Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
You can visit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo, NY.
If you have any interest in US Naval or military history or equipment, you'll have plenty to keep you occupied at this primarily naval museum. The Destroyer, Missile Cruiser, and Submarine are afloat and moored right next to the museum pier. Other exhibits are located in a fenced in area outdoors, a covered area next to the museum, and a few more in the museum's main building. Here's a short breakdown of the Naval Museum's exhibits:
- USS The Sullivans - a WWII Fletcher class destroyer in largely original WWII configuration
- USS Croaker - a WWII Gato class submarine converted to Hunter Killer configuration in the early 1950s
- USS Little Rock - a WWII Cleveland class light cruiser converted to a Guided Missile Cruiser in the late 1950s
- Bell P-39 Airacobra WWII fighter inside the main museum
- Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter from the Vietnam War era
- DUKW Amphibious cargo truck from WWII
- McDonnell F-101 Voodoo Jet Fighter
- M29 Weasel amphibious cargo carrier
- M48 Armored Personnel Carrier
- Nike Hercules Missile and Launcher
- North American FJ-4B Fury Navy Jet Fighter
- Trumpy PTF Patrol Torpedo Boat Fast
- Other assorted Naval exhibits
I've covered the USS The Sullivans, USS Croaker, and USS Little Rock in more detail on the pages I've linked to in the upper right portion of this page so I'll concentrate on the remainder of the exhibits here.
Inside the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Museum hanging from the ceiling is the Bell P-39 Airacobra. The WWII fighter looks great and is fairly complete. Interestingly the Airacobra has been painted by hand with a brush, which is probably more authentic than most museum aircraft paint jobs. Out in the field the US Army Air Corps maintenance crews did not always have access to proper spray equipment, masking tape, or the conditions for optimal paint application. There were a few other naval related exhibits inside as well.
An outdoor display area contains the military jets and helicopter and military armored and transport vehicles. One of the more interesting vehicles was the Swimmer Delivery Vehicle. SDVs in various configurations pop up at museums, but I've yet to find a US SDV with any history or details such as speed and range. As similar SDVs are probably being used today the US Navy Seal Teams they must want to keep the details under wraps. The Weasel and DUKW amphibians are pretty cool, but from the conditions of their hulls are no longer amphibious. The jets and helicopter are displayed overhead on sturdy mounts. I thought this interesting as it gives you a better view of landing gear and weapons access points than at other aviation museums. A Nike Hercules nuclear anti aircraft missile complete with launcher is tucked in there too. There is even a Walker Bulldog US Army tank and an armored personnel carrier.
Also located outside of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Museum is a rare Trumpy Class PTF Patrol Torpedo Fast boat. These boats were designed in Norway as Patrol Torpedo boats. 6 were built under licence in the US and used without torpedoes as Patrol Fast Boats in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. I could find no history on whether PTF-17 saw service in Vietnam. The boat has a double planked mahogany hull and beautiful lines. Being wood however it has has deteriorated, and the harsh Buffalo winters have not been kind to the hull. Externally it needs major re planking and the internal framework may be pretty dicey also. As well as the 40mm Bofors cannon and two 20mm Oerlikon cannon, the Trumpy has what is listed as a 50cal Browning Machine gun on the forward deck. I haven't seen anything like it and the museum staff I asked couldn't provide more details. It looks like a water cooled 50 cal, but the barrel is at the center of the jacket, where on earlier Browning water cooled 50 caliber machine guns the barrel was located towards the bottom of the jacket. If you have a clue, let me know and I'll add it to the description.
In the covered area across from the museum are a number of naval related exhibits. There you will find a Motor Whaleboat, a Mark V Diving suit, a diving suit air pump, and early naval cannons.
Inside the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Museum is a gift shop with hats, shirts, mugs, and other museum related stuff. There is no food onsite but there is a deli next to the parking lot which makes pretty decent sandwiches. Parking was free and is a few hundred feet from the museum. The museum itself is handicap accessible but the Destroyer, Cruiser, and Submarine are not and require you to be able to negotiate stairs, ramps, and a number of watertight door thresholds. The outdoor exhibits are all on one level, but the surface is gravel and a little more challenging for wheelchairs. Allow yourself several hours for your visit as you'll be doing a bit of walking and climbing if you want to see all of the compartments of the vessels that are open to the public. Visit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park's website for directions and hours of operation.