About an hour away from Portland, in McMinnville, OR is the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, home of Howard Hughes’ famous H-4 Flying Boat (aka the Spruce Goose) as well as many other planes, rockets, and aviation related artifacts.
The Spruce Goose (made mostly of birch) is enormous. It’s probably one of the largest planes you’ll ever see in person.
Its 8 propeller engines are puny compared to the wings they’re mounted on, and the plane’s fuselage. It’s hard to imagine that even 8 engines would have provided enough power to move the H-4, but fly it did.
There are plenty of other planes to see in the museum, both military and civilian.
There’s a 21 seat DC-3A (originally belonging to United Air Lines) that you can walk through to get a look at what commercial passenger flight would have been like in the 40s and 50s.
When you need a break from wandering around, airplane seats scattered about the museum provide nice, reasonably comfortable places to sit (and with a good deal more leg room than in an airplane).
The Space Museum takes you through the history of rockets and space exploration, starting with a replica of Goddard’s first liquid fueled rocket, a V-2, a Titan II (used for the Mercury Redstone launches), the Apollo space program, and others. There’s also an IMAX theater (a full-sized one) that shows some pretty good movies.
There’s a lot to see at the museum, and you can easily spend an entire day and then some exploring all the exhibits both inside and outside. If that’s not enough for you, go hit the waterpark and slide out of a Boeing 747.
Worth a visit if you’re in the area. Plan on spending at least a half day. Take your time and spend the whole day if you can. Make sure to catch one of the IMAX movies.