Discovering Michigan’s Magic: Cassondra Wanders’ Adventure Series

Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Experience

Nestled in the charming city of Portage, Michigan, Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Experience (Air Zoo) is a world-class museum and science education center. A testament to the history of aviation and aerospace exploration, Air Zoo invites visitors to discover the wonders of flight.  

Igniting imaginations through engaging and immersive exhibits, from hot air balloons, to vintage aircrafts and cutting-edge spacecrafts, the museum’s collection spans the entire spectrum of aviation history. Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and educational outing, Air Zoo offers something for everyone.  

Air Zoo has evolved from a modest aircraft collection into a world-class aerospace museum. Suzanne and Pete Parish’s passion for preserving the legacy of aviation history, has cemented Air Zoo as a premier destination in the Heart of Southwest Michigan.  

After serving with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), Suzanne Parish married Pete Parish, a former WWII Marine Air Corps Aviator. The two curated a collection of aircrafts and opened as The Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum in November 1979. The founding collection included a Wildcat, Hellcat, Bearcat, and Flying Tiger. With all the wild animal aircrafts, it was quite fitting how the name Air Zoo quickly caught on.  

Originally a nine-plane hangar exhibit, Air Zoo now features over 100 rare aircraft and spacecraft. Visitors can marvel at iconic planes like a SR-71 Blackbird and F-14 Tomcat. Boasting over 100,000 square feet of museum space, Air Zoo spans across 2 facilities. The museum’s Restoration Center is within the Flight Discovery Center where the team stays busy 7 days a week, restoring historical artifacts in public view. Current conservation efforts include two WWII aircrafts recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan.  

In addition to its impressive aircraft collection, Air Zoo has acquired more than 100,000 rare artifacts and archives. By meticulously restoring vintage aircrafts and preserving these artifacts, the museum provides a tangible link to the past. Curating exhibits honoring the achievements of pioneering aviators and offering invaluable insights into the evolution of aviation.  

Air Zoo’s immersive exhibits offer a hands-on experience unlike any other. From science experimentation stations to full-motion flight simulations and open cockpits, exhibits are designed to spark curiosity and encourage imaginations to explore aerodynamics.  

Get a feel for what it was like to fly famous aircrafts from history, with open cockpits. Climb behind the stick for a real “pilot’s eye” view from the seat of an aircraft. 

Step into the world of virtual reality with Air Zoo’s flight simulators. Fly in a safe, controlled environment, and choose from various aircraft, realistic simulations of take-offs, landing and aerial maneuvers. Battle against giant robots, embark on a spacewalk mission or engage in aerial dogfight over the Pacific Ocean, Air Zoo’s virtual adventures offer a thrilling way to experience aviation and space exploration. 

A variety of indoor amusement park-style rides are included with museum admission. Get a spectacular aerial view of the museum aboard a 26-foot Century of Flight Ferris Wheel. Fly through the sky on Montgolfier Balloon Race ride, steer a Flying Circus Biplane and feel the weightlessness of parachuting on Paratrooper Jump.  

At Toddler Tarmac, Air Zoo’s indoor children’s play area, imaginations soar with various hands-on activities tailored to engage young visitors. Little Aviators are sure to have a blast at this dynamic aerospace museum. Air Zoo has something interactive for everyone to enjoy.  

Air Zoo promises an unforgettable experience all year-round. Admission prices vary depending on age and membership status, with discounts available for seniors, military personnel, and groups. Museum galleries are wagon, stroller and wheelchair friendly. Ample free and accessible parking is available for all visitors. Upon check-in, guests may request wheelchairs and wagons to use, free of charge.  

Fuel up during your visit at Kitty Hawk Cafe, serving grab-n-go items, snacks, sandwiches, and other made-to-order options. Take home some extra cargo and stop by the Fly Buy Gift Shop for gifts and souvenirs, an online store is also available.   


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