Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter break activities held at air museum

Children often spend winter break frolicking in the snow, setting up their new toys and games and enjoying their time away from school, but many took time out of their winter break to learn more about aviation and flight at the New England Air Museum’s holiday vacation events on Dec. 26-28.

“We want to have the families and kids get away from the video games and just hanging out at home and make it not only fun, but educational, so that is why we try to incorporate so many activities,” said Gina Maria Alimberti, New England Air Museum’s director of visitor services. “You’re not just walking around the museum on your own, it’s coming alive. We want everyone’s experience to be very personal.”

The museum provided a variety of hands-on activities and events to pique children’s interests and to educate them without making them actually think about learning. The week kicked off with children diving into massive piles of LEGO and DUPLO blocks to create “fantastic flying machines,” which would later be judged. The event captured the kids' interests, and boys and girls created helicopters, airplanes and even rocket ships.

Children got a taste of what it’s like in a flying craft’s cockpit as part of the museum’s open cockpit program on Dec. 27. Guests had an opportunity to go inside 10 different aircrafts including helicopters, an airliner, a jet fighter and a WWII airplane. Alongside the cockpit program, visitors built and flew model gliders as they learned about the basic design and aeronautics from experts at the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

The final day of the event featured special guests who taught the children how to draw their favorite aircraft, as well as a visit from Ronald McDonald. Hands-on demonstrations helped the guests learn about basic principles of aviation, including physics and aerodynamics.

Throughout the week, visitors had a chance to learn how to fly an airplane, from a Cessna to an airliner, at the museum’s “Flight Sim Spot.” The state-of-the-art simulators allow you to virtually fly any aircraft using real cockpit controls while learning the essential functions of parts like the throttle, joystick, pedals and rudders.

“We want to spread the news that we are family-oriented and you’re going to get a lot out of coming to the museum,” Alimberto said. “We want to come across and get the families and children to know the basic principles of flight through hands-on activities.”

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