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Where Adventure Takes Off

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Where Adventure Takes Off

One of many bushplanes at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. • Credit: Algoma Country

What you can see and do at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre

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Growing up my family went to a lot of museums, attractions -- anywhere that allowed us, kids, to burn off excess energy and if we learned something in the process then that was even better. I think that's why the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie is such a great place to explore as a child but also as an adult. It's a place where you can not only spend time as a family but a great place to go with a group of friends you're travelling with.

Tucked into the waterfront in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, it's easy to get to. Did you know that it's a registered water-based airport for floatplanes? How cool would it be to take your own personal floatplane to a museum? Talk about arriving in style! But for those of us without a plane, there's plenty of parking.

The Bushplane Museum is one of only a few aviation museums that allow visitors to climb aboard the aircraft, take the pilot's seat in a passenger plane's cockpit, or climb into the cargo hold of a real water bomber. I've visited a few aviation museums where this isn't allowed, so you can imagine how awesome it feels knowing that you can climb -- inside -- the -- plane! This is completely and totally extraordinary.

Check out this video of Jessie from the Ultimate Northern Ontario Road Trip at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre where she explores the museum:

Chris, a long-time resident of Sault Ste. Marie, had relatives visiting from England. She took them to local attractions in Algoma and this is what she had to say about their experience at the Bushplane Museum:

"We wanted to take our family members to attractions in Algoma and one of our stops was the Bushplane Museum. This turned out to be one of their favourite stops! Our relatives were not familiar with bush planes so the museum was a great learning experience for them. We saw two films, Wings over the North, and the new 3D Wildfires. The effects of the 3D movie were great and really made you feel like you were involved. The exhibits were well laid out, interesting and interactive. No other museum we've been to allow us to climb right into the cockpit of a plane. This is the perfect place to take kids and grandkids."

Here are Five Must-Dos at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage centre:

1. Wildfires! 3-D Adventure: This exhibit packs a punch -- 3-D effects tell the story of the Ministry of Natural Resources Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch battling real forest fires in Ontario from both the air and ground. You'll really feel like you are inside the battle!

2. The Flight Simulator is a classic exhibit at the Bushplane Museum: You can choose from 3 different 4-minute flights, each highlight a different aspect of Northern Ontario. Feel the engines start, the plane lifting from the ground and nail-biting landings. Very cool.

3. Climb the Fire Tower: This 30-foot replica overlooks the entire museum! Also check out the 1940s bush camp, reproductions ranger's office and the working lightning strike recorder in action.

4. Wings Over the North: Experience the exhilaration of take-off in a vintage Beaver bush plane, the freedom of flight, the history of fighting fires from the sky, and the unexpected drama of setting "her" down with Pilot Ron and his canine co-pilot, Charlie.

5. Canadair CL-215 F-ZBBT: Manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace and retired in 1966, this enormous aircraft was a donation to the museum. Used to fight fires in the south of France, it recorded 20,331 water bombing loads dropped on fires. And you can climb inside!

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Sault-Ste Marie is a 7 hour drive from Toronto

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