A lifetime ago I spent some time working at a well known international magazine in London, and did a piece on airport layovers with kids, in airports that have areas that make layovers, or as I like to call them, playovers, fun. I didn’t have kids at the time, although I was pregnant with my son, so the info I found wasn’t as important to me as it is now. With flying being one of the most stressful parts of traveling, and adding in a layover making it worse, we have hunted down some of the best airports to be ‘stuck’ in with kids!
Winnipeg International Airport: Located at the North end of the second level of the airport this bear themed playground has a corkscrew climber, a spiro slide, a 30 foot tall polar bear and an arched bridge.
Logan Airport: Their unique Kidport play areas are located in Terminals A and C and have vintage airplanes, a replica of the control towers, climbing structure, slides, tvs and seats for parents.
Singapore Changi Airport: This airport is loaded with kid-friendly activities, from a butterfly garden to a children’s playground to an entertainment deck with tvs and video games, a family zone, koi pond, movie theater, swimming pool and more.
Hong Kong International Airport: With 2 play areas throughout the airport catering to young children kids can play or they can visit the children’s tv area for those little ones already tuckered out.
Auckland International Airport: The airspace entertainment centre is located in the international terminal and features a Lego activity center, a Crayola coloring corner and a model flight simulator. If your ‘playover’ is long enough, or your flight is seriously delayed, harried travelers can check out the outdoor playground and two mini golf courses located right outside the airport.
San Francisco International Airport: SFO’s Kids Spots are interactive exploration areas created with jet setting kids in mind. There is also an aviation museum pre-security and an aquarium in Terminal 1.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport: There are two areas within this airport just for kids, including “Kids on the Fly”, which has model airplanes and helicopters and a control tower. In the B Concourse of Terminal 1 there’s a 4 story high, 72 foot long Brachiosaurus dinosaur from the Chicago Field Museum.
Seattle Sea-Tac International Airport: There is a 1,400 square foot kid’s playground area between the center terminal and concourse A.
Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport: The kids forest is located on Holland Boulevard and includes slides, tree houses and other climbing and play equipment. There is also a Panorama Terrace which allows you not only a great view of the airplanes taking off and landing but has an airplane you can walk around in.
(We recently spent some time at Schiphol and found the kids forest a good place to let our kids run around in while we were waiting for our connecting flight)
There are certainly a fair amount of airports that do not cater to children (Atlanta’s Jackson Hartsfield and London Heathrow Terminal 5 I am very much looking at you!) so we have to find our own entertainment, which has always involved finding a quiet gate in the terminal, sitting by the windows to watch the planes, playing hide and seek, reading books or watching the iPad, any of which my kids thoroughly encourage and recommend.
I am sure we have missed lots of great family friendly airports! Which ones have you been to that you would recommend for a playover? Which ones wouldn’t you recommend?
*All of these were correct at time of publication but may have since changed. Check ahead of time to ensure they are all still there!