Humongous Marine Corps Museum Opens

On November 13 the National Museum of the Marine Corps opens to the public. It stands just outside of the main gate of the Quantico Marine Base, on 135 wooded acres in Quantico, Virginia. The $90 million extravaganza took seven years to build and work is still going on.

Aside from the usual displays of battle gear and somber memorials, the Marine Corps Museum wows visitors with several state-of-the-art "immersive" combat exhibits. In one, tourists ride a bumping amphibious landing craft onto a beach at Iwo Jima; in another, they find themselves on a dark, frigid mountain pass dodging tracer bullets from Commie Chinese; in a third, they run from a helicopter onto a steaming hot battlefield in Vietnam, complete with windy rotor wash and bullets pinging off of the fuselage. A concealed booby trap of "punji sticks" lights up when you step on it; in real life you would have fallen in and been impaled.

The Museum has a "mess hall" restaurant, a simulated boot camp, and its own electronic firing range, where visitors can test their skill with an M-16A2 rifle. The firing range carries a nominal charge, but the rest of the Marine Corps Museum, including parking, is free.

[11/12/2006]

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Address:
18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Quantico, VA
Directions:
36 miles south of Washington, DC. I-95 exit 150A, just outside the main gate of the Quantico Marine Base.
Phone:
877-635-1775
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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