We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great Museum - Up Close and Personal”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Lyon Air Museum

Lyon Air Museum
Ranked #2 of 29 things to do in Santa Ana
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Lyon Air Museum (LAM) is a 30,000-sq.ft. facility based at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. Founded by Maj. Gen. William Lyon, USAF (Ret), the museum houses a fleet of superbly conditioned, operational and historically significant World War II-era aircraft and vehicles. Docent-led tours take visitors for a walk through history as they stroll among machines and artifacts that helped define the 20th century. Interactive educational exhibits intended to inspire viewers provide in-depth narratives about the history of each aircraft.
Costa Mesa, California
Level Contributor
338 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Great Museum - Up Close and Personal”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2013

I share an interest in aircraft with my Father, a retired airline pilot and former bomber pilot for Strategic Air Command so when he and I had a chance, we spent some time over at the Lyon Air Museum. As others have mentioned, this is a small museum - basically one hanger off of John Wayne Airport - but the facility is great, the planes are well maintained, and the volunteers friendly and knowledgeable (especially when they find another retired Air Force pilot!). They have several planes my Dad flew as initial trainers so it was a bit of a walk down memory lane and they have a DC3 in American Airlines livery from the 1930's, which he appreciated. The hanger faces the runway and you can see the planes taking off as well!

Parking - no issues, plenty of spaces as it's never crowded
Food - no restaurant but you're right off Bristol so there's places to eat very close by.
Facilities - clean restrooms.
Bring a camera and plan on spending about an hour or so.

My Father and I had a great time!

Visited February 2013
Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

112 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Indonesian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
No. VA
Level Contributor
532 reviews
150 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“Small but Terrific!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2013

The Lyon Air Museum is a terrific museum! Its small, but it packs a huge punch. It has a number of WWII aircraft and automobiles, and ALL are in flying / driving condition. The amount of history in that building is amazing. In addition to the planes and vehicles, there are a number of displays around the building with a lot ot historic documents and artifacts. If you are in the Irvine/Santa Ana / Orange County of Southern California, I would highly recommend a visit!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank mlowder500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Cool events in a hidden museum”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2013

This museum is fairly new and unknown to many people, even the locals. We've gone there a couple of times. Great little place for history buffs and engine lovers. Beautiful displays and interesting history narrations. A must go place when they have special events. We went there on Mother's Day to see the Flight Experience show; i.e., people spending $$$$$ for 30 minute rides in WWII aircrafts! The general public were permitted to look inside the planes afterward. Very cool! I recommend this place for fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. Would be nice if there are more comfortable seating throughout the building, and snacks and drinks outside. No food! :(

Visited May 2013
1 Thank Technogality
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
50 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Small - But A Wonderful Experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2013

I will start off by saying that this museum is very small. However, the depth of your experience will largely depend on what you put in to your visit! If all you want is to take a bunch of pictures of lots of old aircraft, then this museum will probably not be for you.

However, if you are willing to read the informational plaques, watch the educational videos, and spend time with a guide...you could easily spend three hours here. My docent (Mr. Ermerson) was an amazing man and a WWII veteran. I spent almost one hour with him, listening to his stories and looking through his picture book. That alone was worth the price of admission!

The Good:
The aircraft are all in great shape and so impressive to see!. Additionally, there are some amazing WWII era vehicles, and an impressive collection of motorcycles (Indians, BMW's, and even a Japanese Rikuo). There is also a very impressive 1939 BMW G4!

The Bad:
There are only six aircraft, and you are not allowed to enter any of them. The reason is because they are all in flyable condition. Still, I always feel that museums come alive when there are hands on exhibits. This museum is definitely a "look, but do not touch" approach.

I would recommend this museum to anyone! Just be advised that children may not find it as appealing because of the lack of interactive exhibits. However, for those interested in WWII history, plan time to speak with a guide during your stay. You won't regret it!

The museum offers a nice discount for military veterans!

Visited May 2013
1 Thank MikeThePilgrim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
101 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“okay but very small”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2013

was a bit disapointed here , just one hanger with a few airplanes and some miltary vehicles (including hitlers car) and some random 50s cars

was done in well under an hour , so not great value at all

what they do have there is all in very nice condition , and the hanger is very clean too

the guides struggled with answering my questions , they seem to have a script to chant out and thats it , the girl on the front reception was rude too

id say check out the other air museums in socal first , they have a massive selection of airplans to look at and can chat about what they have in detail

Visited May 2013
Thank steveo3002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Lyon Air Museum also viewed

Laguna Beach, Orange County

Been to Lyon Air Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing