It may be summer, but the Pima Air & Space Museum is still in full flight, with a slate of special educational events this month.

And soon, a newly revamped B-17 bomber museum housed within the Pima Air & Space Museum will give military aviation fans another reason to go.

The museum, at 6000 E. Valencia Road, has earned a reputation as a top tourist destination. It was recently named among the top 10 percent of attractions in the world based on customer ratings on, for the second year in a row.

The museum is offering educational events every Saturday in August, including sessions on model-aircraft building and the science of flight. (See accompanying details.)

One of the world's largest privately funded aerospace museums, the Pima Air & Space Museum features nearly 300 aircraft spread out over 80 acres on a 127-acre campus.

But one attraction - the separately managed 390th Memorial Museum ( - remains closed for an extensive renovation until September.

The $2.4 million renovation includes a new grand entryway and the addition of 12,000 square feet, including a new 7,500-square-foot mezzanine level, said Emile "Terry" Therrien, executive director of the nonprofit 390th Memorial Museum Foundation.

"It will have a completely different look," said Therrien, whose group runs the museum separately from the Pima Air & Space Museum. "As we go along, we'll be upgrading probably 80 percent of the exhibits."

The renovation by Tucson-based Lloyd Construction Co. is expected to be completed later this month, ahead of a grand reopening planned for Sept. 28, Therrien said.

The museum-within-a-museum commemorates the 390th Bombardment Group, part of the U.S. Army Air Corps (and later, Air Force) based in England during World War II.

The museum's centerpiece is a fully restored 1947-vintage B-17G Flying Fortress bomber - nicknamed "I'll Be Around" - of the type used by the 390th, though it was produced too late to see combat, Therrien said.

Summer events

The Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road, has special events every Saturday in August, starting with a pair of model-airplane-building activities Saturday.

Two afternoon events - "Imagine Rockets" and "How Things Fly" - and the evening "Night Wings 3" event run Aug. 10, 17 and 24.

The activities are for varying age groups; for example, "How Things Fly" on Aug. 17 is for kids 8 and older accompanied by an adult.

Times and costs vary, so for details go online to or call 574-0462.

'Planes' contest

The Pima Air & Space Museum is celebrating the upcoming Disney movie "Planes" with a contest for four tickets to an advance screening of the movie on Tuesday at AMC Foothills Theater. To enter, visit the museum or send an email to before midnight on Sunday.