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The Royal Air Force museum located at RAF Cosford is a free museum consisting of dozens of planes in 3 large indoor hangers. It may not be the first place you think to take toddlers, but with bad weather forecast and with a couple of other expensive days out planned we thought we'd give it a go.
The museum is free with modest car parking charge and a small charge is made for the simulator, which we didn't go on as there was a long queue and our toddler was probably below the minimum height. They also take your photo which is available to buy in a presentation folder just after the gift shop.
The first hanger had a collection of planes which appear to be mainly prototype or test planes. School age children are able to sit inside a cockpit where they are given a good explanation of the various controls and how to fly a plane. There is also a selection of hands on exhibits relating to physics experiments.
The children enjoyed playing with the hands on exhibits, but to get the most out of them needs someone with a little understanding of physics to help explain what to do or look for. They are quite straight forward so a basic level of GCSC physics is sufficient. On the electronic circuit experiment the previous visitors were randomly plugging cables between devices and were unlikely to get a working circuit through trial and error.
There was a good mix of hands-on exhibits. We visited over the bank holiday weekend and so it was busy, but we were still able to get a go on most of the activities.
The second hall was the main exhibit relating to the cold war. It had a lot of planes both on the ground and suspended in the air. There are also some audio visual exhibits including the Cuban missile crisis which was particularly good.
The third hanger had a collection of miscellaneous planes including a Red Arrow Gnat plane.
There are good facilities including a restaurant and baby changing facilities. It is not a museum I'd have taken young children if it hadn't been free, but it turned out to be worthwhile. It's certainly more appropriate for older children and a child play area would have made it more enjoyable, but they still enjoyed the day out.