When historic Mitchel Air Field closed in 1960, Nassau County made plans to transform it into a Long Island center of education, recreation and commerce. Hofstra University built its north campus here The County opened Nassau Community College and built Mitchel Park And soon a complex of commercial buildings appeared.
 Long Islanders who had long dreamed of creating an aviation museum targeted the Mitchel Field site Others including County Executive A Holly Patterson proposed building a civic center on the land In 1966 County Executive Eugene H. Nickerson urged the creation of the John F. Kennedy Educational Civic and Cultural Center In 1969 he met with museum staff and supporters to discuss an aviation museum.
 In 1970 County Executive Ralph G. Caso sought approval for a Bicentennial Center, featuring Long Island's aerospace heritage. When the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum hosted a large air show in 1976, public interest in an aerospace museum really took off.
 By 1979, County Executive Francis T. Purcell had designated funds to restore the Mitchel Field hangars and create an aviation museum. Museum curators and more than 150 volunteers began a 20 year worldwide search to collect and restore historic flying machines that were either built on Long Island or contributed to its aviation legacy. In 1994, a new Museums at Mitchel Planning Group began preparations for the opening of the Cradle of Aviation and other attractions on museum row.
 County Executive Thomas S. Gulotta, former Board Supervisors and the County Legislature authorized funds to build the Cradle of Aviation as the first phase of Museums at Mitchel. The complex represents a County capital investment of $40,100,000. Contributed collections and exhibits by individuals, organizations and corporations including more than 650,000 hours of volunteer restoration efforts constitute another $45 - 50 million of donations.
 As of now, along with the Long Island Children's Museum, the Cradle of Aviation is the first phase of "Museums at Mitchel" an exciting "Museum Row" destined to become Long Island's premier year round educational, cultural and recreational complex, Its mission is to engage all ages in an exploration of Long Island's heritage and technologies, and to inspire future generations with the "Spirit of Discovery."
 Visitors enter through a spectacular four-story glass atrium, the Reckson Center. In the atrium you will find aircraft of all types suspended overhead, plus visitor services, the Leroy R. and Rose W. Grumman  Dome Theater; the Red Planet Cafe‚ and the Sky Walk entrance to the Donald Everett Axinn Air and Space Museum Hall. The museum is home to 70 air and space craft displayed in two converted Mitchel Field hangars that have been designated America's Treasures.
 The 130,000 square foot Cradle of Aviation is operated by Museums at Mitchel, a non-profit educational corporation, in partnership with the County of Nassau. We invite you to enjoy many future visits.



Aerial view of Mitchel Field, 1937. This was one of the most important Army air corps bases in America at the time. This view looks north toward Roosevelt Field in the distance.

View of the flightline at Mitchel Field, 1937. The formation was the 9th Bomb Group; the aircraft shown are B-10 bombers. The Cradle of Aviation are the two hangars on the far right.

View of the former flightline at Mitchel Field, 2007, now the Nassau County's "Museum Row Project". 


View of the former flightline at Mitchel Field, 2010. The County's "Museum Row" facility is still under development. Soon to be added is a covered plaza for the museum's  more modern large aircraft.


Hangars 3 and 4 at Mitchel Field, circa 1934. These hangars, totally renovated, now house the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

The main Atrium of Museum Row, from where one can access the Cradle of Aviation Museum, restaurant, Firefighters Museum and Dome Theater. On the right are the original Mitchel Field Hangars 3 and 4.

A Firefighters Museum and education center is located next to the Cradle of Aviation on Museum Row. In addition, a police museum is currently under development.


Nunleys Carousel, a Long Island icon for almost 100 years, is now restored and operating within this new pavilion surrounded by spacious grounds.


Nuntleys Carousel was originally built in Brooklyn by Stein and Goldstein in 1912 and was fully restored in 2009.


Long Island Children's Museum is another Family-Friendly attraction on Nassau County's 'Museum Row'.