Patrons view the 787 exhibit at the Boeing Future of Flight at Paine Field on Oct. 8, 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Patrons view the 787 exhibit at the Boeing Future of Flight at Paine Field on Oct. 8, 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

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Boeing’s Future of Flight at Paine Field reopens — for 2nd time

State coronavirus restrictions have closed the aviation center twice in the past year. It’s open again.

MUKILTEO — It’s been touch-and-go for the Boeing Future of Flight exhibit and events building that overlooks Paine Field.

The aviation center closed a year ago due to COVID-19. Seven months later, in October, it reopened in a limited way. But it was a short haul. Renewed state restrictions on indoor gatherings closed the facility a second time in November.

The good news is Boeing Future of Flight, at 8415 Paine Field Boulevard in Mukilteo, has reopened. It’s now open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Monday.

Masks are required for anyone over age 2. Visitor capacity is limited to 25% of normal. Entry times may be staggered due to those limits.

Visitors can shop at the Boeing Store without a ticket. However, the Paper Plane Cafe — also accessible without a ticket — is shuttered temporarily while it undergoes renovation.

The Boeing Factory Tour, which was temporarily closed in March 2020, remains so. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular tour drew some 300,000 visitors each year. In February 2020, it welcomed its 6 millionth visitor.

Aki Hiko plays the flight simulator at the Boeing Future of Flight Musuem at Paine Field on Oct. 8, 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Aki Hiko plays the flight simulator at the Boeing Future of Flight Musuem at Paine Field on Oct. 8, 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

A ticket gives visitors access to the exhibit gallery and outdoor Sky Deck, with panoramic views of Paine Field, the Everett assembly plant and the North Cascades. Ticket prices range from $6 for children 6 to 15 years old, to $12 for adults.

A large portion of the gallery is devoted to autonomous aircraft — designs that can carry one to four passengers. New exhibits include a drone-piloting practice space and a giant circular screen suspended from the ceiling that depicts a simulated flight from Earth to Mars.

Some activities for adults and children, such as indoor drone-flying and robotic coding, have resumed. Boeing assumed control of the Future of Flight in 2018 after negotiating a long-term lease with Snohomish County, which owns the building.

The center opened in 2005. It was previously operated by a nonprofit, the Institute of Flight.

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