Peterson Air & Space Museum is located inside Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The admission is free but if you do not possess a DoD ID Card you will need to request a visitor’s pass at least one day in advance.
The museum’s history began in 1982 as the NORAD Visitor Center located in the former passenger terminal was built in 1941 for the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. This Art Deco structure currently houses the Museum store, theater, and various aviation exhibits.
A visit to the 1928 City Hangar, the oldest structure in the museum complex, takes you back in time to the Cold War with the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center exhibit, Peacekeeper ICBM shroud and an authentic underground launch control center simulator used to train missile combat crews. It also houses a beautifully restored WW2 Republic P-47N Thunderbolt “Wild Hair” fighter-interceptor aircraft.
The majority of the museum’s aircraft are on display in the Air Park in between the historic terminal, old City Hangar and the Broadmoor Hangar which, after a restoration, will provide additional exhibit space. When walking clockwise from the terminal you first encounter the first generation of USAF fighter/interceptors: North American F-86L Sabre, Northrop F-89J Scorpion and Lockheed F-94C Starfire.
Continuing around the path, you will see the Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star and Martin EB-57E Canberra, arriving eventually at the Lockheed EC-121T Warning Star, the largest aircraft in the museum. I highly encourage you to take part in a docent-led tour to see it inside and listen how a fleet of such flying radar stations kept America safe during the Cold War by continuously tracking enemy aircraft movements and directing fighters to intercept if needed.
Next on the path are three Canadian aircraft: Avro CF-100 Canuck, McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo and McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet. The final aircraft in the Air Park are the McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle, Convair F-106A Delta Dart and McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom. You can also walk or drive to see additional aircraft scattered around the base. This includes a Convair F-102A Delta Dagger, Curtiss P-40E Warhawk replica, Lockheed F-104C Starfighter and McDonnell F-101B Voodoo.
If you have more time to spare you could also visit the nearby National Museum of World War II Aviation or stop for a quick bite at The Airplane Restaurant inside of a former Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter.