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Adventure is in the Air: Book an Interactive Field Trip with the Aerospace Center for Excellence

Florida Air Museum Lakeland Polk County

Are you looking for a unique and memorable field trip experience where students engage in interactive activities? Or a mobile outreach program that can be done at your location? Your search stops here!

The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) can provide a day of hands-on adventure for students of all ages. Flight simulators, drone flying lessons, 3-D printing, rocket flying, science on a sphere, a portable planetarium, airplanes, the Florida Air Museum, and more are available for engaging STEM programming your students will love.

ACE offers a variety of on-site field trip programs at the SUN ‘n FUN Campus, as well as outreach programs at your own school or location. These educational experiences aren’t limited to school groups or traditional field trips – ACE also welcomes homeschool organizations, scouts, summer camps, and other groups of K-12 students.

Keep reading to get the scoop on all of the options available for your next field trip!

The Aerospace Center for Excellence is a Lakeland Mom Sponsor and we are excited to tell you what they have to offer students and families in our community.

VIDEO: Aerospace Center for Excellence + Florida Air Museum

Field Trips at the Aerospace Center for Excellence

“Engaging,” “hands-on,” “fascinating,” “fun” are just a few of the words used by students and teachers to describe a field trip to the Aerospace Center for Excellence Innovation Skylab and Florida Air Museum. Activities can be customized for your group, and multiple spaces and Skylab Experiences are available. Check out some of the things your students can do on-site at ACE:

Redbird Flight Simulator Room

Try your hand at flying in this flight simulator lab. Students will learn the layout and function of the major structural components of a modern-day airplane and understand how the physics (aerodynamics) of flight work. Students can experiment with an actual control wheel and throttle and see how to take off, land, and keep a plane steady in the air. Twenty-two simulators are available, all are very durable so that anyone from elementary school to collegiate levels can utilize the simulators.

{Editor’s Note – I tried one during my visit to ACE and it was fascinating! I had no idea how smooth and slow it feels to fly an airplane}

UAS Laboratory – Drones and Rockets

Assemble, test, and fly a rocket or a drone in the UAS Laboratory at the Skylab Innovation Center. Students will learn how to safely launch and land a drone, fly it through an obstacle course, take videos and photos, do tricks, and more. Build and launch model rockets to learn about propulsion systems and gravity.

Siemen’s Engineering Laboratory

Choose from a variety of engineering challenges in the Siemen’s Engineering Lab including:

  • Built for Hurricanes: Engineering Design Challenge – explore how engineers design structures to withstand hurricanes and build your own wind-resistant structure
  • Rocketing to Space – investigate the relationship between mass, force and distance as applied to space travel by manipulating straw rockets
  • Energy Efficient Engineering – learn how propeller design affects efficiency during flight, engineer a propeller car and test it for efficiency

Science on a Sphere

Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is exactly what it sounds like – science projected onto a large glowing sphere in the center of a dark room. It is so cool!

Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. With hundreds of datasets available you can project any type of science lesson onto the sphere – the solar system, the moon, the sun, weather patterns, forecasting hurricanes, and constellations, to name just a few. Having these interactive visuals projected onto a sphere instead of a flat map will bring this information to life for your students.

There are only 175 Science on a Sphere locations worldwide, including this one at the Aerospace Center for Excellence and Florida Air Museum! (Be sure to request a quick glimpse of the Death Star…)

Florida Air Museum

Your field trip will also include a tour of the Florida Air Museum and a scavenger hunt. The museum includes a dynamic display of airplanes including classics, ultra-lights, antiques, and warbirds. Students can also explore the interactive exhibits and games in the Discovery Zone. Learn more and see additional photos in our article about Things to Do at the Florida Air Museum.

Aerospace Pavilion

Need space for lunch or to let your students burn off some energy? The Aerospace Pavilion is the perfect covered outdoor area to have lunch or gather back together as a larger group.

This is just a basic overview of the field trip options available on-site at ACE – give them a call, visit the ACE field trip website, or plan a visit to learn more. The Education Director will work with you to pick a curriculum and develop a schedule for your group to maximize your time on-site and align with programming happening in your classroom.

Outreach Programs + Mobile Field Trips

Looking for mobile field trips that can be done on-site at your school or summer camp? ACE’s Portable Planetarium and Sonex Aircraft can travel to you! Learn more about the Outreach Programs offered by the Aerospace Center for Excellence:

Portable Planetarium

Immerse yourself in the solar system, constellations, ocean currents, weather trends, and so much more inside the Portable Planetarium. Your group will enter the inflatable dome and be surrounded by a 360-degree projection space where science lessons will come to life all around you.

The Portable Planetarium is 25’ in diameter and 11’ high, and seats approximately 25 – 30 people at a time, allowing you to have multiple classes or groups experience the planetarium in one day. Programs last approximately 20-30 minutes and can be geared towards any age group, from kindergarten to 12th grade, or even for adults.

Sonex Aircraft

Bring the world of aviation to your school with a hands-on airplane experience! Your students will have the opportunity to sit inside a Sonex aircraft and learn about the instruments and the function of each part of the airplane.

Check the ACE website for more information on mobile field trip options as well as space requirements at your location.

Aerospace Center for Excellence Events + Group Discounts

In addition to booking your own field trip, ACE also hosts special events and tours during the year with group rates.

Wings ‘n Things

Wings ‘n Things is an annual event designed for families, scouts, and homeschool groups, typically held on a weekend each fall. You can experience the wonders of aerospace through a full day of free hands-on activities that range from a scavenger hunt with prizes to solar observations in a planetarium to constructing and launching rockets. Many of the field trip activities mentioned above are also available during Wings ‘n Things. This event is free!

SUN ‘n FUN Group Tours

During SUN ‘n FUN – Lakeland’s annual fly-in event – a variety of educational activities are planned including youth workshops and SkyLab Innovation Center tours. Group rates are available.

Teacher Workshops + Classroom to the Sky

Teachers – these programs are just for you! Learn how to infuse aerospace concepts in and through your classroom and inspire the next generation of aerospace professionals. Classroom to the Sky is a half-day program filled with network opportunities, educational sessions, a keynote speaker, and an opportunity for a flight in a small general aviation aircraft. There is also an Aerospace Educators’ Workshop held each year during SUN ‘n FUN.

At the heart of each ACE field trip is the desire to inspire students to connect with science and aerospace in a meaningful and memorable way. A STEM-prepared workforce is vital to our future, and it begins with exposing today’s youth to science and engineering opportunities.

Plan your next field trip with the Aerospace Center for Excellence and ignite a spark, inspire future aerospace professionals, and impact our future.

Learn more:

100+ Things to Do with Kids

Check out our Ultimate List of Things to Do with Kids in Lakeland + Polk County to find indoor fun, outdoor fun, free things to do, seasonal activities, and more.