GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)-The Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange returns this fall. This annual program offers free, reciprocal admission to members of six local cultural attractions during the month of October. Current members can visit each destination free of admission charge when they present a valid membership card and photo ID. Participating organizations include The Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Center, Binder Park Zoo, Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Bird Sanctuary and W.K. Kellogg Manor House.
For the past eight years, thousands of southwest Michigan families have discovered art, history, nature, science, wildlife and much more through this reciprocal membership exchange. This program provides a chance to experience exciting new destinations while simultaneously highlighting the incredible value that each organization offers through annual membership. Guests are encouraged to plan their visit by reviewing the information posted on each organization’s website, easily located through swmimemberexchange.com.
Reciprocal members should track their visits with a punch card, available at all participating locations. Cards with a minimum of three punches can be entered into a drawing for guest passes and gift cards to each of the participating organizations. Six winners will be drawn and notified by November 30, 2023.
The Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science center with over 100 rare aircraft and space artifacts, interactive hands-on exhibits, amusement park-style rides, full-motion flight simulators, a theater, science-based education programs, and more! Cultural Exchange guests are invited to join forces with iconic DC Super Heroes™ such as Batman™, Superman™, and Wonder Woman™, as they explore DC Super Heroes™: Discover Your Super Powers, an interactive exhibition that will be open through November 5. It is also a great time to check in with the dedicated team at the Flight Discovery Center. The nationally-renowned restoration team has been busy restoring two World War II aircraft rescued from the bottom of Lake Michigan after more than 50 years each. Finally, those looking for some inspiration and social engagement should check out the Air Zoo’s events calendar for upcoming fall events and educational programs! Learn more at airzoo.org
Binder Park Zoo is the destination zoo where exotic and native animal species roam natural and spacious habitats that allow families meaningful experiences with nature and connections to conservation.Rides on the Binda Conservation Carousel, the Z.O.& O. train, seeing the dinosaurs of Zoorassic Park, and a trip to Wild Africa aboard the Wilderness Tram along with feeding the giraffes at Twiga Overlook all provide extraordinary experiences that turn into memories is right here in Battle Creek! And now guests can experience the Charles & Lynn Zhang SkyLark Ridge – the thrilling high ropes course and aerial zip line attraction open at the zoo. The zoo is open daily 10am-4pm and SkyLark Ridge hours are Wed-Sun 11am-3pm (subject to change) now through Oct. 29. Find out everything you need to know before you go, by visiting www.binderparkzoo.org.
Gilmore Car Museum is North America’s largest auto museum, with more than 400 exceptional cars, trucks and motorcycles on display in pursuit of the mission to tell the history of America through the automobile. It’s located on a beautiful 90-acre historic campus in the Michigan countryside, with towering red barns, vintage car dealerships, and an operating 1941 roadside diner. New for the 2023-2024 season are the Supercars Then & Now main gallery exhibit, in addition to the all-new International Gallery. Learn more at gilmorecarmuseum.org.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is one of the leading arts organizations in the Midwest, where art is for everyone. Visitors can pre-book admission tickets online or stop in to enjoy the museum galleries, the Fine Arts Library, educational programs, special events, and the Gallery Shop. The KIA’s Kirk Newman Art School also offers a wide range of classes in a variety of artistic mediums. World-class exhibitions coming up this fall include the biennial Kirk Newman Art School Faculty Review and two highly anticipated Asian art exhibitions featuring C.C. Wang and Wu Jian’an, both supported by the Joy Light East Asian Art Fund. Also visit, Celebrate! in the Upjohn Mason Grandchildren’s Gallery gallery and Unveiling American Genius, a reimagining of the KIA’s permanent collection. If you are looking for additional artistic inspiration, visit the KIA’s event calendar for upcoming artists talks, book discussions, and educational events such as Tuesday lunchtime ARTbreaks and monthly ARTful evenings. Most are free.
Learn more at kiarts.org or call 269-349-7775 for more information.
Kalamazoo Nature Center invites visitors to enjoy the beautiful fall colors while exploring 1,100+ acres of varied habitats. With 15 nature trails to choose from, there is always something new to see at KNC. The Visitor Center is open Monday- Saturday 9-5, Sundays 1-5. Our Exhibits Hall is currently showcasing FIRE: Rekindling Land and People, featuring an immersive art installation connecting viewers with the role fire has played in human evolution and our relationship with the environment. For the October calendar of featured programs, please visit www.naturecenter.org.
KBS Bird Sanctuary is open Wednesday through Sunday offering over 3 miles of trails, including a lakeside trail to see waterfowl, raptors, and game birds up close. October is the start of peak migration! Over 100 birds can be seen on their journey south before the winter months. Visit our Pollinator Garden and Rain Garden to get inspiration for your gardens! Learn more at https://birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu/.
The W.K. Kellogg Manor House is open for self-guided tours Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please call ahead as we have groups who have rented the Manor, and we may be closed during those times. The estate grounds remain open for self-guided walking tours from dawn to dusk. You are welcome to pick up a historical walking tour guide from our brochure rack on the office doors at the Manor House. Learn more at https://conference.kbs.msu.edu/manor-house/.
For more information, visit swmimemberexchange.com or any of the websites listed above.