Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review on Air Zoo in Portage MI

To break up our trip to Northern Michigan, we made a stop at the Air Zoo.
It's an aviation museum (air and space craft).
It's great for homeschoolers, kids, adults - no one is leaving this place unhappy.
The price is so reasonable. For the five of us basic admission was only $24.

We started our visit off by looking at the aircraft. Brant and Mason are very into "army guy stuff." So they liked aircraft such as the Bell AH-1J Sea Cobra. But loved the faces on the Curtiss XP-55 Ascender and Bell P-39 Airacobra. We all loved seeing the Lockheed SR-71B Blackbird. It's a spy plane - it's the coolest!!! The star aircraft in Top Gun, F-14 Tomcat, has a home here as well.

Lucky for us February is "Open Cockpit Month."
So the boys got to sit inside a North American AT-6 Texan. The volunteers there were so nice, gave us just enough info about what we were seeing - not overwhelming us with info at all. They were very passionate people, it made the visit so enjoyable.

I have to say the art in this place is remarkable. There is a 28,800-square-foot hand-painted indoor mural that I could have spent hours looking at. Apparently the mural was created by renowned flight artist Rick Herter (and his assistant Tony Hendrick); the project took 14 months to complete.

Any wall you look at has something awesome on it. I don't have any pictures of the mural but below is a picture of Jaxon playing in the Kids Korner. Behind him is a space mural inside that room - so cool!! The boys and I only see tiny pictures of planets in our books and this gave me a chance to show them the craters, the colors of the planets, etc.
The Kids Korner is a great area because the kids can do a craft, ride on small rides (for free and unlimited), play with toy air planes, etc.

Next we visited the World War ll artifact display - the boys LOVED the guns of course! This section has metals, guns, bullets, uniforms, all sorts of stuff. My grandfather, who survived D-Day, would have loved to be with my boys as we looked at this incredible collection.

Air Zoo also has a National Guadalcanal Memorial Museum. Below is from their website:
One of the longest and bloodiest campaigns of World War II, the Guadalcanal campaign is known as the psychological and geographical turning point of land war in the Pacific.
This nationally-recognized memorial commemorates the experience with a large collection of artifacts, insightful dioramas, first-hand narratives and the Wall of Honor, memorializing 20 men who earned the Medal of Honor for their sacrifices on the island.

The boys LOVED the space wing and I did as well. I can't wait to come back when the boys are older so they have a better understanding of the replicas. For example I'm explaining to Brant why the astronauts have to sleep standing up or why the silverware is stuck to the wall with velcro and all I see is this confused little face staring back at me...but we'll get there.
Anyway the space wing has cool things like a space suit, Destiny Module, Moon Rock and Lunar Rover, etc.

The Air Zoo also Amusement-style rides such as the Paratrooper Jump and Montgolfier Balloon Race (pic below is from website) as well as full-motion flight simulators, a 4-D theater and much more. The whole family had such a fun time I can't wait to go back!!

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