Castle Air Museum was actually Castle Air Force Base until 1995 when it shut down operations at the end of the Cold War. Castle expanded its collection of primarily World War II-era planes and once a year they have an open cockpit day for families. We went with our buddies, the Waltons. When I was growing up there was a rumor that Russia had an atomic bomb pointed right at Castle AFB, close enough to engulf my hometown in nuclear fall out. Before I was born my mom taught school in Atwater not too far from Castle, and she always had to lead the class in those ineffectual nuclear bomb drills where students hid themselves under desks in the event of an attack. The Cold War thankfully behind us, America can now go back to being afraid of its own citizens and we can enjoy this lovely outdoor museum.
Our last name, “Castillo”, is Spanish for “castle.” Once Isobel’s princess-loving heart figures this out she will be ecstatic.
Isobel: “Which button turns on Diego?”
Touring the inside of those huge planes made me think of all the men that flew inside them, many only just out of high school and going into war. Jumping out of planes, and doing what it took to survive. Now these planes are at rest, soaking up the sun in peace while families eat their lunches in the shade of a metal wing and the shadows of history.
Kingston: “Are we taking off? Are we taking off?!” Kingston’s going to jump out of planes when he grows up, but hopefully it will be in an effort to tempt fate and make his mother pee his pants and not due to any war.
The heat in the full sun was unbearable, but in the shade of the giant planes things were much more pleasant.
Isobel: “Oh hi, Angela. I see you have delicious noms. Perhaps you would like to share your entire snowcone with me? I’d ask Justin to share but, well…”
“That seat’s taken.”
We come all this way in the hot sun to be among amazing retired aircraft and what do the kids want to do? Play in the grass. Oh, and with the rocks. Because we totally don’t have those at home.
They had bounce houses. The kids approved.
Kingston and Angela earned their adventurers’ badge by going on the helicopter tour! Someday Anthony and I would like to take Isobel.
More photos here.