Air Zoo
The Air Zoo — formerly known as the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum — is located just down the street from the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport and only minutes from downtown Kalamazoo in Portage, Michigan. It is the first museum of its kind in the world with its "museum-meets-indoor-amusement-park" theme. It boasts many historical and rare aircraft, including the world's fastest air-breathing aircraft, the SR-71B Blackbird. Many of its antique planes are airworthy.

History
The Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum was founded in 1977 under the idea that it would be: "Dedicated to preserving and displaying historical and military artifacts and to serving as a research and educational facility for this country and abroad." The doors opened on November 18, 1979 to great local acclaim, and the museum quickly developed into the tenth-largest nongovernmental aviation museum in the United States. In 1994 the Restoration Center was added, changing the museum's role from only displaying to restoring and rebuilding old aircraft to proper working order. This helped Kalamazoo to gain credibility and to be recognized as one of the country's premier aviation attractions. In early 1999, the moniker "Air Zoo" was adopted and as the leaders began plans for a major reconstruction. On April 25, 2003, construction began on a new 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m 2) facility that would double its original size and boast vintage aircraft, flight simulators, amusement rides, Smithsonian exhibitions, character actors, and a 4-D theater, which combines 3-D filmmaking with special effects such as rocking chairs and plumes of smoke simulating anti-aircraft fire. Bob Ellis, executive director for the Air Zoo, spoke with reporters when the new facility opened in April 2004: "The new Air Zoo doesn't just teach people about history, it surrounds them with it. There will always be something new to see. Because of our partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, the Air Zoo has access to over 142 million artifacts and an endless source of world-famous traveling exhibitions." The new building also holds a world record. The largest indoor mural greets visitors as soon as they enter with a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m 2) tribute to the history of flight. Creator and aviation artist Rick Herter named the mural "Century of Flight". Tony Hendrick serves as the project's assistant artist and had this to say: "I want people to walk inside the Air Zoo and escape to another place in time, the mural helps them do that by making the physical walls seem to disappear." Miriel Williams, sub-contracted by Mr. Herter, completed the 168-foot (51 m) "Night to Day" mural located on the wall opposite "Century of Flight". This unique mural, positioned between "Century of Flight" and a computer generated background on an adjacent wall, adds the finishing touch, and creates a stunning mystical effect. Stuart Claxton, research manager for Guinness, was on hand to officially induct the mural into the Guinness Book of World Records, saying: "Guinness World Records is all about celebrating ordinary, everyday people who do extraordinary things. Today we congratulate the Air Zoo and artists Rick Herter and Tony Hendrick for developing a mural that is not only breathtaking, but it also has set a Guinness World Record as the largest indoor mural." In June 2007, the Michigan Space & Science Center opened in the old building (East Campus). The building features several artifacts from the defunct Jackson Space Center and features several attractions as well as a World War II Aircraft display.

Rides/Attractions at the AIR ZOO
MISSIONS Theatre-Salute To Heroes-Located in the AIR ZOO's Main Campus, the MISSIONS Theatre-Salute To Heroes is one of the highlight attractions at the museum. The MISSIONS Theatre was the first attraction of its kind in the Midwest. It's a 4D theatre with a 180 degree looming screen. The theatre is inside of an authentically recreation of a World War II Quonsett hut. The Salute to Heroes Experience puts you in the middle of a World War II bombing mission over Nazi Germany. The attraction is designed to recreate the feeling of being part of the crew of the "Kalamazoo Gal" B-17 through a mission. Not only do objects pop out of the screen towards you, but your seats also move and you can feel and smell everything that is happening. The Video itself was developed through a combination of 3D Computer animation and live actors. It was developed by the AI Group of the United Kingdom. Montgolfier Brother's Balloon Ride (Main Campus)-The first flight made by man was in a Hot-Air Balloon by the Montgolfier Brothers. Experience a flight in a hot-air balloon in this spinning family ride built by Zierer. Flying Circus- (Main Campus) A kiddie/family Barnstormer ride built by Zierer. Take the controls of a stunt biplane as you rotate around the centerpiece. Sentinels At Sea MaxFlight Missions- (Main Campus)Take the controls of one of four simulators themed to Navy Flying near your favorite Navy aircraft. These simulators were designed by MaxFlight and pitch 360 degrees in full motion and dogfight other aircraft. Beginning in late 2008, many aircraft were added to the selection list for flight. It is no longer just an F/A-18 simulator. Journey's Beyond- (Main Campus) This 3D Simulator will take you through a Space Mission. Blasting off from Cape Canaveral and docking with the International Space Station. Once docked, you will take a virtual tour of the station and see the last component added to it. From there, you will then undock and go through re-entry before touching down at the Shuttle Landing Strip. With your Mission Complete, you will leave the simulator in awe of what you just experienced. The film for this simulator was also developed by the AI Group. A Trip to Mars- Located in the Space & Science Center "A Trip to Mars" is the Newest Simulator at the AIR ZOO. The simulator simulates a mission to Mars and lasts approximately 5 Minutes. During the simulation, guests will experience what might be NASA's next generation of space vehicles. Zero Gravity- An S&S Power Frog Hopper ride located at the Space & Science Center. Space Ball-A 2-Person Gyroscope ride located at the Space & Science Center. Space Walk (Space & Science Center)-This Attraction allows guests to walk treads around a cylinder and change direction much like astronauts do. Space Sick- (Space & Science Center) This is actually one attraction designed to make you sick. This attraction is meant to simulate what astronauts experience in their first few days of weightlessness.

List of planes on display

Manufacturer Model Popular Name Loan Status Aeronca 65 CA Chief N/A Aeronca O-58B Defender (Grasshopper) N/A Beech T-34 Mentor National Museum of the Marine Corps Bell AH-1J SeaCobra (HueyCobra) National Museum of the Marine Corps Bell RP-39Q Airacobra N/A Boeing 727 N/A N/A Boeing Stearman PT-13 Kaydet N/A Cessna L-19 Bird Dog National Museum of the Marine Corps Chance Vought F-8J Crusader N/A Curtiss (Replica) Curtiss Model D Pusher N/A N/A Curtiss (Replica) JN-4 "Jenny" N/A Curtiss P-40N Warhawk N/A Curtiss XP-55 Ascender National Air & Space Museum/Smithsonian Institution Douglas A4D Skyhawk N/A Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider N/A Douglas C-47 Skytrain / GooneyBird / Dakota N/A Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless N/A Eastern GM (Grumman) FM-2 Wildcat N/A Fairchild (Howard) PT-23 Cornell N/A Fokker (Replica) Dr.I Triplane N/A Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor N/A Gates Model 23 Learjet N/A Goodyear (Vought) FG-1D Corsair N/A Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat N/A Grumman F-11A Tiger National Museum of the Marine Corps Grumman F-14A Tomcat National Museum of Naval Aviation Grumman OV-1D Mohawk N/A Grumman TF-9J Cougar National Museum of the Marine Corps Heath N/A Parasol N/A Hiller UH-12 N/A Private Individual Hiller H-23 Raven N/A Hispano (Messerschmitt) HA-1112-M1L C.4K-100 Buchon N/A Homebuilt Avid Flyer N/A N/A Homebuilt F4U Corsair (1/2 scale) N/A Homebuilt (Lockheed) P-38 Lightning (60% replica) N/A Homebuilt N/A Longster N/A Homebuilt ( Murphy) N/A Renegade Spirit N/A Homebuilt (Pereira) X-28A Air Skimmer (Osprey) N/A Homebuilt (Wolf) N/A Boredom Fighter N/A Howard GH-2 Nightingale National Museum of the Marine Corps Laister-Kauffmann TG-4A Trainer Glider Another Organization Lockheed F-104C Starfighter National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Lockheed T-33A Thunderbird N/A Lockheed SR-71B Blackbird National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Martin (Brit. Elec.) B-57B Canberra National Museum of the U.S. Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom National Museum of the U.S. Air Force McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet National Museum of the Marine Corps Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot (NATO designation) N/A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed (NATO designation) N/A Naval Aircraft Factory N3N Yellow Peril National Museum of the Marine Corps North American AT-6G Texan Private Individual North American B-25H 43-4899 Mitchell N/A North American F-86F Sabre National Museum of the Marine Corps North American P-51D Mustang (Winter Only) Private Individual North American SNJ-5 Texan N/A North American T-28 Trojan N/A North American Boilerplate Gemini Test Vehicle El Kabong National Air & Space Museum/Smithsonian Institution Piasecki HUP-3 Retriever National Museum of Naval Aviation Piasecki UH-25 Mule National Museum of Naval Aviation Piper L-4H Grasshopper(Cub) Private Individual Piper J-3 Cub N/A Republic F-84F Thunderstreak N/A Republic P-47D Thunderbolt N/A Ryan PT-22 Recruit N/A Schweizer LNS-1 (TG-2) Trainer Glider National Museum of the Marine Corps S.P.A.D. SPAD 7 SPAD N/A Sopwith F.1 Camel (fuselage only) Private Individual Sun Standard G Ratio 4:1 Hang Glider N/A Timm N2T-1 Tutor National Museum of the Marine Corps Travel Air Type-R Mystery Ship Private Individual Vultee BT-13 Valiant National Museum of the Marine Corps WACO (Ford) CG-4A Hadrian (British name) N/A WACO INF N/A N/A WACO VPF-7 lN/A N/A N/A Wright N/A Flyer (Replica) Gilmore Car Museum Zenair 250 Zenith N/A

Building Activity

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    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com