Hiller Aviation Museum offers something for everyone

As I mentioned in this post, San Mateo County offers a myriad of terrific attractions for people of all ages and interests. The Hiller Aviation Museum is one of those gems.


The Hiller Aviation Museum is a terrific place to spend a couple of hours while touring San Mateo County.

Located less than 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the city of San Francisco in easy-access San Carlos, California, this 28,000-square-foot facility hosts 15,000 school children each year as part of its educational field trip program and annual Kids’ Carnival and Aviation Camps. But it’s great for ‘kids’ of all ages, with drone workshops and an intriguing year-round schedule of events.


The Hiller Aviation Museum is very much a hands-on interactive facility that allows kids large and small to touch and experience the exhibits.

I love the way the Hiller Aviation Museum connects aviation highlights of the past to the present, and the future. There is a replica of a 1903 Wright brothers human-piloted aircraft that went on to inspire many future aviators. Another exhibit celebrates the joys and challenges of founder and helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr., who opened the museum in 1998.


The Hiller Aviation Museum is a must-see for all visitors to San Mateo County, and aviation buffs visiting The Bay Area.

My favourite exhibit at the Hiller Aviation Museum is a state-of-the-art Google Earth Station, in which you take control and virtually land in any destination on the planet that you like. In the photo below, Museum President and CEO Jeffery Bass prepares me for a virtual journey to the Taj Mahal in India that really blew my mind.



My virtual visit to the Taj Mahal courtesy of the Hiller Aviation Museum was exciting!

There is also a terrific exhibit on women in aviation and a really cool display showing you stats and live take-offs and landings at the area’s 11 airports. Visit the second floor to see the lab area and experience a flight simulator. And don’t miss the creatively decorated gift shop for some unique gifts or souvenirs.

My thanks to San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau who made possible my visit to their fascinating destination. I would love to return and continue the journey of discovery.











Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

44 Responses

  1. Thanks for the recommendation, RoseMary. It’s been far too long since I’ve been to Tucson! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lydia says:

    Such a cool museum, Doreen! This is the first time I am hearing that this museum exists and I am immediately adding it to my bucket list. How long does it take to explore the whole Hiller Aviation Museum?

  3. This Hiller Aviation Museum is very much useful for kids to touch and experience the exhibits. Great to know about it.

  4. This looks like a great place for visitors this museum is very interesting and even entertaining for all ages. I love aviation museums. Loved the article โ€“ so much info on there! I will be saving this and looking at it for future trips!

  5. Very interesting! I did not expect that a visit to aviation museum could be so interacting.. Indeed, probably with a new digital technology – it will become even more interactive in the close future. Probably you will be able to fly using virtual rality technology & really feel like you are flying

  6. The romance of the skies is always exciting. The Hiller Aviation Museum is really a promising place from what I can see. Love the fact that it is highly interactive. The replica of the Wright Brothers plane looks fascinating. The Google Earth station looks really futuristic. Nice to know you visited the Taj Mahal.

  7. YUKTI Agrawal says:

    Wow this museum is very interesting and even entertaining for all ages. My boys would love to visit this as they love all things related to aviation. Virtual visit to Taj Mahal must be enchanting.

  8. Claire says:

    What an interesting museum. I have always wondered how it feels to be able to fly an airplane.. guess the Google earth station will allow many to experience their first “flight”! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. what an exciting museum! to fly virtual to the places you always wanted to be! I would love to have some rides with this simulator!!

  10. I visited an aviation museum in Fredericksburg last year and found it so much more interesting than anticipated. The Hiller Museum looks really cool — I’d love to visit it!

    • Hi Patti! Interesting. I’ve not been to Fredericksburg in a very long time! It’s amazing how many aviation museums I’m learning about via this post. I hope you get to vist the Hiller. It’s a winner!

  11. Nathalie says:

    Hiller Aviation Museum sounds great. And also being from Ottawa, I can vouch for the Ottawa Aviation Museum. The War Museum in Ottawa also has some wartime planes that are pretty interesting to see.

  12. What a cool museum, I’m not sure which I would enjoy more, the drone workshops or the Virtual Google Earth Station. We have an aviation museum here in Ottawa and I think I’ve gone to it twice, definitely time to take another look.

  13. Alison Netzer says:

    I love aviation museums. I went to one in Dallas, DC and the space museum on Houston (does that count). Wow vt of the taj

  14. I used to live in San Carlos and always recommend Hiller Aviation Museum to visitors (and locals). It’s been quite a while since I’ve been there, so would love to try out the Google Earth Station. How cool!

  15. Sue Reddel says:

    This looks like a great place to visit. I’d love to check out the drone workshop and the Google Earth station not sure I’d be able to tear myself away from that.

  16. Lori says:

    The Hiller Museum looks really interesting, and oh wow – how much fun to take that virtual flight! Was there chocolate here too? (love the concept of your blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  17. Hiller Aviation Museum sounds fantastic – I’d love to take one of those virtual flights! Drone workshops sound like fun too.

  18. Beverly says:

    I would love to try the Google Earth Station! Now I just have to decide what I would like to see.

  19. I love touring aviation museums–the two Smithsonians in Washington, DC, the Pima in Phoenix and many more. This looks like another nicely done spot to spend sometime learning!

  20. Cindy says:

    I had never heard of this place before. Sounds really fascinating. I would love to try that Google Earth Station and take a trip around the world!

  21. Hillier Aviation Museum sounds interesting with the Google Earth Station being a particularly cool exhibit. What fun!

  22. Linda Strange says:

    Thanks for this, Doreen. I’ve had an interest in airplanes since a long-ago friend was in Air Force pilot training. I do have friends who live not that far from San Mateo, and I’ll visit the Hiller Aviation Museum next opportunity I get.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Linda. There is indeed so much to see in the San Mateo area. It’s no wonder you have not yet made it to the Hiller Aviation Museum. I hope you get there, as I’m sure you would enjoy it.

  23. Catarina says:

    Sounds like an interesting and fun museum. Aviation is an interesting subject. Contemplating what we will be able to do, say, a hundred years from now is mind boggling.

  24. Ehsanul Riyad says:

    A flying exhibition hall โ€“ how energizing! Learning and fun moved into one.

  25. I lived in that area years ago and was not aware of the Hiller Aviation Museum. That Google Earth exhibit looks really fun. I’ll have to put this museum on my list for our next visit to San Francisco.

  26. Phoenicia says:

    An aviation museum – how exciting! Learning and fun rolled into one. My children would enjoy the virtual visit as would I. As a teenager I regularly visited an indoor park with a flight stimulator and it felt so real as you were strapped in and rocked to the left and right. I had not yet flown on an aeroplane which may explain why I was so amazed by it.

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