This last week I had the opportunity to spend most of the day at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo with my 13 year old nephew. This is the sort of day that can be enjoyed by different generations pretty easily.
This isn’t a huge museum. We spent about four hours, and saw almost everything. I’ve been a recurring visitor to this museum for over twenty years and it sure has changed a lot! As is often the case, that’s not entirely for the good, from my perspective. But I have no doubt the new museum is far better for my nephew than the old one would have been! It is much more kid friendly, and has a far broader appeal than it did in the 1990s. Of course that means its less focused on just World War II; and, what really makes me sad, it is no longer a flying collection. Apparently that part of the organization’s mission was undone by rising insurance costs. Perhaps that isn’t all bad, there’s always a risk in flying extremely rare, 70 year old airplanes. But I remember seeing that mixed formation of Grumman ‘Cats, and the pink P-40 in the air. It’s hard to accept that I’ll never see them again.
But the good is very good. The new building is colorful and fun, with displays from the dawn of flight through the space age. Plus full motion flight simulators and multi-media presentations. And the heart of the collection remains a number of rare and unique vintage aircraft.