Wichita, Kansas-based Exploration Place has morphed its aviation section into a fresh permanent exhibit named Design-Build-Fly. Sponsored by some of the major aircraft manufacturers based in the “Air Capital of the World,” including Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation and Bombardier, the 5,100-square-foot exhibit provides a first-hand look into what it takes to construct an aircraft. NASA also provided sponsorship and knowledge along with several other aviation-related businesses and private donors.
Visitors to Design-Build-Fly can try their hands at designing an aircraft for a specific mission, testing landing gear, flying a UAV, plotting a flight plan, designing an aircraft seat and much more. The exhibit also includes a theater, constructed out of a 10-foot section of a Boeing 737 fuselage, where stories from the local aircraft manufacturers are shown.
Exploration Place opened in 2000, partially thanks to a large endowment from Velma Wallace, wife of Dwane Wallace, who lead Cessna Aircraft Company for more than 40 years and was instrumental in the company’s success.
Located in the center of Wichita, Exploration Place focuses on educating children about science with attention-grabbing exhibits. In addition to the aviation-themed area, the center includes educational exhibits related to electricity, woodwork, oral health, nanotechnology and more.