Just 25 miles south of Tucson sits one of the most unique, and impressive, museums in the nation. With the official title of Air Force Facility Missile Site 8 while it was in use, the Titan Missile Museum preserves what was once a working launch site of a Titan II ICBM missile and allows the general public to take a glimpse at Cold War history.
See the Missile the Way You Want
Once housing the nation’s largest nuclear weapon, Missile Site 8 is the last remaining location of the 54 Titan II missile sites that were active for over 20 years from 1963 to 1987. Once one of the most secret places in the United States, this museum now welcomes visitors from all over the world to learn about the rise of nuclear deterrence and the uncertain times of the Cold War.
There are a variety of tour options for those wanting to see the Titan II missile for themselves. It should be noted that the missile is obviously no longer active and the launch doors have been restricted from opening more than partially. The most common tour is the one-hour guided tour of the missile. This gives visitors the chance to experience a simulated missile launch as well as view the missile from the side and from above. The next level of tour is called “Beyond the Blast Door” and takes visitors to parts of the site that are otherwise restricted to guests. This includes descending over 100 feet into the silo and getting to actually stand on the launch duct itself, viewing the missile from below.
Getting Up Close to the Titan II
For those who want the full missile site experience, there is the “Titan Top-to-Bottom Tour.” While it is much longer than the standard one-hour guided tour, visitors have a chance to see all 8 levels of the missile site and experience what day-to-day operations would have looked like across all facets of the Titan II site. There is also the option to stay overnight with the “Titan Overnight Experience” so that you can see for yourself what it must have felt like to sleep underground next to the most dangerous missile in existence. For this, however, a sixty-day notice is required for reservations, and it is only allowed a limited amount every year, so spots fill up fast.
Going that far underground is enough to make anyone claustrophobic. Once you’ve completed your tour, head for the great outdoors and see what Arizona’s deserts and mountains have to offer. Whether you are taking a guided ATV tour, looking for the best hikes around, or simply wanting to enjoy the sun, Arizona has plenty to do for the whole family.