In the 1960’s solid rocket fuel wasn’t being used for ICBM missiles. Instead, when the order came to launch, a team of trained military had to connect and fuel the 103 foot Titan II missile inside its huge underground bunker. This is all here to remind us and teach us about the Cold War between the US and Russia.
Political Disclaimer – Not to get too political on a family travel site, but the nuclear arms race is a sad thing. This park never paints a pretty picture and gives visitors plenty of opportunities to come to their own conclusions about the US’ involvement with nuclear weapons. We were grateful for the opportunity to use this visit as a chance to discuss this as a family and talk about the good (i.e. ending WWII quickly) and the bad (lots of bad) that comes from wars and nuclear arms races. The good thing about a place like this, it helps our kids to visualize history and to know that this stuff is real. Nuclear weapons aren’t just something from a cool movie or form ink in a textbook. We were able to discuss the importance of being nice to everyone and how our choices in life shouldn’t take away someone else’s ability to choose their own path. We can’t wait until we live in a world where these terrible tools are no longer needed.
Moving on to discuss our experience at the National Historic Site.
Today at the Titan Missile Museum you can visit this bunker and its connected launch command center. Here’s a picture from their website http://www.titanmissilemuseum.org showing the bunker.
The tour is guided and lasts about an hour. You’ll find yourself underground in the bones of the facility where there is an actual missile. NOTE: The missile is not active! The kids loved trying to move the blast doors, asking the guide tons of questions and getting to see the inside of the missile silo. Justin loved helping out the guide in the launch control center. They also pose a simulated missile launch. That creeped out the boys a little bit but they had a blast!
To see the Titan Missile Museum site, you must go on a one hour guided tour. Unfortunately, they don’t do reservations.
Prices vary by different age groups. Check their website for specifics.
The tour doesn’t allow flip-flops or backpacks and you it helps if you can to do 55 steps to get into the facility. If you have young children then you must take the elevator. There is an elevator but it’s been broken during my past visits. Please call them if you have mobility issues. You will be wearing a hard hat on the tour.
There’s restrooms, a historical museum, gift store, and above ground relics.
Here’s the Titan Missile Museum website so you can check out the tour times and guidelines. http://www.titanmissilemuseum.org
More To Do in the Area
There’s so much to do in the Tuscon area. Be sure to see our posts about other fun family-friendly stuff in the area, besides the Titan Missile Museum there’s, the Pima Air and Space Museum, Biosphere 2, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (one of our favorites), San Xavier Mission, Kitt Peak, and nearby (kinda) Tombstone, AZ.
Map of our favorite things in the Tucson Area:
The Wesley’s have visited other newer missile sites like the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site located just outside of the Badlands in South Dakota. Check out that blog post here.
Here are more photos from our adventure: