Picture of Aircraft at the Air Zoo in Michigan

Air Zoo Blog

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Discovering Shaba with Captain Thad Darger

The Air Zoo is excited to welcome a very special guest for a Discovery Series event this Saturday evening. Former F-117 Nighthawk pilot,  Captain Thad Darger,  will be reunited with the recently completed F-117 Nighthawk (tail number 817), Shaba , and will share his exciting journey with the 8th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Wing, of Holloman Air Force Base. Captain Darger was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while flying in the stealth aircraft displayed at the... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Jul 27, 2022
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New partnership between the National Naval Aviation Museum, National Medal of Honor Museum and the Air Zoo brings historic aircraft to life for new museum

A special project that began 10 years ago, when an FM-2 Wildcat fighter plane was recovered from its 68-year slumber on the bottom of Lake Michigan, has recently taken an exciting turn as the Air Zoo Restoration Team pushes ahead for a spring 2024 completion. Conversations that began in late 2021 have led three organizations to a completion plan that is a victory for all.      Through the efforts of the National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) in Pensacola, Florida, and the... Read More
at Monday, Jul 11, 2022
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July Exhibit & Collections Update

Cosmic Contemplations  Long before we had the technology to picture space, we rendered our own versions of it. For example, in the 1940s and ‘50s, artists blended science fact with science fiction to interpret the Moon, as seen in Chesley Bonestell’s 1957 Lunar Landscape mural section. Learn more about how the images that form our vibrant new wallpaper came to be and explore the stories of the people and imaging technologies that help us photograph space... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Thursday, Jun 30, 2022
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The Air Zoo’s new Community Access Membership program helps drive reach and impact for families receiving EBT and WIC assistance in Southwest Michigan

The team at the Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Center is proud to announce an exciting addition to their Community Access Programming. The new Community Access Membership (CAM) program, which has been in the works since November of 2021, will officially launch on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. This extension of the Air Zoo’s current Museum’s For All  admission program will further support access to history, aerospace, and STEAM-based, hands-on educational opportunities to... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Tuesday, May 31, 2022
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New Paintings at the Air Zoo - "Over Europe" by Matt Milkowski

The Air Zoo acquired three new paintings at the end of 2021, from a Chicago Artist, Matt Milkwoski. Check out Over Europe on display in the Flight Innovation Canter-World War II Wing.  Matt Milkowski Over Europe oil on canvas Artist Statement Through a window, a B-17 crewman would have seen bombers gently swaying one way or another. This would occur as the hundreds of planes lumbered into position to assemble their intricate box formations. At times, collisions occurred.... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, May 30, 2022
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Oceans to Astronauts

May 6, 2022  Portage, MI  – Opportunity abounds at the Air Zoo this month as scientist and innovator, Adle Luta, joins the Air Zoo team, Thursday, May 12 th , to inspire young math and science lovers to dream big and work hard, while sharing stories of inspiration and perseverance with learners of all ages.     Join friends and neighbors for a night of storytelling involving human spaceflight and how Adele Luta’s work, including... Read More
at Friday, May 6, 2022
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New Exhibit Remembers Air Zoo Co-Founder

Get to know our co-founder, Preston “Pete” Parish in our new, inhouse exhibition Planes, Principles, & Positivity: Remembering Pete Parish now on display.  Follow Pete’s entrance into the U.S. Marines with his college best friend, Pete Richards. Learn more about Pete’s military career, including his service at Guadalcanal and Peleliu during World War II. See the model of the ship that claimed Pete’s best friend’s life, sand from Peleliu, and an... Read More
at Friday, Apr 29, 2022
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2022 Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame, and Science Innovation Hall of Fame Honorees Awarded at the Air Zoo

Michigan aerospace pioneers, students and the community met together to celebrate the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame and the Science Innovation Hall of Fame last week. See the Event Program Book . The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame enshrined the five members of the ‘Class of 2022’. The enshrinees were: Col. Eugene “Gene” Carolan - United States Army, Pilot CW4 Dennis “Doc” Hallada - United States Army, Pilot Dr. Christina Hammock Kock -... Read More
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2022 Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame, and Science Innovation Hall of Fame Honorees to be Awarded at the Air Zoo on Saturday, April 16th

Only 5 days left until the exciting return of the joint Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame and Science Innovation Hall of Fame Awards event, held annually at the Air Zoo.   Join Air Zoo staff, event sponsors, awardees, and guests for an evening of celebration and inspiration as they honor inductees and award winners. The event will be fun, light-hearted, and inspiring, dedicated to recognizing both the immense achievement of Michigan’s aerospace leaders, as well as our... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Apr 11, 2022
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We’re Not Leaving until You See This Airplane!

In an interview with 2021 Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHOF) recipient Virgil Williams, we learned more about our beloved co-founder, Pete Parish. Virgil served as the Upjohn Company’s Chief Pilot for 35 years. For 25 of those years, Pete served as Virgil’s boss and, as Virgil said, “also a good friend.” In the 1950s, the Upjohn Company recognized the need for a corporate aircraft division. The company appointed pilots Pete Parish and Ted Parfet to give wings to... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Thursday, Mar 31, 2022
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Suit Up for Women's History at the Air Zoo!

At the Air Zoo, celebrating Women’s History Month really *suits* us! That’s why it’s especially rewarding to share the story of superstar aerobatic champion, Patty Wagstaff, and her flight suit. Patty Wagstaff is a three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion—the first woman to earn the title. Patty’s flying passion soared when her father, a Japan Airlines captain, welcomed her to take the controls of his DC-6. Patty has represented America in Olympic-level... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Tuesday, Mar 1, 2022
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Stitching Up Romance at the Tuskegee Institute

When America entered World War II (1939-1945) in 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps (today’s U.S. Air Force) remained segregated. But the need for skilled pilots drove a wise decision that resulted in the Tuskegee Airmen: Black pilots who risked their lives for their country and helped crumble armed forces racial segregation. These pilots answered the recruitment call and trained at the new air base at Tuskegee, Alabama. They flew with the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group in... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Tuesday, Feb 1, 2022
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