Don’t know what to do on your next day off? Why not fill that time by exploring the 200,000 square feet of exhibit space waiting to be enjoyed at the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Center (Air Zoo)?
Since June 2020, the Air Zoo has been fully open to the public. That means patrons can visit and interact with more than 100 airplanes and spacecraft, aviation-themed rides and flight simulators, a big-screen theatre, hands-on exhibits, the Kitty Hawk Café, and the Fly Buy Gift Shop. In addition to these attractions, the museum has also opened several new permanent exhibits.
Visitors can learn about a variety of topics including Alien Worlds and Androids, Amelia Earhart, the real-life women that inspired Rosie the Riveter, and Women in Air & Space. The museum is also refurbishing several classic aircraft for the public to see.
“We are restoring two WWII airplanes that had both been on the bottom of Lake Michigan for 65 years,” President and CEO Troy Thrash shared. “One of the planes served in Pearl Harbor and once it is restored, it will be sent home to the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum in Hawaii for a dedication on the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
In addition to these classics, the Air Zoo is also restoring a slightly more modern aircraft, an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter.
“We are proud to be the first non-government museum in the world to display the historic F-117,” Thrash said of the aircraft. “We are currently restoring it on our exhibit floor.”
If space travel is more your speed, then you won’t want to miss out on the Air Zoo’s “Be the Astronaut” exhibit. Broken into three parts, visitors first choose between travelling to the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, or the asteroid belt and learn how rockets get off the ground. Then they discover what it would take to live in each environment. Finally, visitors hop into a simulator that places them in the cockpit of a spacecraft and the driver seat of a rover.
“This exhibit uses actual data collected by NASA, so all of the simulations are ‘real’ in the sense that they use the topographical data that build real simulations of these surfaces,” Thrash explained. “It is an immersive, hands-on exhibit that will be here until September 12.”
In-person summer camps and educational programs have also made their triumphant return to the Air Zoo’s list of offerings. Twenty different camps that run the gamut of science and technology, including geology, biology, aviation, space, and engineering, are available for children of all ages.
We are so glad to see the Air Zoo back at full capacity and be able to experience these incredible exhibits!
Did this article make you consider becoming a member of the Air Zoo? Among other benefits, members receive unlimited annual museum admission, discounts at local businesses, and family memberships and up are treated as members at more than 1,200 museums and science centers worldwide. For more information, visit the Air Zoo’s membership page.