By Dylan Roche
Life got pretty quiet throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but you might say things in the Annapolis area are about to get noisy! After a year hiatus, the skies above Annapolis will once again be filled with the unmistakable Vrrrooooommm of the Blue Angels flying overhead in celebration of the United States Naval Academy Commissioning Week.
This year, the popular tradition is set for Wednesday, May 26, beginning at approximately 2 p.m. and continuing for the next few hours over the Severn River in Annapolis. The blue-and-gold F/A-18 jets will perform impressive feats of aerobatic skill—soaring high, swooping low, looping in circles, and twirling round and round—in a show that has become a much-loved tradition for families in the area.
Great vantage points are those closest to the Naval Academy Bridge along Route 450: Jonas Green Park and the World War II Memorial will get you right up under the action. If you don’t mind navigating downtown, Susan Campbell Park at the Annapolis City Dock always offers a terrific view. Remember to stay 6 feet away from others—the City of Annapolis will be strictly enforcing social distancing measures.
Another great way to view the Blue Angels? Get out on the water. If you have a boat (or a friend with a boat), you can get away from the crowds and enjoy a prime perspective from the Severn River. Obey the Coast Guard and Annapolis Harbormaster regarding any parts of the waterways that are closed.
Keep Flying High
Check Out These Aviation Museums
Maybe your family can’t make it to the Blue Angels show (hey, work and school sometimes have to take priority, right?). Or maybe your kids loved it and they’re now obsessed with airplanes. Either way, the good news is there are plenty of places in the area where your family can go to discover more about aviation. Here’s where to go to learn more about planes, aviation and high-flying fun!
College Park Aviation Museum
Open Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. with 24-hour advance reservation
$5 adults; $2 kids (free under 1)
Operating on the grounds of the world’s oldest continuously operating airport, this 27,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is home to many interesting aircrafts and artifacts that factor into the history of aviation. Kids will enjoy the hands-on activities and interpretive areas, which are continually being developed so there’s always something new.
Read more on the College Park Aviation Museum!
Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum
Open Wednesdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and by appointment.
$7 adult; $5 12 and under
Discover Maryland’s role in the history of aviation and aerospace at this relatively recent addition to the museum scene. Since 1990, the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum has offered a chance for curious plane lovers to see and touch more than a dozen aircraft it has on display. It also has an archive full of plans, documents, research models, aircraft tools and other components to provide more insight into the history of planes.
Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Thurs.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sun. Noon–5 p.m.
$9 adult; $4 kids 5–12
Known as the Pax Museum for short, this institution celebrates the role that the Patuxent River Naval Air Base played in the history and development of U.S. Naval aviation technology. Visitors get to see the aircrafts, but also learn about the research, testing, and evaluation that went into them. Then get an up-close look at these unique aircrafts, then enjoy the chance to see artifacts, books and movies, and even designs of aircraft that never made it to the fleet.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
This incredible museum emphasizes all aspects of human flight, including not only aviation but also space exploration! With two large hangars for displaying amazing aircraft, the center is home to a Concorde—a turbojet-powered supersonic airplane renowned for flying at twice the speed of sound—plus an entire collection of aviation and space artifacts. While you’re there, you can enjoy programs, educational activities, lectures, and performances.
Read more about the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center!
Massey Air Museum
The Massey Air Museum and Massey Aerodrome (MD1) are on the Eastern Shore in
Kent County. The museum features self-guided tours, which includes an An-2 biplane and a DC-3 open for visitors to tour. The hangar features small craft, where restorations are often underway. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Although they are temporarily closed for COVID-19 restrictions, be sure to check out the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., which is also under construction and slated to reopen in 2022.
Upcoming Air Shows
While Commissioning Week is usually the most convenient air show for Annapolitans, it’s by no means the only show around. Here are a few more shows happening this summer—perfect for a weekend road trip!
Westmoreland County Air Show
The Blue Angels are slated to be the star of this two-day air show.
Ocean City Air Show
The OC Air Show has a stunning lineup, including the USAF Thunderbirds, F-22 Raptor Demo team, Geico Skytypers, and SOCOM Para-Commandos.
NAS Oceana Air Show
NAS Oceana, Va.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform alongside the GEICO Skytypers and world-famous aerobatic aviators like Mike Goulian, Jodi Rueger, Paul Dougherty and Anthony Oshinuga.
Blue Angels photo courtesy U.S. Naval Academy