Pensacola Military Attractions
Pensacola is a community with strong ties to the military. In addition to a rich military history, the Pensacola community is comprised largely of military, retirees, and their families. We are pleased to present you the following information on the Pensacola military bases, Pensacola military discounts, and military attractions in our area.
Pensacola area Military Attractions
Pensacola is home to several military attractions and has a deep rooted military history. Enjoy the following information on Pensacola's history and local military attractions. All of these attractions are ranked among the top 20 things to do in Pensacola according to TripAdvisor.
National Musuem of Naval Aviation
- National Museum of Naval Aviation- The world class National Museum of Naval Aviation offers FREE admission to indoor and outdoor exhibits and collections. The museum is located on NAS and is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Inside the museum, you will find over 150 restored Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard aircrafts. Enjoy 300,000 square feet of aircrafts and historical artifacts that will blow your mind and take you on a trip through time. Read more on our blog inside the NAS Museum by clicking here.
- Blue Angels Practice & Autograph- From March to November, the Blue Angels practice at NAS Pensacola and sign autographs for free on Wednesdays after the morning practice at the Naval Aviation Museum. The public is invited to watch the practice!
- IMAX- This is the area’s largest IMAX screen and theatre. IMAX films are shown daily and include history topics, nature films, and of course aviation films. Theater tickets are available for under $10, and of course they offer military discounts.
- Flight Simulators- The museum features both the Motion-Based Simulator and the Top Gun Air Combat Simulator. The flight simulators offer patrons of all ages a realistic air experience. Rides run constantly daily and can be bought in packages with the IMAX films
- National Flight Academy- Located next to the National Naval Aviation Musuem is the the National Flight Academy. This one-of-a-kind experience is offered for 7th through 12th graders interested in aviation. The National Flight Academy offers several programs including 1, 3, and 6 day experiences. They also host Stem Saturday's for 3rd through 8th graders. This facility offers state of the art, hands on flight simulators and an experience your children will never forget.
U.S. Navy Blue Angels
- U.S. Navy Blue Angels- As you read above, you can easily find the famous Blue Angels practicing anytime from March through November in Pensacola skies. Twice a year, thousands come to Pensacola for the annual Pensacola Beach Air Show in July and the annual NAS Homecoming show at Pensacola’s Naval Aviation Museum in November.
- For more information on the Blue Angels and shows, visit our blogs here: Pensacola Beach Air Show, Watch from the Pensacola Lighthouse, and Pensacola Homecoming Blue Angel Celebration at Pensacola NAS.
Other Military Sites & Attractions
- Veteran's Memorial Park
Veteran's Memorial Park is located on Bayfront Parkway in downtown Pensacola, Florida 32502. This park was constructed in 1992 and pays homage to lives lost and thanks those who came home. The park borders overlooks Pensacola Bay and spans over 5 acres of memorials and monuments honoring those who served. Veteran's Memorial Park is home to several military monuments including the most notable Wall South, a one-half scale replica of the Memorial Wall located in Washington, D.C. honiring those who served in the Vietnam War. The park also features seveAcross the street, there is a short pier that juts out into Pensacola Bay with a sculpture dedicated to the lost and orphaned children of war. Read our blog on these historic parks by clicking here.
- Fort Barrancas & Barrancas National Cemetery
Fort Barrancas is located on the grounds of NAS Pensacola, Florida 32508. While it is located on the grounds of NAS, It is operated by the National Park Service as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The original fort was built in 1698 under the name Fort San Carlos de Austria. The site of Fort Barrancas has an extensive history with several structures under many different rulers and with many different uses. The current fort was used by the Army until 1947, and in the 1980's it was restored so that visitors could appreciate it and learn more about local history. Barrancas National Cemetery also lies on the grounds near Fort Barrancas. Barrancas National Cemetery is for members of the armed forces and their families, and is also open for members of the public to pay their respects.
- Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens is located at the end of Pensacola Beach, Florida 32561. Owned and operated by the National Park Service, Fort Pickens serves as a major attraction in Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island. It's unique location provided a defense There are park entrance fees to access Fort Pickens. In addition to a rich history, the area offers several walking and biking trails, beautiful public beaches, wildlife viewing, a popular fishing pier, and fort tours. The Fort itself, built in the year 1834, can be explored by the whole family! Take a guided or self-directed tour and learn about Fort Picken's extensive history and use. This is a great spot to appreciate history, architecture, and the outdoors and can provide a full day of entertainment for all. Here's an article on our blog on Fort Pickens!
- Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
The Pensacola Lightouse and Maritime Museum is located on NAS Pensacola, Florida 32508 and can be accessed through the base’s back gate off of Blue Angel Pkwy. This lighthouse is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country. As such, there are regular ghost tours through the building! Additionally, as the lighthouse is the perfect spot to view the Blue Angels practice they offer special viewing times with reservations. The museum area gives you a history of lighthouses and the Pensacola area. In fact, the Pensacola Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built on the Florida Coast by the U.S. Government! Climb the 150 steps to the top and enjoy the view over Big Lagoon and Gulf of Mexico.
Pensacola's Military History
The Pensacola Navy Yard was constructed in 1826. The Navy Yard utilized local timber to build ships and the base was home to the West Indies Squadron who were responsible for fighting piracy and the international slave trade.
While the Navy Yard was later burned during the Civil War, this was the beginning of the military presence and of Naval Air Station Pensacola. In 1914, Pensacola Naval Air Station became the first navy base dedicated to Naval Aviation.