Classic Flyers is a popular tourist museum and function venue that was first opened in May 2005 in a custom built facility of 2,300m2 located at 9 Jean Batten Drive, just five minutes’ walk from the airport terminal.
The impressive building is laid out as a large hangar with a parking apron designed to capture a great view for the public. An integrated café, bar and function rooms are also part of the facility.
Entering the museum is via the AvGas cafē then on through the Gift Shop. Once you have purchased your tickets, you enter the large main hangar containing all manner of operational and static aircraft. Many of the static aircraft have steps leading up to them that allow visitors good close up views of the aircraft cockpits. There are also a number of aircraft that visitors can actually get inside including a Hawker Hunter jet fighter, Catalina Flying Boat and DH Heron airliner to name but a few. A wealth of information is displayed in the many purpose-built display cabinets lining the walls, along with exciting video displays depicting the aircraft in operation. Many beautifully made models and a collection of aero engines are also proudly on display. A highlight for our youngest visitors is the opportunity to “fly” in one of our collection of pedal planes.
But the visit does not end there. After viewing the aircraft displayed outside, follow a path from the main hangar to our other two hangars. One, the “Restoration Workshop and Archive Centre”, contains aircraft currently under restoration and our artefact storage and aviation library. The other hangar is our “Flight Ops” hangar which contains more aircraft from our operational fleet. During a busy summer day there are often aircraft that taxi in and out of the museum on local flights that offer the visitor the chance to view aircraft in action up close or even go for a flight in one themselves.
One of our most popular activities is to take a flight in our Boeing Stearman classic biplane. You may have seen this yellow and red beauty, or heard its distinctive engine, in the sky above Tauranga on sunny days. Visitors get to dress up in a flight suit and climb into a genuine 1940’s vintage open cockpit biplane, then take to the skies for a scenic flight over Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. It is a unique “wind in your face” experience as you soar over the beautiful Tauranga Harbour. Ideal as a gift for someone you love and gift vouchers are available. We also sell trial Glider flight vouchers with the Tauranga Gliding Club, another resident at Tauranga Airport.
Whether you want to spend 30 minutes or 3 hours, Classic Flyers museum has something that will appeal to people of all ages and interests and you are sure to leave with a positive impression and a sense of pride in New Zealand’s part in aviation history.
Birthday Parties & School Visits
Every weekend Classic Flyers plays host to a number of Kids Birthday Parties. These are great fun for the kids and educational and fun for adults too. The parties are ideal for boys and girls aged 2 years to 10 years old and are themed around both aviation and popular kids activities such as Disney Planes, Princess and Pirates, Super Heroes, Jurassic Dinosaurs and the popular Nerf War (for the older kids).
The children’s parties are excellent value for money, with no minimum numbers required and you only pay for the children attending. There are a great range of activities for the kids to do from riding on the pedal planes, exploring the Torpedo Park adventure playground, climbing inside some real aircraft, going for a ride on a Vintage Fire Engine and using Nerf Guns to either shoot at targets in a shooting gallery or engage in an exciting Nerf War in a special Battle Zone.
Every child attending receives a special party loot bag containing age-related party specific toys to either play with on the day or take home after the party. Along with this, all food and drink for the kids are included in the cost. The only thing the parents have to do is bring a birthday cake along.
Classic Flyers has a unique conference centre in the heart of Mount Maunganui only five minutes’ walk from Tauranga City Airport. With its café and catering facilities it’s an ideal venue for business meetings and conferences.
Three rooms are adjacent to each other and include The Boeing Room which seats up to 80 people, The Rotary Room seating up to 16 people and our Armoury Room seating up to 28 people.
Each room is setup with audio-visual equipment. There is also an upstairs bar and toilet facilities making these rooms self-contained and private.
Each room has its own charm with the Boeing Room showcasing a series of fascinating photo montages in cabinet frames on the walls depicting the evolvement of Tauranga City Airport from 1917.
The Rotary Room offers a smaller function space that seats 16 in a boardroom configuration. This room is themed with helicopter models and photographic displays with windows overlooking our Museum Hangar interior.
The walls of the Armoury Room, are lined with glass fronted cabinets containing more aeronautical memorabilia donated or loaned by friends of Classic Flyers or families including WW2 pilots log books with contemporary photos, maps and other items of historical interest.
The crowning glory is the Museum Hangar at Classic Flyers which can cater a sit-down meal for up to 500 people making it a unique venue for Weddings and Birthday celebrations, school balls and private dinners. Our main hangar is adjustable and can suit any type of function. Being an operational museum, most of the planes and jets are moveable to make room for your function whatever it may be!
On entering the facility you find yourself in the “Avgas Cafe” complete with full bar facilities. All the delicious food is made daily on the premises by our resident Chef. The ambience and interesting décor has an instant impact. Polished propellers, superb model aircraft and all manner of other aviation collectables adorn the walls and ceiling. To add further interest a continuous silent film plays archive footage on a large TV screen, depicting the early flying exploits to modern day flight.
This alone is worth a day out to visit. Off to the side of the café is a sheltered garden bar that is very popular at all times of the year. On the airside of the café is another al-fresco dining area known as the “Shelter” which is popular with groups and for parties as it overlooks the museum flight apron where there is always plenty of activity going on to watch.
This also leads to the purpose-built children’s playground called “Torpedo Park” where kids can play in some exciting aviation-related activities in a safe fenced off area.
Visit our website to find out more about Classic Flyers Museum and its exhibits at https://www.classicflyersnz.com/