Aviation enthusiasts rush to get a final glimpse of Fantasy of Flight, set to close on Sunday

Fantasy of Flight to transition into new park

POLK CITY, Fla. - This weekend is the last chance to check out what some consider to be one of the best aviation museums in the country.

After serving Polk County for more than 18 years, Fantasy of Flight is closing its doors on Sunday with plans to reopen in the next five years as a new theme park.

The last hurrah has become a do-not-miss occasion this weekend.

"We drove from Atlanta. Left at three o'clock this morning," said Scott Huff, who came down with Alex, his 16-year-old son.

They learned about Fantasy of Flight founder Kermit Weeks through his YouTube videos and always wanted to check out the museum. They decided they had to make the trip when it was announced Fantasy of Flight was closing.

"It's unbelievable," he said.

Many in the larger than average crowd Friday have been to Fantasy of Flight before, but they wanted to return for one final walk through aviation history.

"We put it on the must-do list when we found out they were closing. It was something that I'd really hate myself if I skipped," said Nathan Merrill, who flew down to Polk County with two friends from Vermont.

"To a person of my generation, you can sit here and see the aircraft that you would only see otherwise in a book," he said.

Aviation enthusiasts have nothing to fear. Founder Kermit Weeks said his collection, which is the largest private collection in the world, is not going anywhere.

"I love these airplanes. I'm going to continue to collect them," Weeks said.

He said he will continue to let people enjoy the hundreds of planes he owns.

He plans to use them as set pieces when Fantasy of Flight reopens in the next five years with what he describes as a new kind of theme park focused on self-discovery.

"It's time to move on. This is a great product, but I realize that I have the ability and the potential to create something even better," he said.

After Sunday, Fantasy of Flight will open for private parties and events while Weeks and his team transition into a new park.

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