Six local institutions will offer free admission during the month of May to each other’s members.
The Membership Exchange is a partnership that offers an a-MAY-zing opportunity for members to explore the vibrant cultural attractions right here in Southwest Michigan. It’s a perk that is an added value for existing members, and the benefit attracts new members to join and discover animals, nature, art, science and history at each destination.
The Air Zoo, Binder Park Zoo, Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Bird Sanctuary and Manor House are
partnering for the sixth year of the Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange.
Guests presenting a valid membership card and photo ID from any of these organizations can enjoy free admission at any of the six destinations May 1–31. Members can also obtain a punch card to be validated at each visit. If they visit all six destinations, they can submit their completed punch card to be entered in a random drawing to win a set of annual memberships to each organization. The drawing will be held on June 3.
Highlights and special events at each destination include:
The Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science museum with more than 100 rare air & space craft, interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, a state-or-the-art theater, full-motion flight simulators, science-based classes & camps, and much more! Rain or shine, the Air Zoo’s huge indoor facilities are open 363 days a year! Keep an eye on their calendar, 2019 marks the Air Zoo’s 40th Anniversary and there will be lots of exciting things to do all year! Learn more at AirZoo.org.
Binder Park Zoo – inside is the real outdoors! The zoo is home to a diverse array of animal species like Mexican gray wolves, kangaroos, lemurs, bears, snow leopard and red panda. Special attractions include the Binda Conservation Carousel and vintage era Z.O. & O. miniature train. Travel by Wilderness Tram to Wild Africa to see herds of animals roam the 18-acre savanna. Cheetahs, African lions and the newest residents – a pack of eleven rare African painted dog pups born at the zoo are among the highlights. For visitor information, special zoo events and education programs including Overnights and Safari Day Camps, visit binderparkzoo.org.
Gilmore Car Museum is North America’s largest auto museum featuring more than 400 vehicles displayed in dozens of historic barns and replica auto dealerships on a 90-acre historic campus. Current special exhibits include Duesenberg: Celebrating an American Classic with 19 spectacular cars on display, The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild – featuring automobile model entries for the legendary competitive design program, and Born to Perform: The Era of the Muscle Car displaying two dozen of everyone’s favorite high performance muscle machines from the 1960s and ‘70s. The museum is open seven days a week year-round. Learn more at gilmorecarmuseum.org.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is open six days with monthly free events like Art Hop, Teen Night, and Art Detectives, plus May exhibitions including the West Michigan Area Show, High School Area Show, Rewards of Wisdom: Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting, and The Feeling is Mutual: New Work from Maya Freelon. In May, the Kirk Newman Art School will feature a Saturday photography class that will travel to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, and Gilmore Car Museum. Learn more at kiarts.org.
Kalamazoo Nature Center May is a great month to explore 1,100+ acres of varied habitat with 16 nature trails to choose from. May is the perfect time to see the many varieties of spring wildflowers on KNC trails, along with the return of the songbirds from their winter migration. Weekly programs and activities include Saturday Creature Features, spring wildflower walks and birding hikes, with a family program every Sunday at 2 pm. A special exhibition featuring the work of Pen Dragons Calligraphy Guild will be in the Glen Vista Gallery. Visit the full calendar at naturecenter.org.
KBS Bird Sanctuary offers over 3 miles of trails, including a lakeside trail to see waterfowl, raptors, and game birds up close. A migration hotspot, over 100 birds can be seen on their migration north at the Sanctuary in May. Join us for Birds & Coffee Walks, Birds of Prey Live!, Wild Wednesdays, or enjoy the gardens and trails on your own. At the KBS Manor House you can tour the historic KBS Manor House and Estate, W.K. Kellogg’s former summer home overlooking beautiful Gull Lake. For visitor information, special events and programs, visit birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu and conference.kbs.msu.edu.
Representatives of the program believe that this area of Michigan is fortunate to have some of the best cultural organizations of their kind in the country, and each of these organizations is committed to providing the highest quality service to the public.
As a cohesive group, the Cultural Exchange Program is thrilled to offer such a unique and diverse program to the Southwest Michigan community. It’s easy to join any of the organizations online and the value of admission for a family of four to visit all six organizations is over $200.
For more information, visit swmimemberexchange.com or any of the websites listed above.