We celebrated D-Day by visiting the Fagen Fighters World War II Museum in Granite Falls, MN. Now I realize that my boys aren’t old enough to understand the significance of WWII, nor the sacrifices and bravery of our veterans, but they are old enough to start thinking about ideas that are bigger than themselves. So, here we are.
Right off the bat, the boys were wonderfully excited by Sparky, the Airport Dog. I don’t know anything about Sparky other than that his name was printed on his tag and he was at the airport, but he seemed really relaxed there, so I assume he belonged. He was nice enough to let us all pet on him when we arrived.
The Museum is located at the active Granite Falls airport, located just south of the city of Granite Falls. I don’t think that you can land here unless you have a private plane.
The boys were floored when a private plane actually did land right in front of them.
The Museum is comprised of two hangers. It is open from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and is closed on Sundays and national holidays. Although it is free to get in, a $10 donation is appreciated.
I think that this is the best place to locate a fire extinguisher – right next to a bomb. Makes sense.
M-16 “Half Track”:
GMC CCXWX “Deuce”:
Waco CG-4A Combat Glider, with external skin detached for structural view:
Piper L-4 “Grasshopper”:
Ryan PT-22, with boys at attention:
Another view of the M-16 “Half Track”:
Apparently this is how you stand next to da bomb, yo:
Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet, the boys and their grandfather:
P-51D “Sweet Revenge”:
The art work on the walls surrounding the aircraft is very realistic.
P-40E “Dessert Shark”:
There was something about the shark teeth that made Thing1 and Thing2 act very oddly. Boys are boys. There’s just no getting around it.
P-51D “Twilight Tear”:
Ever wondered what the machine gun ammunition feed looks like in a wing? I can see where these would get jammed easily…like in most war-movies I’ve seen. So many moving parts….
P-38J “Rough Stuff”:
WC54 Dodge Ambulance:
The League of Extraordinary Goofballs:
The storming of Utah Beach, Normandy, France:
The sand for this display was actually sent from Utah Beach.
Thing1 saw this radio transmitter and asked me why they didn’t just use satellites back then. That’s a great question from a seven year old. My father attempted to explain the lack of satellites at that time in history.
My boys asked a number of questions about war and why people shoot at each other. I was able to explain to them that war isn’t a good thing, but is sometimes necessary. We also talked about how our war veterans are our heroes and why the Greatest Generation truly is great. These are lessons that a 7 and 3 year old can learn.
Summary: I really enjoyed our trip to the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum. The boys loved looking at machinery, airplanes, vehicles, and so on, plus were in awe that an actual real plane landed right in front of them at the airport. This Museum is one of the hidden treasures of Minnesota, and I hope that all of you who read this go there and see it for yourself, or pass this along to someone else so they can go. Any age can appreciate the great quality of the pieces within. There are many art exhibits, interactive displays, and a library located here as well – something for everyone.