Kids and airport terminals rarely mix. There are the long waits, insufferable lines and questionable public facilities. Of course not all terminals are the same, with many rolling out VIP and kid-friendly features that make them almost as much of a destination as the final stop on the itinerary. Here are our top 5 kid-friendly airports:
1. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD): The Chicago Children’s Museum set up permanent camp at Terminal 2 with their Kids On the Fly exhibit featuring a helicopter, a traffic control tower, luggage sorting areas, and even a restored F4F-3 Wildcat airplane flown by the WWII hero, Lt. Commander Edward “Butch” O’Hare. The hard prt will be getting the kids out of here and onto their plane on time.
2. San Francisco International (SFO): One of the coolest places to play is the Kids’ Spot located in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, by Gate 87A. Kids of all ages find something here, with a giant crawling area and a Plasma Wall that shoots colorful arcs throughout the space. For older kids and parents traveling on their own, there is the new Commission Aviation Library & Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum with over 11,500-square feet of space located at the International Terminal’s Main Hall Free. It conjures up a feeling of a bygone era when traveling was a sophisticated pastime for only the rarefied few.
3. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW): When it comes to distracting the kids, Detroit wins the airport terminal wars with seven play spaces for kids all geared to making parents’ lives just a little bit easier. The indoor play area are located in the new section in the McNamara Terminal. KidZoo is a great kid’s store that offers lots of toys and distractions including a large television that plays kids shows all day long. The store also offers a book loan option, allowing parents to buy a book for the kiddos and then return it for half off at one of their other locations.
4. Orlando, Florida: As the hub serving Disney and Universal Studios, this airport has no choice but to be a kid-friendly magnet and fortunately it doesn’t disappoint. While it’s a bit short on play spaces, Orlando airport delivers big in the art department with life size figures like The Traveler, elaborate floor mosaics and even a 3,000-gallon salt-water tank full of more than 100 sea creatures on the main terminal.
5. Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA): Located in the Central Terminal, Seattle’s Sea-Tac play space boasts a giant 1,400 square foot play zone that will keep kids entertained for hours. There are plenty of aviation friendly activities to enjoy, including a foam structures for climbing, airplanes to maneuver, control towers and baggage processing areas . The playground and nearby restrooms even have rocking chairs for parents to rest and take a moment of much-needed peace.