There is nothing better than family vacations. And for some, there is nothing worse than having to deal with a delay or a long layover with kids. Plan it right, though, and traveling with kids and being at the airport can simply be one part of a great vacation.
Here are a few airport activities and tips to help pass the time:
Kids Play Areas
Many airports have play areas that typically have a aviation-themed area. The first time we discovered the kids play area at gate C12 at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, I think I could hear angels sing. It was just the energy release that my 2 and 4 year old needed and just what my husband and I needed to rebuild our confidence that we could indeed do this trip! Minneapolis also has video arcades in concourses C, F & G. And to name a few more, Detroit has seven children’s play areas and all of the indoor playgrounds are located in the newer section of the airport: McNamara Terminal. Concourse A has four kid zones, Concourse B has two and one is in Concourse C. Salt Lake City has three, A1, B1 and at the top of the E concourse. Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago all have great kids’ areas that are sponsored by local children’s museums, and Seattle’s Sea Tac even has as a separate infant room with rocking chairs and a private bathroom.
Delta Sky Club
As my daughter calls it, “The Delta Snack Club.” This is a delightful break from the airport hustle and bustle. Escape to a Delta Sky Club for endless snacks, kiddy cocktails (and cocktails for mom and dad too), and a comfy place to sit and relax. The club in Orlando has an entire section for kids with big pillows, toys and movies for the kids to watch. A little tip though, if your kids are feeling a little more on the lively side, it might be appreciated by others if you sneak out and visit the kids play areas again. You can always come back to the lounge after while. There are over 50 Sky Club lounges; located at the most popular airports that have connections and you can purchase a one-day, 30-day or yearly membership.
Family friendly eating
There are plenty of food courts in the airport that are great for kids. You won’t have to wait long to get food and you can take the leftovers on the plane. There are also many family friendly restaurants. While awaiting for a delayed flight in Cancun, Mexico, my family camped out at Bubba Gump’s where the kids were given a fun kids meal served in a boat, a glass that lit up, and color crayons and paper. If you go to Urbanspoon.com, you can do a search for “kid friendly restaurants at airports.”
Shops at the Airport
Don’t forget all the great shops like Creative Kidstuff that can keep your kids busy at the airport. Many airports, such as Minneapolis/St. Paul have wonderful bookstores that have kids areas where you can sit down and read. Detroit has KidZoo, a fabulous children’s toy and apparel store at Detroit.
Pack the Goods
Finally, be sure to bring a backpack of toys and snacks to help keep them satisfied in the event you just want camp out at the gate.
So when traveling with kids, do what you can to make the best of it. As they say, “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” — Fitzhugh Mullan
More helpful articles:
Traveling with kids- the Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned
- Libby from Delta Vacations