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Airmen land at Omaha zoo for Air Force Week

Henry Doorly Zoo visitors see Air Force displays during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 in Omaha, Neb. Zoo vis itors had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Henry Doorly Zoo visitors see Air Force displays during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 in Omaha, Neb. Zoo vis itors had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Kathryn Jacobs tries on fighter pilot gear during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Kathryn Jacobs tries on fighter pilot gear during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Visitors to the Do Something Amazing mobile theater witness what the Air Force is all about Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors had a chance to see an F-16 Fighter Falcon, a motion simulator, video simulators and Air Force Honor Guard drill team performances. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Visitors to the Do Something Amazing mobile theater witness what the Air Force is all about Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors had a chance to see an F-16 Fighter Falcon, a motion simulator, video simulators and Air Force Honor Guard drill team performances. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Abi and Dean Finley ride the Extreme Equilibrium device at the Do Something Amazing display Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors had a chance to see an F-16 Fighter Falcon, a motion simulator, video simulators and Air Force Honor Guard drill team performances. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Abi and Dean Finley ride the Extreme Equilibrium device at the Do Something Amazing display Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors had a chance to see an F-16 Fighter Falcon, a motion simulator, video simulators and Air Force Honor Guard drill team performances. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Visitors use the Do Something Amazing video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors had a chance to see an F-16 Fighter Falcon, a motion simulator, video simulators and Air Force Honor Guard drill team performances. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Visitors use the Do Something Amazing video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors had a chance to see an F-16 Fighter Falcon, a motion simulator, video simulators and Air Force Honor Guard drill team performances. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Tech. Sgt. Robert Jones walks the gauntlet of flying M1 rifles as Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Tech. Sgt. Robert Jones walks the gauntlet of flying M1 rifles as Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
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Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
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Air Force Honor Guard drill team members perform Aug. 12 for visitors of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Marissa Colmar receives an autograph from one of Air Force Honor Guard drill team members Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
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Marissa Colmar receives an autograph from one of Air Force Honor Guard drill team members Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display featuring an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Becky (left), Jenna, Jack, Kyle (yellow shirt) and Kyrah Krenke-Dailey get an up-close view of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
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Becky (left), Jenna, Jack, Kyle (yellow shirt) and Kyrah Krenke-Dailey get an up-close view of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Capt. Dan McGuire (right) answers questions about an F-16 Fighting Falcon from Becky (left), Jenna, Jack, Kyle (yellow shirt) and Kyrah Krenke-Dailey family during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Captain McGuire is a pilot with the 56th Training Squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
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Capt. Dan McGuire (right) answers questions about an F-16 Fighting Falcon from Becky (left), Jenna, Jack, Kyle (yellow shirt) and Kyrah Krenke-Dailey family during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Captain McGuire is a pilot with the 56th Training Squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

Capt. Dan McGuire (in flightsuit) answers questions about the F-16 Fighting Falcon during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Captain McGuire is a pilot with the 56th Training Squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
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Capt. Dan McGuire (in flightsuit) answers questions about the F-16 Fighting Falcon during Air Force Week in the Heartland Aug. 12 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Captain McGuire is a pilot with the 56th Training Squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Zoo visitors also had the chance to see the Do Something Amazing display, a motion simulator and video simulators during Air Force Week in the Heartland. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

OMAHA, Neb. (AFPN) -- Airmen and an F-16 Fighting Falcon descended on Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo to increase understanding of the Air Force throughout the community Aug. 12 in Omaha.

The event was part of Air Force Week in the Heartland, a week-long schedule of events in the Omaha area aimed at showcasing the Air Force, its people and multiple missions.

"We're delighted that they've chosen to have displays and the F-16 here for Air Force Week, because the Air Force is really a part of our community," said Dr. Lee Simmons, the Omaha Zoo director. "Since we attract more people than any place in the state -- we get about 1.3 million people through here - these next few days we'll average 10,000 people a day to experience the attractions."

One of those attractions is an F-16 brought into the zoo and put on display for zoo-goers to see firsthand. To enhance the experience of seeing a real Air Force aircraft up close, an F-16 instructor pilot from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., was on-hand to explain the aircraft's abilities to the endless stream of onlookers both young and old.

"It's neat. It's awesome to watch the kids come up and they're wowed to look at the instrumentation and the cockpit and get up close and just get hands on; to touch the controls and even just the side of the jet, said Capt. Dan McGuire, who is assigned to the 56th Training Squadron, but flies with the 310th Fighter Squadron. "That's really inspiring to me because it reminds me of when I was that age looking up and staring at things in the sky and going, 'Wow, I want to do something like that some day.'"

Some families had a huge reaction when seeing a full-size f-16 on display. Among those were the Aimsworths, whose children let out great big smiles as they approached the multirole fighter aircraft.

"It's a good way to get youngsters to see the Air Force," said Bill Aimsworth, who just moved to Omaha from Chicago. "How often would a 9 year old get to see a jet this close-up? I think it's an amazing jet."

Captain McGuire said being a part of showcasing the Air Force means a lot to him because of the impact he can make on people deciding whether to make the Air Force a career. Talking to some of the older children who are getting ready to graduate and thinking about making the Air Force a career, you see how excited they are about the opportunity to do something like this, and the questions that they ask or the knowledge they have of what they're about to embark on, the captain said.

"It's inspiring as well as an awesome experience to get to see that from this end," he said.

The zoo is recognized as the second largest zoo in the nation and fifth largest in the world, according to zoo officials.

The Air Force Honor Guard drill team performed several times, wowing the crowds with high-precision movements.

"It was phenomenal," said Ron Miles of Omaha, who has two brothers who served in the Air Force. "I taped it for later so the kids could watch it again and again."

"My kids love planes and can't wait to go to the airshow," said Linda Monaghan of Murray, Neb. They love everything about it -- all the high tech and seeing what it's really like. "But personally, I love the drill team. It's my favorite part."

The Do Something Amazing Tour was setup at the zoo, showcasing the diverse mission requirements and great opportunities in the Air Force. Children were able to try on flight suits and helmets, and even ride in a machine that simulates twists, turns and the spatial disorientation a pilot must experience while maneuvering an aircraft.

While Air Force Week is being held in the heartland, the zoo's festivities have even proven popular with visitors from other countries.

"We came on vacation and wanted to come see this," said Zach Hufple from Germany. "I liked the simulator and talking to your pilot the best."

During Air Force Week in the Heartland, the zoo's IMAX theater is also showing the feature film documentary on the Air Force called "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag."

As families moved from the F-16 to surround the Air Force Honor Guard for autographs after their performance, Captain McGuire reflected on his time at the zoo.

"I love coming to the heartland," the captain said. "It's just amazing to see the support, and I'm just really honored to be part of this environment and this opportunity to get out and meet people and inspire young minds."

For more information on Air Force Week in the Heartland activities, visit www.airforceweekintheheartland.com.