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Explore the world's largest building

Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Factory Tour

Boeing Assembly Plant. Photo credit: Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour

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Excitement builds as the shuttle bus pulls up to the Boeing Factory, which houses the Everett Production line. The factory is truly massive and is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest building in the world by volume. It sits on 98.3 acres.  So how big is that? You could fit Disneyland in it and still have 12 acres left over for parking. Now that is enormous.

The group on the bus is soon escorted inside to tour the factory. We begin to comprehend the size of the building when we see planes in various stages of completion. The tour is led by informative guides who keep us moving up and down throughout the factory for about 90 minutes, including the bus ride.

The Future of Flight Aviation Center is where the Boeing Tour starts, and it is an attraction itself.  

"Along with the always-popular Boeing tour, we are very excited about adding a mock-up of the U.S. space lab Destiny to our exhibits in the Aerospace Gallery," said Bill Kaczaraba, interim sales and marketing director. "Destiny is part of the International Space Station on loan from the Museum of Flight. Guests are able to walk through the lab and even get a view of Earth the same way astronauts would have seen it from the Space Station."

Also at the Aviation Center is the Family Zone, which is an interactive play space with kid-friendly activities focusing on aircraft manufacturing and assembly. There are Legos to build aircraft and a kid-sized airport with planes to practice landing and takeoffs. In the Flight Systems exhibit, children can climb in a Boeing 727 cockpit and play with the buttons and switches that are quite a contrast to the Boeing 787, which has a digital flight deck.

The Paper Plane Café at the center offers a variety of foods for a meal or snack. There are two stores for shopping: the Boeing Store sells Boeing-branded items to include clothing, games and toys, model airplanes and luggage, and the Future of Flight Gift Shop's focus is on Pacific Northwest favorites, duty-paid perfumes and watches.

"We are proud to offer a special ticket category for members of the military in honor of their service to our country," Kaczaraba said. "We do offer the military a $5 discount off our standard adult price of $25 with proper military ID."

Everett is about a 90-minute drive from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is located north of Seattle. The Boeing Tour is very popular, so it is recommended that you purchase tickets prior to your arrival as they often sell out.

Extend your day by visiting the Flying Heritage Museum, which is located on Paine Field, the same airfield as Boeing. Visit northwestmilitary.com/travel for more information.

Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukilteo, 800.464.1476, futureofflight.org

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