by Jill P
Five local institutions will offer free admission during May to each other’s members.
The Air Zoo, Binder Park Zoo, Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Kalamazoo Institute of Arts are partnering for a fourth year as part of the Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange.
Guests presenting a membership card from any of the organizations will enjoy free admission to all of them May 1–31. Participating families who visit all five attractions will be entered to win a set of annual memberships to each organization.
It’s easy to join any of the organizations online, and the value of admission for a family of four to all five organizations is nearly $200. For more information, the organizations’ websites are listed below.
The Air Zoo
The Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science museum with more than 100 rare aircraft & spacecraft; interactive exhibits; science-based classes & camps; indoor amusement park rides; a 4-D theater; full-motion flight simulators, and much more. Rain or shine, the Air Zoo’s huge indoor facility is open seven days year-round. Information at airzoo.org
Binder Park Zoo gets wilder this summer with a new African lion exhibit, adding to the zoo’s quality recreational experience surrounded by nature. Binder Park Zoo’s 433 acres feature a variety of rides and exhibits. Wild Africa offers guests a safari through a 50-acre African national park, including an 18-acre savannah hosting impala, zebra, antelope, gazelle, and ostrich. The Twiga Overlook offers the chance to hand-feed one of the nation’s largest herds of giraffe. The rest of the zoo includes Mexican wolves, Chinese red pandas, kangaroos and a snow leopard. The zoo will be open seven days beginning April 13. Information at binderparkzoo.org.
Gilmore Car Museum is North America’s largest auto museum, featuring nearly 400 automobiles and a dozen historic buildings. Current special exhibits include Favorites of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Tin Toy Cars of Yesteryear: From Realistic to Whimsical, and opening in May, a Vintage Truck exhibit with trucks dating from the turn of the 20th century through the 1970s. Members from participating organizations are invited to The Donald Gilmore Showcase on Saturday, May 19, a season-opening show featuring pre-1942 cars and motorcycles. The museum is open seven days, and exterior buildings open April 1. More at gilmorecarmuseum.org.
photo courtesy of Tara Fletcher photography
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is open six days with free family fun like Art Hop, Teen Night, and Art Detectives, plus exhibitions featuring the West Michigan Area Show, High School Area Shows, Pressed for Time: History of Printmaking, and Impressions: Printmaking in Japan. The Kirk Newman Art School will in May feature Saturday photography classes at the Nature Center, Binder Park Zoo, and Gilmore Car Museum. Learn more at kiarts.org.
Kalamazoo Nature Center in May is a great month to explore 1,100 acres of varied habitat with 12 nature trails to choose from. In May, KNC is focusing on pollinators. Learn about the birds and the bees through weekly programs and activities including an exhibit in the Glen Vista Gallery by Ladislav Hanka, titled Wall of Bees. Enjoy Saturday Creature Features, spring wildflower walks and birding hikes, an outdoor self-guided sculpture tour, and a family program every Sunday at 2 pm. The DeLano Farms will feature farmyard animals on weekend afternoons in May. Full calendar at naturecenter.org