500 forrestal road
Lower Township, NJ 08242
Where Is It? Just north of the island, take Broadway/Seashore Road to Breakwater Road, turn left. Look for all the planes about a quarter-mile on your right and follow signs to museum.
Why Should I Go? History! And airplanes. How can you need more reason than that? The Cape May County Airport is built on what used to be a naval air base during the Second World War, a place where brave young men trained to fly the “quirky” SB2C Helldiver. And by “quirky” we mean, in the words of one pilot, “the worst airplane ever built.”
Only the bravest or most reckless of pilots flew the Helldiver — and they lived, trained and worked right here. Surrounded by undeveloped wetlands, they disturbed few while dive-bombing over sparkling rivers and farm fields (before heading off to the South Pacific, where the Helldiver sank more enemy ships than any other plane in the war).
Their presence is still felt, more than 70 years later, because the Aviation Museum is still exactly the way they left it. But, oh, the difference 70 years has made in aviation! And you can see that difference made clear as you get up close and personal with the F14 Tomcat, the UH-1 Huey, the T-33 Thunderbird, and a Coast Guard rescue helicopter you can actually sit in.
Insider Tip: The museum has interactive exhibits, videos and even original posters from the era. A blast for Vets, their grandkids, and history buffs of all ages, the museum is always growing… especially as their renovations go on (aided, in part, by grateful visitors). Be sure to climb the fully restored Bader Field Air Traffic Control Tower!