Pensacola has less than 60,000 residents and we have the impression that 59,000 of them are employed by the military. Their base is on a prime piece of real estate and is open to the public after a cursory check at the gate, since it houses the National Naval Aviation Museum. This huge display felt like it contains one of every aircraft ever built for the navy. The museum is free and we also took a free shuttle across the grounds to admire old airplanes in various stages of disrepair waiting to be restored. As the shuttle driver proceeded ever so slowly past each plane he had an anecdote or story about its history. It felt like he was telling us about members of his family. Inside the planes were grouped chronologically and we walked from World War I to the present. The Flying Boat which in 1919 made the first crossing of the Atlantic landing both on water and on land, was especially impressive. There were numerous models of aircraft carriers, each more ambitious and humongous than its predecessors. The Blue Angels are based here and some of their old planes were on display. We hope to catch them practicing their aerial acrobatics here late in the week.
The Pensacola light house was also located on the base and has just been restored by a huge fleet of volunteers. From the top you can see 27 miles on a clear day.
There was also a campground nicely situated on the beach for military personnel. Too bad we couldn't stay there.