Aviation and model enthusiasts will love Museo Aéreo Fénix, an impressive museum appropriately located near the airport that serves Cali, Colombia. This private museum not only displays planes spanning the history of aviation, it also has countless models and memorabilia in a collection possibly unmatched the world over.
Museo Aéreo Fénix can be found in the Zona Franca outside the city of Palmira, just north of the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport. It’s open daily until 4pm and has an adult admission of COP$15,000 per person (as of November 2016). A private vehicle is the easiest way to get there, but airport shuttles from Cali (Lineas del Valle or Lineas Rápido Aeropuerto) will drop you off there if you tell them you’re visiting the museum.
Before entering the museum you’ll notice some antique locomotives and cars. In a field beyond the entrance are a couple of large jets, including a Boeing 727-100 cargo jet that was used by AeroSucre. Inside the entrance is a gift shop and cafeteria.
Displays are located in a large hangar stuffed to the gills with all kinds of planes. An enthusiastic and knowledgable guide is happy to answer any questions and knows even the smallest details of every piece on display.
Highlights include a plane used by KLM, a Colombian military helicopter, and a replica of the Wright Flyer, the very first airplane built and flown by the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903.
Purportedly the largest model airplane collection in the world is located at the museum. Two incredible displays of model airplanes sit in the southwest corner of the building.
Cutlery sets from international airlines line the walls of nearly the entire hangar. They’re labeled with the country’s flag and a small model of the plane on which they were used. A collection of wings is also on display.
Classic Cars and More
Planes aren’t the only things on the main floor. Classic cars, including a Ford Model-T and Buicks from the 1930s are also on display, as well as anti-G suits, a NASA spacesuit, and crew uniforms from different airlines.
A small section upstairs contains a plethora of model planes, cars, motorcycles, ships, and more.
After perusing the models upstairs, we thought we were finished with the museum, but the guide called us down to see the most interesting part of the museum – the model railroad. It’s one of the biggest in the world.
Trains pass through cities, industrial zones, and rural areas. The details are incredible.