Twenty-five outdoor aircraft displays and historic indoor exhibits make up the Grissom Air Museum in Peru, Indiana. This great little getaway from Indy can be found just 80 miles north of downtown Indianapolis, and only 15 miles north of Kokomo. Home to decades of aviation history in Indiana, this unique museum displays the propeller from the second Wright plane, dated 1908. Military aircraft from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm are also on display.
Historians, families, tour groups and schools are welcome to visit the Grissom Air Museum, located next to the grounds of the very active Grissom Air Reserve base. They even have a theater room for lectures and films, and a picnic pavilion for events and outings. For a view of the entire base, guests are invited to go atop the five-story Civil War style observation tower. For a small fee, guests can view the entire grounds from above, and even a glimpse of the neighboring Grissom Air Reserve runway.
Indianapolis kids love this educational museum experience, and they typically rave about the Pantom Jet display. That’s because visitors can climb up into the cockpit, hop in the pilot’s seat and let imaginations soar inside this fighter aircraft.
A B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-25 Mitchell Bomber are just a couple of the aircraft in the Grissom Air Museum collection. Artifacts from aviation history are on display inside the museum, including armaments, uniforms, flight trainers, survival gear, art, models and engines. The entire base is a State Historic Site with a long history. In 1942 the facility opened and was used to train Navy pilots. It opened as Bunker Hill Airforce Base in 1953, and its name was changed to honor Indiana native Virgil “Gus” Grissom. He was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts who died in a training accident in 1967. The base was declared a State Historic Site in 1991.
Military history buffs, model plane builders, museum enthusiasts, students, families and other curious Hoosiers help to keep museum doors open. As a non-profit company, the museum receives no financial support from the government. Instead, the museum is maintained entirely by admission fees and donations.
Be sure to check out the International Circus Hall of Fame and Museum, located just a few miles from Grissom Air Museum. The history of the traveling circus is detailed in this Indiana attraction, and each summer the museum hosts a live circus for the entire family to enjoy. For more ideas about fun day trips from Indianapolis, visit our day trips page. Looking for more things to do in northern Indiana? Try the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and State Park in the northwest corner of the state, or stop by the Old Lighthouse Museum in Michigan City, Indiana.
Grisson Air Museum
1000 West Hoosier Boulevard
Peru, IN 46970