Behold the Wild Blue Yonder at the Air Zoo
The Air Zoo, located in Portage, Michigan is one of the most interesting and unique museums you will ever visit. Visitors to the museum will be able to see and do a number of different things. Everyone in the family will have a good time with all the Air Zoo offers. The Air Zoo is located in three different locations in Portage, there is the Main Campus, the East Campus and the North Campus. On the Main Campus is the newest building on the Air Zoo grounds. It is the home to a fleet of full-motion flight simulators which are so cool, a 4-D theater and an indoor amusement park with rides. Surrounding this area is the world’s largest indoor mural.
The flight simulators will give you a thrill beyond anything you have ever thought of before. Slide in and strap yourself down and get ready for an advanced full-motion flight simulators in the world available to civilians. You can take your simulator (fighter) through barrel rolls and touchdowns on a carrier deck. Think you can do that without crashing?? You can strafe the landscape with your machine guns and launch a missile to take out an enemy tank. You are the one flying so you need to stay sharp, one small error could mean you crash and the simulator will make your flight seem so real you will truly have the experience of a lifetime!
Then get ready for the 3-D tour of duty aboard the space shuttle. You will learn the objectives of the mission which is to go to the International Space Station. When you are airborne you will be able to see some out of-this-world views of the earth. Then get ready, you will rumble through a fiery re-entry and touch down on terra firma: mission complete, you’ve made it home safely.
You can visit the National Guadalcanal Memorial Museum which honors those who were involved in one of the longest and bloodiest campaigns of WWII. The memorial commemorates the experience of those that served 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.
You can see the Sea Wings: The Story of Carrier Aviation which is a 2,000 sq. ft. exhibit chronicling the history of the aircraft carrier from its earliest beginning all the way up to todays crafts. The exhibit features over 400 photographs form the US Navy, the US National Archives, US Naval Historical Center and British Royal Navy combined with descriptive text to tell the story. There are also a number of artifacts.
There are two full sized aircraft cockpit simulators that visitors can get in and see what it would be like to fly onto or off a carrier.
There are also three large models of U. S. Navy warships which are on display in the Carrier Battle Group area. These include a 9 1/2 foot long model of the USS Wisconsin, an 8 foot model of the USS Nimitz and a 6 foot model of the USS Arleigh Burke.
On the Main Campus, which is the newest building in the attraction, you can find quite a few interesting sights. One that will jump out at you right away is the world’s largest indoor mural, which encompasses the inside of the museum.
The Main Campus is also home to a number of different exhibits. The National Guadalcanal Memorial Museum has a number of artifacts dioramas, and narratives of people involved with one of the bloodiest campaigns of WWII.
In Sea Wings: The Story of Carrier Aviation, you can learn all about the history of the aircraft carrier, its importance in different wars throughout history, and the role it continues to play in today’s military.
In the 4D Theater, you are plunged into a WWII mission, and on the various simulators, you can get a feel for what it would be like to take the controls of a jet fighter and even fly the space shuttle.
The Main Campus also has some amusement park rides that the kids are sure to love. You can fly in a balloon, a barnstormer, and more.
The East Campus was the home to the museum prior to the new facility being built, it is just a short walk from the new facility and houses more than 35 additional aircraft and exhibits it also hosts year-around classes and summer camps. It is also the home of the 17,000 sq. ft. Michigan Space Science Center which contains a large number of space artifacts and interactive exhibits. It ranks fourth in the nation for the number of Smithsonian Insitutional/Naitonal Air and Space Museum artifacts on display.
The East Campus has 35 more aircraft and exhibits for visitors to see. You can also see a huge collection of propellers from a variety of different planes.
The East Campus is also where the Michigan Space Science Center is located. The Center has a number of great things that visitors of all ages will love. You will be able to see a moon rock, rocket engines, a full sized replica of the Mercury space capsule, a Russian cosmonaut suit, and an astronaut’s suit.
Also at the Center is a 5000 square foot exhibit that details the International Space Station. In addition, there are a number of models, displays, demonstrations, and hands-on exhibits for people to enjoy.
The North Campus is the Restoration Center which offers tours for people 16 years of age and older. They are limited to 15 people per tour. Tickets are $3 per person and can be purchased at the front desk of the Main Campus. Tours are available Monday through Saturday at 11 am and 2 pm. The Sunday tour is at 2 pm. Tours begin at the Main Campus lobby and should last anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
The North Campus offers renovation tours, where visitors will be able to learn about restoration of aircraft relics. The admission for the tour is an additional $3 from the museum’s general admission and only those 16 and over can attend the tour.
General admission for adults is $19.50, $17.50 for seniors, $15.50 for children 5 – 15. Those under 5 are free. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 5PM, and on Sunday from noon to 5PM.
6151 Portage Road
Portage, MI 49002
Location: 6151 Portage Rd., Portage, Michigan halfway between Detroit and Chicago. Off I-94 at exit 78, just south of the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 5 pm. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Admission: General admission to the Air Zoo is $19.50 for adults; $17.50 for seniors (ages 60 and over); children age 5-15 are $15.50; children 4 and under (accompanied by an adult) are free.
Prices include all rides, theaters, simulators and admission to the Air Zoo, the Michigan Space Science Center and the East Campus.
A group discount of 20% is available for 20 or more people. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance and are scheduled by contacting the Air Zoo at 866-524-7966.
Anyone who is currently, or has been, a member of the United States Armed Forces (active duty, Reserve or National Guard) will receive a 20% discount on their general admission ticket when they present proof of their service. This discount is not valid with our group discount or with any other discount or promotion.