Hey everyone! It is Buddy and I am writing the blog this week! I am sharing some experiences and tips for one of my favorite places in Arizona, the Titan Missile Museum. So here it goes, everything you need to know about visiting the Titan Missile Museum.
This is not a paid promotion. We are writing this blog because we really enjoyed this museum. All views and opinions expressed here are our own. All photos are our own and remain the copyright of MPA Project Travels.
The Titan Missile Museum is located in Sahuarita, Arizona, 20 miles south of Tucson. The museum is opened year-round but during the summer heat there are limited hours. If you are interested in going, check out the website for the details.
If you are planning on visiting, I recommended a tour. This is because they can only allow a certain amount of people down into the launch complex at once and you need to reserve a ticket. You can find more information about getting tickets in my tips below.
Everything you need to know about visiting the Titan Missile Museum
To get there from Tucson, you drive on Interstate 19 south until you reach West Duval Mine Road in Sahuarita. Take a right and follow the road until you see the sign that says Titan Missile Museum. It is recommended that you use online directions to find your way there.
About Titan Missile Museum
Founded in 1983, after the deactivation of the Titan II missiles a year earlier. The Titan Missile Museum preserves what is left of a Titan II launch complex. This launch complex is one of the 57 launch complexes installed in Arizona, Arkansas, and Kansas.
The museum’s missile silo and launch control center were fully built and on alert by 1963. Created to maintain the nuclear deterrent force during the Cold War, the Titan II Missiles featured many new missile upgrades for its time. The Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were a very vital part of the Cold War arms race. The development started in 1959 and the last Titan II Missile was put off alert in 1987. Titan II had over 20 years of service, unlike the three years of service by its predecessor Titan I.
Visitors to the Titan Missile Museum descend underground to explore the actual silo. Also, visitors learn about the history of the silo, how a missile launch would happen, and what the lifestyle was for the crew members in the silo.
Why you should visit the Titan Missile Museum
1. It is a great day trip from Tucson
If you are visiting Tucson, it only takes 25 minutes to drive to the Titan Missile Museum. Visiting the Titan Missile Museum is a quick and easy day trip. The tour only lasts about an hour. So, you can spend half a day at the museum and the other half of the day exploring the area. Nearby places to explore include Tucson, San Xavier Mission, Tubac, Tumacacori, or Madera Canyon.
2. Learn about Cold War History
If you are interested in the Cold War, missiles, missile defense, or any type of air-based military warfare, the Titan Missile Museum is a good place for you!
First of all, the entire museum preserves all of the launch equipment and a decoy version of the missile. It also has a launch control center where the crew members lived and where they could launch the missile upon command. It is so amazing to experience visiting the actual and original launch complex.
Second, you get to see the missile up close! This is the closest you will be to any U.S. intercontinental missile unless you are in the military. Getting this close to the tallest missile the U.S. had in its silo is pretty amazing to see.
3. Fun for all ages
The museum is great for families, even little ones. There is a Junior Missileer program that offers programs and games for kids. It can be a lot of fun!
Just know that visitors must descend 55 stairs to visit the silo and launch control center. Some visitors might want to explore the surface area of the museum only.
5 tips for visiting the Titan Missile Museum
1. Book your reservation online early
If you are planning on visiting, please reserve your tickets in advance online on the museum’s website. There is limited availability for tours, and you want to make sure that you get your spot!
2. Visit in the winter
The best time to visit the Titan Missile Museum is during the winter months. This is because it is not a good idea to be outside exploring the surface of the site during the extreme heat of the summer. Also, the hours are different during the summer months so you have less time to visit the museum.
3. Watch your head!
Make sure you don’t hit your head on the top of the ceiling in the underground complex. The ceilings, especially in the cable ways, are very low.
4. Don’t be afraid to turn the launch key.
It is a once in a lifetime experience and you are only running a simulation.
During the tour, your tour guide will ask for two volunteers. If you volunteer, you will sit in the commander’s seat or deputy’s seat in the launch control center. The tour guide will then instruct you to turn the key that is nearest to you. When you turn the keys, it starts a simulation of what would have happened if the missiles would have been launched. Luckily, this never needed to happen!
5. Leaving the Titan Missile Museum
When you leave the museum, if the gate is closed, it is motion activated and you must drive really close to the gate for it to open.
We then left the museum; we were confused that the gate was closed. There were other visitors leaving at the same time and we all turned around and drove back to the Visitor’s Center to ask about the gate. Staff then told us that the gate is motion activated. We had to get really close to the gate for it to open.
Why I wanted to visit the Titan Missile Museum
I wanted to visit Titan Missile Museum because I wanted to explore and experience one of the very iconic missiles that used to be in the U.S. inventory. I started getting into missiles, ever since I visited the Minuteman Missile National Historic site in South Dakota a few months ago.
My experience visiting the Titan Missile Museum
We arrived at Titan Missile Museum late, with enough time to use the restroom and stand in line for the tour to start.
At the beginning of the tour, we watched a video on the background of the Cold War and the importance of the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System. Once the video finished, a tour guide greeted us and guided us outside the building. We went underground to the missile silo and learned how a working crew would get into the silo.
Once in the silo, we went into the control center to start a simulated launch where I turned the launch key in the commander’s seat! Once the tour guide thoroughly explained what everything really meant during the launch phase of a Titan II Missile, we went down the long cable way. Then we went to level 2 on the missile silo, and saw the missile up close for ourselves. After taking a couple photos and asking a question, we went back up to the ground floor level. There the tour guide explained to us how the site got deactivated and turned into a museum.
After the tour ended, we explored.
I did a little research on YouTube prior to visiting. I felt pretty surprised when I visited. Kinda like, “Hey that looks familiar, I have seen it somewhere before.” I explained things to my mom as we explored. We saw the silo door, the propellant and oxidizer unloaders, a duplicate version of the engines for both stage one and stage two, and a few other things. We then entered the gift shop to take a look at a model of the re-entry vehicle and the missile’s war head, which were not active.
Overall, visiting Titan Missile Museum is a great experience. It is a once in a lifetime adventure. I highly recommend visiting the Titan Missile Museum next time you are in Tucson. 😊
Do you have questions about family travel or traveling with teens? Feel free to reach out! We are happy to chat and share our experiences! We look forward to connecting with you.
If you enjoyed reading this, check out these blog posts!
- 4 Great Reasons Why Families Must Visit the National Atomic Testing Museum
- 5 Fascinating U.S. National Parks for National Park Week where we write about the similar Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
- 3 Reasons You Should Visit the Black Hills Mining Museum
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