Air Zoo works to overcome COVID-19 challenges


PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for the Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum, but the organization is working on creative ways to move forward.

President and CEO Troy Thrash estimates $1 million in revenue has been lost from COVID-19. He says the Air Zoo has a yearly operating budget of approximately $5 million.

“We started the year off very strongly in January and February, and so seeing things come to a halt, of course, has been really quite difficult,” Thrash said.

Even though the museum is closed, the team is releasing videos daily and will have a virtual summer camp.

Children will receive supplies in the mail to conduct science experiments at home with the help of the online instructor.

“The price is really just going to cover some of the materials that we want to send out to the kids in their homes, so they can do these science experience while we’re doing them,” Thrash said.

The Air Zoo has created a detailed plan on how the museum can safely reopen when it is determined safe to do so.

The staff is collaborating with other museums to learn and share best practices. They are being especially careful to protect children and senior volunteers.

“As we prepare to open up, however that looks, we are going to be fully prepared to keep our community safe,” Thrash said.

Despite the challenges, Thrash says employees are confident there will be brighter skies ahead.

“When we come out on the other side, we are going to be more determined, we’re going to be more prepared, and we are going to have a bigger impact than ever before,” Thrash said.

Visit the Air Zoo website to learn more about memberships with the museum and the virtual summer camp program.

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