Fantasy of Flight Air Museum
Fantasy of Flight houses the world’s largest private aircraft collection from the Golden Era of flying, many restored to flying condition.
Note that the main Fantasy of Flight attraction closed in April 2014 and is currently operating a limited exhibit both in terms of hours and days. You should check their schedule before making a visit.
Click here to read about the original Fantasy of Flight attraction.
It is the brainchild of Kermit Weeks, the renowned US aerobatic pilot who has won medals in both the United States National Aerobatics Championships and World Aerobatics Championships.
Fantasy of Flight closed on April 6, 2014 but re-opened on January 30, 2015 with a revised format
Following the closure on April 6, 2014 due to poor attendance figures, Kermit Weeks, owner of Fantasy of Flight, announced that this was not the end of Fantasy of Flight and at some point in the future a new and bigger venture would open. Likely timescales were 3 to 5 years.
In the interim, a part of the collection including some of the old favourites alongside some of the planes that have rarely been seen, are being displayed in the maintenance hangar with a lower price admission.
Fantasy of Flight re-opened on January 30, 2015 and the initial plan is to operate a limited opening schedule during the winter and summer months when there are more visitors around.
The current operating schedule sees it opening on Fridays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from late January until late April. It then re-opens around Father’s Day in June until mid August before opening again around Thanksgiving for the winter season.
The museum re-opens on November 10, 2017 until April 15, 2018. Admission prices are $12.00 plus tax for adults, $10.00 plus tax for seniors and $8.00 plus tax for kids.
Waldo Wright’s Flying Service have also returned, offering flights in their vintage biplanes during museum open days.
The Fantasy of Flight museum is located midway between Tampa and Orlando in Polk City, just of the I–4 interstate at Exit 44 (see map for actual location). As you approach the exit on I–4, just look out for the Douglas DC–3 “taking off” by the side of the road and then the distinctive red and white checkerboard water tower by the airfield.
The interim attraction does not include the Compass Rose Diner restaurant, workshop tours or the immersive exhibit that you encountered at the start of the original museum tour.
Also the daily flying demonstrations are not returning at this time.
Centrepiece of the new exhibit is the Consolidated B–24 Liberator bomber.
A gift shop has been set up in the Orlampa Conference Center lobby near the reception and rest rooms.
From the late 1970s Kermit Weeks began collecting and restoring vintage aircraft and originally opened the Weeks Air Museum in Miami in 1985 to showcase his collection. The collection was badly damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1991 and though the museum re-opened in 1994 it subsequently closed in 2001 and the Kermit Weeks collection is now displayed at Fantasy of Flight. The old site is now the home of the Wings Over Miami Museum.
Kermit acquired the 300 acre site near Polk City in the mid 1980s and Fantasy of Flight opened in 1995. The airfield is unusual in that as well as a grass runway, it also has a stretch of water to allow flying boats to take off and land.
The museum hangars and buildings have a wonderful art deco style and everything is absolutely spotless. This is very different to the almost amateur feel of some other museums.
Plans for the future
Whilst Kermit Weeks and his team build the “new” Fantasy of Flight, the attraction is open in a cut-down form. Fantasy of Flight still continues to host special events like the Sun ’n Fun Splash-In and Mustangs and Mustangs and for private groups like weddings, birthday parties, meetings, corporate events and team building.
Aircraft restoration continues at the facility which opened over 20 years ago after the aircraft collection was moved from Miami following the devastating Hurricane Andrew.