This past weekend, my family and I were invited to Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI by my soon to be brother-in-law, Caspar.
Yep, while we were there, Caspar finally proposed to Darian, with a little bit of help from the rest of us. But I’ll let her tell you that story if she wants. 😉
Anyways, we had never been to South Haven before, but I knew Kalamazoo was on the way. I’ve been wanting to take the boys to the Airzoo for the longest time [it seems]. So, we did.
We packed up our cooler and left the house around 8am (it’s about a two and a half hour drive from here). When we arrived, two school buses and a parking lot full of cars greeted us. I was super nervous that it would be too busy and we wouldn’t be able to see anything.
I was wrong.
We waited in line to pay, that took the longest. It’s about $16 per adult, children 5-18 are $15 and children under 5 are free. If you have a membership to another science center, you could potentially get in at a discounted rate or free. We have a membership with Imagination Station in Toledo, OH which let us go in without paying for additional admission. -Oh, and this is for both buildings!!
I was pleasantly surprised at how huge this place is! We didn’t have to wait long for any rides or to see any of the exhibits, there is just that much to see, do, and learn.
Airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, space shuttles, if it flies in the air, chances are it’s at the AirZoo. My boys, and if I being honest -myself, had a great time checking out all the flying devices throughout history. From replicas of the first aircraft to modern space shuttles, even a “blimp.” The hands on activities were fun and the simulation rides a blast. My husband loved the Blackbird, and my sons loved being able to sit in the cockpits of select aircraft.
Inside the main building, there are also a few carnival rides. A ferris wheel, spinning hot air balloons, and a couple others. -Like I said, the place was huge! Children of any age can ride, as long as the can walk and support themselves without parental help, and as long as a responsible adult rides with them. My youngest, who is one, loved them.
There is a Cafe in the main building, the Kittyhawk Cafe, but we packed our own lunch and ate at the covered picnic area in between buildings before we went to the second one. It was an nice eating area with several tables, plenty of trash cans, a view of the museum and the runway at the small International Airport behind the museum (plus an area where they fly RC planes seasonally).
In the second building, they had more replicas & restorations, as well as on-going restorations of planes and helicopters. It was amazing. We also were able to see a few planes land and take off.
We spent, probably a good four or so hours at the museum. If it wasn’t for the fact we were meeting family at the race track, I would have stayed longer. 🙂 This was a great place for a homeschool field trip.
Gingerman Raceway is about 40 minutes away from the AirZoo, and they offer camp sites, with and without hook-ups. Caspar reserved the section of sites on turn two (4-10) for everyone that we were expecting, so as soon as we arrived we starting setting up our tent, at site 9.
The sites are a bit hilly, but nothing too terrible. Sites 1-3 did not have a water hook-up, but are right next to the showers/bathrooms. That being said, the showers were not ready for opening weekend, the bathrooms however we ready the second day we were there (Saturday) and the Workers kept them pretty clean.
Its $10 a person per night to camp at the raceway, any age (depending in the event taking place), and pets are allowed as long as they stay leashed. If you really don’t want to camp at the raceway, there is a Jelly Stone campground a few miles down the road.
Personally, I didn’t race a car, but my dad and Caspar did. To race for the entire weekend (two days) it was $300 prepaid.
It’s a nice track, designed in a way that is meant to keep driver safe from going off the track and getting hurt. Didn’t really prevent my dad from leaving pavement too much, but I got a lot of jokes out of it.
Coming as a spectator/visitor? Its $10 per person and there are plenty of places to watch from. You can see more of the track if you follow the path around and sit on the bleachers back there. 😉
The racetrack seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere, which.. okay maybe it is, but! Town is within a few miles each way. If you go back east, town is about 13 miles, keep heading west, town is about 5 miles. Either way you’ll find a grocery store (Walmart and Meijer), some fast food places, gas stations and other town like places of business.
Keep driving west through town and you will eventually hit Lake Michigan. We stopped at South Beach, in South Haven, on our way out. It’s a clean, little beach, with piers you can walk out on, and even a lighthouse at the end of one of them. There is also a park on the beach.
South Beach was full of people walking and fisherman doing their thing, but it didn’t prevent us from having a good time for the little bit we were there.
This was such a fun weekend with great people, sweet cars, and a great museum.
These are definitely places I will go again, and great places for racers, campers, aircraft fans, and well just about anyone.