive centres. The museum also offers some great educator resources, including a fun student activity book. As a homeschooler, I appreciate being able to access lesson plans that help enrich our visits.

How does this engine run?
Budding astronaut

We had just enough time to get through the exhibits before the workshop began. I have to tell you from the look on the boy’s face when he was finished; the afternoon was a hit. He had a terrific time and wanted to go back and do another one. He said the 90-minutes went by too fast as he learned about robots and even got to program a Lego Mindstorm NXT robot to do what he told it to! This experience was the highlight of his day.

Since it was getting late and we wanted to see the outdoor planes, we took the tram tour of the museum yard. We weren’t able to do the boneyard as it is on the base and only runs during the week but the one we chose was long enough for the 8-year-old who had been busy all day. The tram drivers are great and share stories about most of the equipment in the yard.
Aero Spacelines Super Guppy – the boy was amazed at the giant tank on its back
Another view of the Super Guppy

We had a terrific day and learned a lot during our visit, and we didn’t even make it to all of the buildings. This museum is certainly on our list for our next visit to the area.

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