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A small aerospace museum that offers great education opportunites to young people through camps

It was a wet and dreary summer’s day and we had some time to fill before heading out of the Finger Lakes region to continue our New England roadtrip. I had seen signs for the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center and was curious to find out more about it. Ever since I was a young man I have loved aircraft of all sorts, but have a special fondness for military aircraft, which is a bit weird as I have a fear of flying (not so bad that I can’t get on an aeroplane) – figure that!

Anyway, I try to visit any aerospace museum I can during my travels, so when I saw a video of things to do in the Finger Lakes at a rest stop and saw Wings of Eagles I knew I had to go there!

It is a small place, so if you are going just to look at the aircraft then you won’t need to be there too long, perhaps an hour or so. The inside exhibits are housed in a hanger but I decided to have a look around the outside exhibits which are made up of a dozen or so aircraft, including an F-14 Tomcat (a favourite of mine) and an F-15 Eagle. It was a little damp so having looked around the aircraft and snapped a few photos I headed inside.

The interior of the discovery centre is made of two primary areas; aerospace exhibits and the Mars Base Eagle. The aerospace exhibits include a handful of aircraft including a Huey helicopter (from the Vietnam War), an F-4 Phantom and a World War II Corsair. Beyond the aircraft, there are displays of artefacts, such as engines and static displays. There are also flight simulators – which are a lot of fun! The Mars Base Eagle takes up about one-third of the hanger. It was built with a grant from NASA and is set up as a base station on Mars. There are several rooms including a briefing room, a hydroponic garden and a medical room. 

As well as being a museum the discovery centre operates as an education facility for children from elementary to high-school level. This includes summer camps through to programmes with schools. The Mars Base Eagle forms the core of the education programs for Wings of Eagles.

So, if you are in the Corning / Horseheads area and you love aerospace and science this would be a great place to visit for an hour or more. 

Grumman F-14 (Tomcat)
Various outdoor exhibits at Wings of Discovery, Horseheads, New York
McDonnell F-4B (Phantom II) & RLU-1 “Breezy” - experimental aircraft - Wings of Eagles Discovery Center
'Mars Base Eagle' at Wings of Discovery

Planning your visit to the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center

Address:339 Daniel Zenker Dr, Horseheads, NY
Website:https://www.wingsofeagles.com/
Telephone:T: (607) 358-4247
Hours:

Summer Hours: From Memorial Day to Labor Day,  Open Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun 10:00am-3:00pm
Winter Hours: From Labor Day to Memorial Day, Open Fri-Sat-Sun 10:00am-3:00pm

Admission Fees

Adult – $7.00
Senior Citizen (age 62 and over) – $5.50
Children (ages 6-17 years old) – $4.50
Children (under 6 years old) – Free
Family (2 adults and 3 children) – $18.00

Best time to visit Finger Lakes

The best time to visit the Finger Lakes region is from May to September, when there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the area’s outdoor pursuits. Expect higher accommodation rates in the peak months of June to August and longer lines at attractions and wineries.

Other places to visit near Corning

1. ROCKWELL MUSEUM – CORNING

The core of this interesting and diverse collection was gifted by Bob and Hertha Rockwell, local business owners who amassed an incredible collection of American art and artefacts. 

The Rockwells had keen eyes for art and exquisite taste.  They owned a department store in the area and used their store as a venue to display their remarkable collection of American art and artefacts, Carder Steuben glass, classic firearms, and antique toys.

Their collection quickly outgrew their department store.  In 1974, the Rockwells and a group of executives from Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) began working together to turn the collection into a museum for the benefit of the Corning, NY community. The Rockwells would donate their collection, and the company and the community would support the museum moving forward.

2. WATKINS GLEN STATE PARK

Known for its natural beauty, the Watkins Glen State Park features a series of waterfalls and gorges that are sure to amaze anyone. An almost two-mile hike will take you past 19 waterfalls and up over 800 stone steps.

There are a number of small trails leading off of the Gorge Trail, giving way to a number of other outdoor activities close by the main trail. There are tent and trailer campsites, swimming pools, picnic facilities as well as guided tours of the local topography.

Leashed dogs are allowed on the outer rim trails but not on the Gorge Trail.

The entrance to the park is right on Main Street in Watkins Glen. You are never far from the conveniences of a town while being able to get away to the wonders that are the gorges and waterfalls of Watkins Glen State Park.

3. TAUGHANNOCK FALLS STATE PARK

Pronounced Tuh-GA-nick. The falls’ name is believed to have derived from the Algonquian Taconic (“in the trees”) or Taghkanic (after a Lenape chieftain killed in battle nearby). Taughannock Falls carves a 400ft deep gorge through layers of sandstone, shale and limestone that were once the bed of an ancient sea. With a 215 foot plunge, this waterfall stands three stories taller than Niagara Falls.

Where to stay near Corning

1. THE BLACK SHEEP INN AND SPA

Located just outside Hammondsport and within walking distance of Keuka Lake, the Black Sheep Inn & Spa is a truly singular escape. The historic, octagonal-shaped structure is done in an Italian stucco style and offers five uniquely appointed guest rooms, along with plenty of cushy perks, including locally sourced farm-to-table breakfasts, special packages for beer and wine lovers, and an on-site spa offering Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages. For the artistically inclined, innkeepers (& Brits) Debbie Meritsky and Marc Rotman create art with creatively repurposed materials at the property’s F.L.A.V.O.R Studio & Gallery.
 
Vegan breakfasts are available. Yea!

2. TAYLOR FARM BED & BREAKFAST

Wildlife lovers will adore the bucolic Taylor Farm B & B, located just west of Keuka Lake. Book a room in the homey bed & breakfast or rent the Carriage House featuring two sleeping lofts and master bedroom spread over 1,200 feet (including a massive balcony). The 315-acre farm also features scenic walking trails, providing guests with the opportunity to encounter area white-tailed deer, beavers, and pileated woodpeckers.

3. GAFFER INN

Lodging at the Gaffer Inn (formerly named The Inn at the Gaffer Grille), opened in 2010, offers charming, boutique accommodations featuring the city’s history of glass creation and design. The Inn is located on historical Market Street in downtown Corning, New York. Corning’s Gaffer District is a unique area with many shops, the widely known Corning Museum of Glass and The Rockwell Museum, along with many other activities. Located above Burgers and Beer of Corning, you are only a few steps away from a relaxing meal or social gathering.

The Inn rooms include many features and amenities to maximize relaxation and comfort during your stay. In each room you will find new wall to wall carpet throughout, pillow-top mattress, plush leather couch in front of a fireplace, desk, smart TV’s, wet bar and small dining area.

 

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