March 8, 2018 - KidVenture, the AirVenture attraction that has welcomed more than 21,000 kids and parents for aviation discovery activities, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018 with expanded space activities along with the return of many hands-on favorites for young people.
The KidVenture area has grown over two decades to include 20,000 square feet of activities within multiple hangars at the Pioneer Airport complex behind the EAA Aviation Museum. It also encompasses five acres of grass runway for model aircraft flying.
“In 2017, we experienced participation and interest at record levels,” said Dan Majka, a member of EAA’s board of directors who is volunteer chairman of KidVenture. “The word-of-mouth is out there that KidVenture was an excellent place for families to visit while they are at AirVenture.”
Some of the returning activities for 2018 had their highest-ever participation last year. Those included:
- More than 2,000 tool kits earned by young people who completed about six hours at KidVenture in hands-on activities that introduced them to A&P skills. More than one parent complimented EAA volunteers and staff about their kids receiving actual tools, thanks to KidVenture corporate supporters.
- Nearly 1,000 kids completed the six pilot ground school stations that gave them the knowledge and skills used by budding pilots.
- The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron’s exhibit and theater welcomed thousands of visitors who discovered the rich history of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, who fought not only the Nazis but also racism to become a highly decorated unit during the war.
Pioneer Airport’s Wittman Hangar will have expanded space flight activities in 2018 that feature rocket building and space gliders to show the transition from wood airplanes to space flight. Two space capsules will be available for kids to enter, and Waupaca Foundry will teach kids how to sand cast rocket parts including their own space medal they can keep.
Other activities on the schedule are flight planning with a full-size B-25 nose, the STEM space flight bus highlighting space travel and Mars landing techniques, and areas to fly control-line and radio-controlled airplanes.
“Our success is possible because of our dedicated volunteers, as well a corporate support from Boeing, Sikorsky, Bombardier, Parker Cleveland, UTC, Embry Riddle, and others,” Majka said. “As EAA is focused on growing participation in aviation, KidVenture is a great way to spark that interest at a young age.”