ABC57 Road Trip: Take flight at Kalamazoo's Air Zoo

ABC57 Road Trip: Take flight at Kalamazoo’s Air Zoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - ABC57 Road Trip is hitting the highway once again!

Our crew traveled across state lines to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The zoo has been home to all things aviation for more than four decades.

Suzanne Parish and Pete Parish, the co-founders of the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, opened their doors as just a small hangar more than 40 years ago, today is known as the air zoo – 200,000 square feet of flight paradise.

"The Air Zoo was started really with five aircraft, and they were all named after animals like a wild cat and a war hawk," said Troy Thrash the President and CEO of the Air Zoo. "So since then, we have grown from five aircraft to over 100 rare and unique aircraft and spacecraft."

The Air Zoo home to all thing’s aviation from air….

"We have aircraft that started World War One with a spot and the Sop with Camel going all the way to the SR 71 blackbird the fastest aircraft to ever fly," said Thrash. "Then adjacent to hear we have a world war two area…We have about 15 World War two aircraft to get up close and personal with."

To space…

"Starting with the fathers of modern rocketry, and going to get to learn C space capsules of Gemini and Mercury and Apollo, the space shuttle, the International Space Station, including our own moonrock."

The museum also features aviation-themed rides and interactive experiences like state-of-the-art flight simulators that allow you to take control of an airplane.

"I really like it a lot…we were just on the flight simulator and you’re able to control it and it flips around wherever you move it," said student visitor Aydeen Gagliardo.

The hands-on experience is based on a STEAM education - science-technology-engineering-art-and math - especially centered around kids.

"We actually do home school so this was a perfect opportunity for him to learn more about the space program and the flights and to see the airplanes," added Aydeen’s mom Chelsea Rice.

The one-of-a-kind museum completely immerses you in the whole flight experience, from the largest mural in the world detailing the history of aviation, to engaging displays throughout exhibits.

It's the perfect place for aviation and space lovers of all ages.

"It’s amazing, it's grown so much. I actually, when I came it was like 15 years ago and it was not near what it is now. So it’s really cool seeing it, and seeing all the fun stuff to do and for him to interact, it’s great," Rice explained.

"So lots of things to do in our 200,000 square feet of exhibit space here at the air zoo," added Thrash.

The Air Zoo also features a theater, classrooms for students, and has another exhibit space where they restore planes and allow volunteers to be hands on.

Click here to learn more and plan your visit.

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