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'Future of Flight' and Boeing tour

Where you can see the largest building in the world

Save time to explore the “Future of Flight” gallery, which gives you more context to what you’ll see on the factory floor. Photo credit: Kristin Kendle

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The Seattle area is known for many things - rain, the Puget Sound, coffee. It's also known as the birthplace of the world's biggest aerospace company, Boeing. Today, Boeing has plants and offices in many other locations, but its largest factory remains just north of Seattle in Everett.

And that factory isn't just Boeing's largest facility: It's the largest building by volume in the entire world. And this building is open for public tours, making it the only public tour of a jet assembly plant in all of North America. The Boeing tour and "Future of Flight" gallery are almost guaranteed to impress anyone.

The "Future of Flight" gallery is located just past the ticket desk and takes about 15 to 60 minutes to stroll through, depending on how much you read about the exhibits. You'll see full planes hanging from the ceiling and full jet engines opened up so their inner workings are visible, you can touch materials used in planes past and present, and you can get a sense of where Boeing is heading into the future. There's also a Family Zone and a few activities for kids.

Also don't miss the Strato Deck, located at the top of the stairwell near the "Future of Flight" gallery. The deck overlooks the airfield. You'll see a number of completed aircraft - and maybe test flights or take-offs and landings.

Line up for your tour about 15 minutes early, and make sure to check out the old plane seats near the tour entrance. If you flew in the 1970s, 80s or early 90s, you'll enjoy these blasts from the past that still have ashtrays in the seat arms.

Tours start with a movie that gets you oriented into the beginnings of flight before you board a bus with 30 to 50 new friends. Tour groups are large, but don't worry about getting lost in the crowd. All stops along the tour provide plenty of space for everyone to have a front-row view, and tour guides use microphones so everyone can hear.

Platforms look down onto the factory floor, and the view is mind-blowing. Aircraft lined up end-to-end on the assembly line prove just how large this building really is. There are four aircraft built at this facility - the 767, 747, 777 and the new 787. On the tour, you'll see all except the 767, which is now only made for the military and FedEx.

Also, keep an eye out for the Dreamlifter. There are only four Dreamlifters in the world, and they are used exclusively to ferry 787 parts to the factory. As a result, the Dreamlifters are gigantic, hulking planes that look unlike anything you've seen before.

All in all, you'll leave this tour with one thought - flight is amazing. Building Boeing planes is also amazing, and seeing all that goes into them will give you a new perspective the next time you're heading home to that family reunion.

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour is located at 8415 Paine Field Blvd. in Mukilteo, just off I-5 exit 189. You can book a tour ahead of your visit or learn more at FutureofFlight.org, or call to learn more at 425.438.8100. Tickets are $20 for adults, 16 and older; $14 for youth, 15 and younger; or $10 for adults and $5 for youth for only the "Future of Flight" gallery.

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