If you have ever taken a cross-country flight with a toddler with multiple connections, then you know what a blessing it is to land at a kid-friendly airport.
The creators of the following airport play areas deserve a big hug. Not only do these areas help pint-size travelers understand the air-travel experience, but they also give parents a chance to regroup and preserve their sanity:
Boston Logan International Kidport: Located in Terminals A and C. It includes a popular airplane shaped slide as well as a mock baggage-claim slide. There is also a private area for nursing mothers to kick up their heels, minus the curious looks.
Cleveland Hopkins International: Located in Concourses A, C, D. The children’s play areas come complete with climbing mountains, playhouses and an interactive nutrition and health display (in Concourse D).
Chicago’s O’Hare International “Kids on the Fly”: Located in Terminal 2. The area allows kids to burn off some steam after being cooped up in an aircraft for hours. “Kids on the Fly” was developed a decade ago by the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Chicago Department of Aviation. In the years since its debut it has become a model for the airport play concept. The area features a two-story control tower, airplane with cockpit and cargo hold, luggage slide and ticket counter.
Dallas/Fort Worth International: Located in Terminals B and C. The play areas, dubbed “Junior Flyer’s Clubs” feature mock runways, bridges, cars, planes and padded floors.
Philadelphia International: Located adjacent to Gate D-10. The airport has a play area called the “Please Touch Aviation Station” where your young pilot-in-training can use hand controls that activate a spinning propeller in a mock airliner.
Salt Lake City International: Located in Concourses A, B, E. The airport has a play area that doubles as an arts-and-crafts corner. It stocks easels and chalkboards, plastic foam cars and airplanes, and a fairy tale playhouse.
San Francisco International: Located in Terminal 3. It boasts activities typically found in a children’s museum. Highlights include a color-shooting plasma wall activated by clapping hands, climbing toys and other interactive objects.