Nestled on the outskirts of Orlando International Airport is a tiny little park, with a great big retired B-52 Stratofortress bomber in it. This particular B-52 flew missions with the 306th Bomb Wing of what used to be McCoy Air Force Base from 1963 to 1974. It was retired and set up at this park, the B-52 Memorial Park, which was dedicated in 1985.
Here’s a fun factoid – Did you ever wonder why Orlando’s airport code is MCO instead of ORL or OIA? It’s because the airport is still using the original FAA airport code from when it was McCoy.
The B-52 Memorial Park is located on Bear Road, just past the North Economy Parking Lot, and if you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it- it’s set back a little bit from the road. Once you’re there, it’s pretty hard to miss though, because a B-52 Stratofortress is HUGE.
I had been meaning to check out this park for a while after I learned about it, and I finally managed to stop by to take some pictures last October, after I came back from a quick trip to DC. I had parked in the North Economy Lot, so this was just around the corner from my car.
I couldn’t resist getting a shot for scale- even the tires on this plane are huge. Please ignore the stupid facial expression in this photo.
There are several sidewalks and benches around the plane, as well as an elevated viewing stand that looks directly at the nose of the aircraft. At the base of the viewing stand, there’s a sign about the park itself.
It’s possible to walk up close to and underneath the aircraft, which is fascinating to me. I’m still a ten year old boy at heart, and I love airplanes and trains and the like.
There’s also a tiny memorial to the faithful K-9 contingent of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, but it’s also easy to miss if you’re not reading all the signs. It just looks like a fenced off patch of gravel.
The B-52 Memorial Park is open 7:00 AM to sunset, and is easily found with the help of Google Maps. It’s also close to the ride-share waiting lot, so you will pass a lot of loitering Uber and Lyft drivers on your way there.
Are there any hidden historical gems close to where you live?