An engineering challenge based on real world conservation efforts, Operation Migration asks guests to design, build, and test paper airplanes for two different missions. The real Operation Migration is a conservation effort to help the Whopping Crane, an endangered species, breed and then learn to migrate. In our challenge, the first mission is to design a plane that can carry heavy incubators for the Whooping Crane’s eggs. The second mission is to design a plane that the Cranes can follow as they learn how to migrate from Wisconsin to Florida.

This experience is free with admission!

This activity is best for guests ages 6 and up.


  • You may only use the materials provided to you by the Science Center.
  • You may work as a team, or as individuals.


The real Operation Migration is a nonprofit organization dedicated to Whooping Crane conservation. They lead a dedicated project from 2001 to 2016 which involved raising captive bred whooping cranes in Wisconsin and then teaching them a migration route to Florida using an ultralight glider aircraft. Learn more at

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