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What's a Kalamazoo?

by sa • March 11, 2016
It seems kind of surprising that people in other parts of the country think that Kalamazoo is a made-up name for a town; since I grew up in this state, it seems normal to me! The city is located in Southwest Michigan, 50 miles due south of Grand Rapids, 50 miles northeast of Benton Harbor, and about 25 miles due west of Battle Creek. The funny name was a Potawatomi word which, some people say, means “the mirage of reflecting water” and yet others think it means “boiling water”. The first one seems more descriptive and visual, so that gets my vote! K'zoo and its surrounds was once a producer of celery, mandolins and Gibson guitars, windmills, stoves, buggies, cigars, and paper products. These days, it's mainly known for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Interesting places to visit are

Kalamazoo's Air Zoo – it's fun because of the air shows, flight simulator rides and 4D theatre. You've gotta go! Even if you're not a big fan of aviation

On March 17, go to a K-Wings hockey game and see their famous green ice; afterwards, check out State street in the downtown area since it's lighted green for the St. Patty's Day parade

The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival attracts world-famous pianists as well as newbie keyboardists and music-lovers every other year in the spring

The Kalamazoo Nature Center has an indoor tropical forest, live animals, interactive exhibits, and tons of trails on which to go exploring. This is one of the top nature centers in the U.S.

Speaking of music, Glenn Miller band, way back in 1932, had a hit song with “(I've Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo”

If you've ever asked “Where's Waldo?”, Kalamazoo knows; its football team plays home games at Waldo Stadium.

If you're an old person (like me), you might remember that downtown K'zoo was hit by an F3 tornado May 13 1980. Sadly, 5 people didn't survive that twister.


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