There's never a bad time to visit the Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM), whether you're a World War II fanatic or can simply appreciate a good air show. Considered one of the best attractions in Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Air Museum is home to one of the world's largest fleets of WWII aircraft, including Hellcats, Mustangs, Spitfires and Tomcats, and ongoing events like flying demonstrations and open cockpits let you appreciate these steel beasts for the engineering marvels they are.
A classic aircraft at the Palm Springs Air Museum — Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum
But if you need another reason to visit one of the desert's top museums, mark your calendar for October 26, when PSAM hosts its annual Chili Cook-Off and Classic Car Rally.
The chili cook-off is a fun event where museum staff, volunteers and docents vie for the title of top chili chef. Each volunteer cooks up their own special chili recipe and guests let their taste buds decide who is the ultimate chili chef.
Chili tastings are just $1 each, or you can purchase six tastes for $5. After tasting your way through the chili cook-off, you can treat your eyes to the gorgeous classic cars gathered on the museum's ramp. Regular exhibits will be open during the event as well.
Chili — Photo courtesy of Tobyotter/flickr
You never know what you'll see at the Palm Springs Air Museum, making it an especially exciting pit stop for military enthusiasts. Aircrafts often visit the museum, and the permanent fleet is always growing. In September, the Palm Springs Air Museum added a Vietnam War-era UH-1 Huey helicopter to its impressive arsenal. The chopper was one of the first gunships to fly during the war and will be restored by the museum's careful hands.
The 2013-2014 season will also see a few traveling exhibits take to PSAM's hangars, such as a Cold War-era exhibit with photos and memorabilia from the U-2 incident. Other guest exhibits include a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The season is also filled with talks by the likes of Ernie Brace, the POW held the longest in Vietnam War history; Stan Stokes, an acclaimed aviation artist; and historian Richard Grosser, who will cover the history of airships and the events of Pearl Harbor in two separate talks.
Adding to the magic of the Palm Springs Air Museum are the docents, who can rattle off WWII and military trivia that offers an impressive insight into the aircraft that fill the museum's hangars. Many of the docents are veterans who either saw combat or actually flew some of the museum's aircraft, offering a more in-depth experience to PSAM.
Permanent exhibits include newspaper clippings outlining WWII from beginning to end, a U.S.O. exhibit complete with a recreated stage and the Buddy Rodgers Theatre, which screens military documentaries to add to the PSAM experience. No matter when you choose to visit the Palm Springs Air Museum, you won't be disappointed.