In Riyadh, there are a lot of communities where Filipino expats can join in. My friends and I are fortunate to have found one that is into worthy causes and traveling every now and then.
During the start of the winter season last year, I was privileged to have been included in the community’s list of participants for their travel series’ kickoff. It should be noted that I was also a part of their Dammam/Bahrain travel series (Eid Break in the Kingdom’s Eastern Region and Bahrain’s Threshold) in 2014.
This time around, they chose Royal Saudi Air Force Museum or Saqr Al-Jazira, which is located at Salbokh Road, Ministry of Defense and Aviation – King Abdul Aziz Military College, on the East Ring Road of Riyadh between Exits 10 and 11. It is just a ten-minute drive from Al Izdihar.
There were 16 of us who lined up at the museum’s gate last 04 December 2015. Actually, we were reluctant to proceed with this visit because we thought the place is only for families. Good thing there is a big signboard at the entrance that says singles are allowed on any day of the week. We were all smiling after reading that.
What we saw upon entering was the huge passenger aircraft, which I had been seeing standing behind a wall right next to the East Ring Road.
The aircraft’s name is Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.
We merrily roamed around the museum’s ground to have a closer look at the various passenger and combat aircraft until darkness started to fall.
“For thousands of years, men have looked at the skies and dreamt of flight. Ancient mythologies tell of heroic attempts to emulate the birds of the air. In more recent times, men have succeeded, with motor-driven flying machines in place of flapping wings. Not content with the skies, man has his sights set on the heavens beyond. The stars upon which our forebears gazed at are now within reach of our children’s children” (Dreams of Flight, Royal Saudi Air Force).
What we feasted on subsequently were exhibits on the history of the Royal Saudi Air Force: uniforms, insignia and decorations, aircraft engines and weaponry—and a special display on Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first Saudi in space who rode as a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-G.
Throughout the museum there are interactive video screens that allow visitors to explore this history for themselves.
There is also an Imax cinema, without 3D glasses, where we got to experience flying a jet fighter. It was a simulation of what it feels like to be amid jet fighters in an aerial warfare. It was awesome.
For the first time, I got to get a feel of a cinema in the Kingdom even if what we viewed was only a 15-minute show.
The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the perfect place if you want to get a literally happy photo just like the second in the series. And, of course, if you want to experience traveling into space on simulators for only SAR 10. Free admission is awarded to children.
Things to see in Riyadh (eyeofriyadh.com)
Riyadh’s Best Museums (destinationksa.com)
Explore Riyadh: Aviation Museum (exploreriyadh.blogspot.com)
5 Awesome Things to Enjoy in Saudi Arabia (twomonkeystravelgroup.com)
Pixels For Four: Royal Saudi Air Force Museum, Riyadh (pixelsforfour.blogspot.com)