Things To Do at the Air Zoo | Kalamazoo, MI

Things To Do

Everyone is invited to imagine, explore and discover at the Air Zoo!


Exhibits & Experiences

From hands-on learning exhibits like our FLEXHIBITS, KEVA Creation Stations, Imagination Playground, and flight simulators to the history of Guadalcanal, Dare to Dream, and the heroes of Michigan aviation, the Air Zoo is committed to bringing you intriguing exhibits, memorable experiences and the desire to come back for more! Check out some of the exciting things your Air Zoo has to offer!


All the experiences!

Flight Simulators!

3D Full-Motion Flight Simulators

Strap in and take hold of the controls as you perform full-motion loops, rolls and dives while dogfighting in a fighter plane, or performing aerobatics in a high-performance stunt plane. Presented in amazing high-definition 3D it's the closest thing to real flight without having to leave the ground!


Doron Flight Simulator -  Take a ride and experience two amazing adventures!


Corsair Challenge (approximately 4 minutes)

Passengers experience one of the most unique fighter aircraft of the World War II era. This flight simulation will take you on a colorful autumn journey over beautiful Southwest Michigan in the Air Zoo's Goodyear FG-1D Corsair.


Barnstormers 2000 (approximately 4 minutes)

Fly as one of fifteen barnstormer planes in this exciting simulator. Whiz past a control tower, through deep canyons, observe a volcano and race a speeding train!

 

Indoor Amusement Park Rides!

Century of Flight Ferris Wheel - Take a ride in this majestic 26-foot indoor Ferris wheel as you learn about the decades of flight and get a pretty awesome view of the exhibits! Anyone under 36" must be accompanied by an adult and must be able to sit on their own and not on the adult's lap.

Flying Circus Biplane Ride - Kids of all ages will enjoy steering their own colorful Flying Circus biplane as they enjoy the thrill of barnstorming with the wind in their hair.  Anyone under 36" must be accompanied by an adult and must be able to sit on their own and not on the adult's lap.

Montgolfier Balloon Race - Celebrate the invention of the hot air balloon as you fly through the air in our Montgolfier Balloon Race ride. Fun for riders of all ages! Anyone under 48" must be accompanied by an adult and must be able to sit on their own and not on the adult's lap.

Paratrooper Jump - Feel the sensation of weightlessness (about 1/2 G), as you are dropped at random intervals from a height of two stories... for a moment, you will feel just like a paratrooper with a parachute! All riders must be at least 36" tall (with or without an adult).


Biplane Rides! (May - September 30)

From mid-May through September each year, the Air Zoo and Waldo Wright's Flying Service partner to offer Air Zoo guests unique, once-in-a-lifetime, barnstorming flight experiences! Waldo's open cockpit New Standard D-25 Biplane seats up to FOUR, and aspiring pilots who choose to fly in the Stearman trainer have the opportunity to take the controls and live out a dream!

Biplane gift certificates make great gifts!   Visit waldowrights.com to choose your plane and call (863) 873-1339 to purchase your certificate today!


Missions Theater

Check out an engaging flick in the Air Zoo's Missions Theater. This Quonset hut theater was recently upgraded, and offers visitors three different experiences per day: Fly Me to the Moon, Heroes on Deck and Salute to Heroes! Watch our events calendar for new additions as we head into 2019 and celebrate 40 years in our community! Interested in hosting your own presentation in our Missions Theater? Call an Air Zoo Group & Events member for more information at (269) 350-2848 or contact them now!

 

Check out all the other fun activities we have for kids. From Super Science Saturdays to summer camps and scouting the Air Zoo is a great place for kids to experience the excitement of science and aerospace.
 


Incredible Exhibits:

New Exhibits -

Memories & Milestones Exhibit AdMemories and Milestones: Forty Years of the Air Zoo

Guess who’s turning 40? In 2019, the Air Zoo celebrates four decades of flight and family; people, planes, and programs; spacecraft and science; education and exhibitions! Please join us as we flip through forty years of Air Zoo scrapbooks in our special anniversary exhibition Memories and Milestones. We’re pulling out some Air Zoo firsts, including the first admission tickets, and looking back at the early days through an array of vintage photographs.

Explore the story of our co-founders, Sue and Pete Parish, and learn about the first objects that made up our collection—all too big to fit in an archival box! Recall the thrill of our High On Kalamazoo air shows, including the iconic Cat Flight! We’ll introduce you to the famous faces that have visited us and to the people who’ve made and make the Air Zoo soar. Add your favorite Air Zoo memories to those of our staff, interns, and volunteers and thumb through all sorts of Air Zoo history with our digital scrapbook. Highlights include a look at the growth of our education programs, attractions and exhibitions, restoration efforts, archives, collections, and library. Stories begin in the Flight Innovation Center main hall, and extend throughout our entire site. Come see where we’ve been and what we’ve got planned as we look ahead to the next 40 years!

D-Day 75 Exhibit AdD-Day 75: En Route by Plane and Parachute

The Allied invasion of northern France on June 6, 1944—the largest seaborne invasion in world history—required air power and air defense for success. As America reflects on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Air Zoo presents an exhibition which explores the invasion through the lens of all things air.

Visitors will see D-Day through the eyes of POWs, glider pilot Darlyle Watters and paratrooper George Rosie, and through artifacts from the Air Zoo’s collection, including aircraft in the Flight Innovation Center, such as the P-47 Thunderbolt, C-47 Skytrain, and WACO CG-4A. View P-47 gun camera footage, find out what paratroopers wore as they leapt from C-47s, and get to know how Allied forces hauled men, machines, and medicine to Normandy in the sky in what some called a “plywood coffin” during that historic operation.

Local and Michigan-based companies who supported air power and defense will be featured, such as Gibson Guitars. Uncover the secret to the paratrooper’s boot heel. Learn how invasion stripes helped pilots fend off friendly fire when the skies were awash with aircraft and find out how many stripes you can “paint” against a ticking stopwatch! You’ll leave aware of how essential pilots, planes, and parachutes were to Allied success.

Apollo 11 Exhibit AdvertisementApo11o:

The Apollo 11 moon  landing, which put the first two humans on the moon on July 20, 1969, not only made history but also served as a moment shared by a nation. Today, many Midwesterners recall tuning in on the evening of the NASA broadcast as the lunar module, the Eagle, came in for a landing (hence, "The Eagle has landed!").  To celebrate 50 years since that cosmically cool lunar adventure, we’ll recreate that nationally-shared, public memory with a typical suburban living room plucked right out of the summer of ‘69! Relax on the sofa with your family and watch the moon landing broadcast on a console TV. Explore the Apollo 11 story inside and outside the immersive living room. Find out about the teamwork it took to put two people on the moon and learn more about the ways the space program impacted American life in the late 1960s and how it shaped the technologies we know today.

 
Featured Exhibits -

Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHOF)

The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHOF) honors more than 140 men and women for their outstanding contributions and achievements to aviation and/or space. They had a vision and followed their dreams with determination and triumph. The MAHOF is committed to recognizing these enshrinees as role models, as they inspire today's youth to follow their own vision and achieve excellence, no matter what their field of choice.
 

Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight

Take a visual journey through African-American contributions to flight... When the Wright brothers signaled the arrival of the new air age with their historic flight in 1903, they sparked America's fascination with and exploration of the skies. While many African Americans were enthusiastic about flight, they still faced racial discrimination and were denied access to formal training as pilots and mechanics. The Smithsonian exhibition Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight chronicles the powerful group of aviation pioneers who challenged these obstacles and created their own legacy in the world of flight, and is now permanently housed at the Air Zoo!
 

Women in Aviation and Space

This exhibit honors women in aviation and space, such as astronaut Sally Ride and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and Air Zoo founder Suzanne Parish. It shines a light on the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), who were the first women in history to fly U.S. military aircraft, and highlights the contributions they made to fight for America's freedom. It showcases original uniforms, a visual history mural, photo collages, a timeline and a unique mosaic, which includes each of the 1,102 WASP plus Jacqueline Cochran, founder of the WASP.
 

Space: Dare to Dream

Space: Dare to Dream pays tribute to the dreamers who dared to find the answers to our very existence and shaped humankind's knowledge of our place in the universe. This exhibit celebrates those innovators' amazing discoveries and the history of space exploration. Visitors are able to explore Galileo's study, learn about ancient cosmology and experience the rumbling liftoff of Saturn V as it leaves Earth.

 

Guadalcanal Memorial Exhibit

Experience the Air Zoo's multi-sensory and immersive exhibit on the battles of the Guadalcanal Campaign, one of the longest and bloodiest campaigns of World War II. The Guadalcanal campaign is known as the psychological and geographical turning point of the land war in the Pacific. Guests experience the sights and sounds of these important battles. Exhibit includes a full-size bunker replica, hands-on activities, rare and unique artifacts, insightful dioramas, first-hand narratives, the Wall of Honor memorializing 20 men who earned the Medal of Honor for their sacrifices on the island, and much, much more.

 

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