They say you "can't be a hero in your hometown." But Richard Bong and the museum that bears his name are a testimony that you actually can. Sure, locals sometimes don't visit nearby tourist attractions, but don't discount this little museum packed with a lot of history.

Photo gallery: Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center

I went there for a lazy hour with my 8-year-old son, and we were impressed. There's a tank, an airplane, guns, uniforms and one of those giant floating naval mines like you see in "Finding Nemo." But he really geeked out over the display of military dining utensils and uniforms you can try on. Heck, he even sat down and listened to recordings made by prisoners of war and women's stories of the home front during World War II.

"Is everything here real?" he asked the man at the ticket counter on the way out. "Yeah," he assured him. "It's real."

Have a picnic in the adjacent park and playground, take a hike on the trail alongside Superior Bay, and make it an afternoon.

Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays noon to 5 p.m. through October. Winter hours (November through April) are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone: 715-392-7151. Address: 305 Harbor View Parkway. Adults $10, seniors and students $8, children $7. Free for ages 5 and younger, and for active military members. bongcenter.org