New England Air Museum,Windsor Locks, Conn.
Tom Herde for The Boston Globe
One Sunday every month, children can climb into cockpits of 10 aircraft here. (The next "Open Cockpit" day is Jan 17.) At the controls, they learn about the aircraft from museum volunteers who often have firsthand experience operating it. A Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter is staffed by a volunteer who once crewed the same kind of aircraft. The goal, said Mike Speciale, museum director, "is to try to give them a one-on-one lesson." The teaching continues with craft projects where kids construct paper helicopters or paper airplanes with modifiable wings. The largest aviation museum in New England houses more than 80 aircraft along with collections of engines, instruments, and uniforms. Last year, the museum opened KidsPort, a play airport geared toward 5- to 10-year-olds. Inside, youngsters can go through the check-in process, see how air traffic control works, and learn how luggage makes it from place to place. 36 Perimeter Road, Bradley International Airport, 860-623-3305, neam.org, daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m., ages 12 and up $10, seniors $9, 4-11 $6, 3 and under free.