AF Museum bringing together several attractions for Friday celebration

Star Wars characters, zoo animals and more will bring the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to life Friday night for a celebration that will bring together several attractions under one roof.

The after-hours “Night At The Museum” will offer visitors “19 acres” of indoor exhibits and activities from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, said Michael Brimmer, education division chief at the museum.

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Friday marks the first time in more than a decade the museum has opened its doors for the evening event. In 2006, when it last hosted the event, about 10,000 people attended. It was the same year the “Night At The Museum” movie, starring Ben Stiller, made its debut.

“We can handle a large crowd, Brimmer said. “If 10,000 people show up, that’s not a problem. We’ve got plenty of room for everyone, so it’s going to be a great time.”

The museum’s usual exhibits will be joined by people dressed up in Star Wars costumes, animals from the Columbus Zoo and 4 Paws for Ability, along with activities led by COSI, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Air Force Recruiting, RAPTOR Inc., the Air Force Research Laboratory, the 501st American Legion and the Air Force Band of Flight.

Throughout the evening, AFRL will conduct STEM demonstrations and offer virtual reality experiences. COSI will display some of its traveling science exhibitions, including its air cannon, ball launcher, magnetic levitation, pyramids, Roller Coasters and more.

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The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery will offer interactive activities on astronomy and gravity, among other demonstrations.

Other activities for kids will include balloon animals, jack-o-lantern cornhole, face painting, a coloring station, the chance to take a photo in a space suit and a “ghost hunt” in which guests can use a device to shoot ping pong balls. Children will also receive candy bags near the Space STEM Learning Node.

In addition to the groups bringing in demonstrations and activities, the Air Force Museum will allow visitors the chance to get inside some aircraft normally not opened to the public. The planes people will be able to view or sit in the cockpits of include reconnaissance aircrafts, transport and cargo planes, vertical lift aircrafts, fighter jets and bombers.

“We’re really excited to offer visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with a bunch of aircraft that the visitors don’t normally actually get to take a look at,” said Brett Stolle, curator with the research division of the museum.


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