Picture of Aircraft at the Air Zoo in Michigan

Air Zoo Blog

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What's Up at the Air Zoo?

(besides aircraft and space artifacts)

We always have fun and exciting things to share with you.  Please check back often for exhibit information and openings, event details, special Air Zoo visitors, educationand  program announcements and soooo much more!

Media contact:
Nikki Statler, Director of Marketing
nstatler@airzoo.org  |  269.350.2811

"Smoe" and the P-80A on Display

We’ve added more cool jets to our outdoor aircraft display! In addition to the OV-1D Mohawk newly placed beside the S-3B Viking, we’re pleased to showcase an aircraft with one historic paint scheme.  The scheme honors Colonel Michael Smolen, aka “Smoe,” who served the in U.S. Air Force as one of six early jet trainers and made history as a member and leader of the Acrojets. Formed in 1945, this precision flying team was the first to perform in the P-80 Shooting... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021
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Impacts of the Attacks: Thinking Back 20 Years on September 11, 2001, and the Air Zoo

Twenty years ago, during the hot and humid summer of 2001, a host of visiting airplanes filled the sky during the gala Warbirds Over Kalamazoo. The B-17 Yankee Lady flew in, Otto the Airshow Helicopter performed and provided rides, and Waldo Wright Flying Service’s New Standard Biplane offered a weekend of vintage adventures. The late Dale Snodgrass dazzled the crowd with a low pass in his T-6 while the Army National Guard presented Blue Thunder. As flight enthusiasts kept their eyes to... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Sep 1, 2021
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Open Cockpits in September this year!

Open Cockpits at the Air Zoo Typically, February marks and exciting month for the Air Zoo and its community with the annual Open Cockpits event, which allows guests to get up close and personal with some of their most beloved aircraft. Due to the necessary safety precautions that were in place as a result of COVID-19, 2021's Open Cockpit Month was postponed to September!  Visit the Air Zoo each weekend in September (2021)  for your chance to get up close and personal... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Aug 16, 2021
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Historic Flying Fortress to Visit Air Zoo in Honor the Heroes Tour

The Air Zoo is preparing to welcome their 3 rd visiting aircraft of the summer. The Boeing B-17G “Yankee Lady ,” will visit the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Center’s Flight Discovery Center, beginning Friday August 13, 2021.  The estimated time of arrival is 12:30PM and will stay until late Saturday afternoon.  This incredible aircraft last visited the Air Zoo May 31st - June 2nd of 2019, as part of the Air Zoo’s 40 th Anniversary... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Aug 11, 2021
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Go West, Mr. Parish

In the late 1940s, Air Zo co-founder Preston “Pete” Parish (1919-2020) averaged 3,000 miles a month en route from San Diego to Vancouver; Spokane to Salt Lake City; Phoenix to Los Angeles—but not by air!  Pete traveled by train, bus, and infrequently by car in a job he particularly enjoyed: Sales. Based out of Los Angeles, Pete found the work a pleasure. “I had a wonderful time,” he said in a 2001 oral history interview. Before relocating to... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Friday, Jul 30, 2021
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C-47 that led the main D-Day airborne invasion of Normandy visits the Air Zoo – tours and rides available

The Air Zoo is honored to welcome the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Central Texas Wing and their historic C-47, “That’s All, Brother,” to Kalamazoo.  The crew will land at the Air Zoo’s Flight Discovery Center on Sunday, August 1st at approximately 11am.  “That’s All, Brother” will be available for tours and rides Monday, August 2 nd through Thursday August 5 th .  They will then head to Evansville, IN, the last stop on their 2021 Tour.... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Friday, Jul 30, 2021
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A Table, a Timeline, and the Visual Representation of Gender at the Air Zoo

Designed to serve as the hub of the Air Zoo’s Women in Air & Space exhibit series, our Women in Air & Space Interactive Timeline not only allowed us to share the stories of more than 50 inspirational women with our guests, but it also called upon a commitment to expanding diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and the visual representation of gender on our exhibit floor. Just as we began to dream our women’s timeline into action, the Air Zoo received a... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Jul 12, 2021
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Creating Community in 2021

A letter from Troy - Eight years ago, as I embarked on a new career at an aviation museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan, one of the first people I had the chance to get to know was Pete Parish. It was from Pete that I learned about the dream that inspired the Air Zoo and the vision our founders had for using the Air Zoo to strengthen our community for future generations. Nearly a year after Pete’s death, it is still hard to think about the Air Zoo without him. Pete was one of the most... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Friday, Jul 9, 2021
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Bolles Breaks Barriers

When choosing stories for our new, inhouse exhibit, Women in Air & Space Interactive Timeline, we sought to present a panorama of women of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and abilities. Co-funders for the exhibit, the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and the IF/THEN Initiative/Lyda Hill Philanthropies, introduced us to an amazing group of diverse women making contributions in their air and space careers today. Among the IF/THEN ambassadors we discovered, NASA’s... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Tuesday, Jun 29, 2021
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Air Zoo hosts Family Health Center - 2 Dose Pfizer Clinic

Family Health Center (FHC) will be on location at Air Zoo to provide the first dose of FREE Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines on Friday, June 25th, 10am-1pm.  Second doses will be available on Friday, July 16th, 10 am-1 pm.  Participants will receive a FREE Air Zoo pass for an upcoming visit of their choice. In an effort to end COVID-19 in the Kalamazoo community, many organizations like FHC and the Air Zoo are partnering and finding innovative ways to incentivize... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Friday, Jun 11, 2021
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The Air Zoo's Fund Your Favorite restoration campaign soars toward the finish line with announcement of two major gifts

In April, the Air Zoo announced a massive fundraising competition to complete the restoration of the Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless (Bu. No. 2173) and the F-117 Nighthawk Shaba (tail number 817) in 2021. In just two short months, the museum’s donors stepped up to the challenge and raised nearly $10,000 towards the completion of the restoration of these historic aircraft.   Fueled by the energy in the community, the Tyler Little Family Foundation joined in the cause and pledged an... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Thursday, Jun 10, 2021
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Hands-on traveling exhibit at the Air Zoo puts YOU in the astronaut’s seat!

Space exploration just took an exciting turn at the Air Zoo in Portage, MI, with the recent addition of an interactive traveling summer exhibit named “Be the Astronaut.” This hands-on and highly immersive experience is well-suited for space fans of all ages and will be on site for guests through September 12, 2021.  Air Zoo visitors will have the opportunity to experience the wonders of space as they are guided through three training stations by virtual spaceflight experts,... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Jun 7, 2021
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