I fondly remember going to the airport with my parents, nose pressed up against the giant window, trying to get a really good look at the huge airplanes. But because of tighter security measures at major airports across the country, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to introduce a love of airplanes to young kids. Afterall, without a ticket, you typically can’t get anywhere near the planes at most airports these days.
If you have a budding pilot or just have an interest in planes, look no further than the Columbus Municipal Airport for aviation-inspired fun. You’ll see planes of all shapes and sizes up close, from large military cargo planes to small prop planes, and there are several attractions sure to make your time visiting more fun, regardless of whether or not you take flight.
Here are a few ideas:
- Breakfast or lunch at Hangar 5 Restaurant. Nestled within the small terminal, the entire restaurant overlooks the two runways. My family dines here often, and we see everything from helicopters to corporate jets land and take off. Plus the food is delicious! Kids will love the Mickey Mouse pancakes and the airplane decor. I’ve written more about dining at Hangar 5 here.
- Take flight with the Young Eagles. A program for kids ages 8-17 which introduces them to airplane travel with a free flight. Dates vary throughout the summer. Kids 9 and over can also sign up for First Flights classes.
- Visit the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum. This is a small museum just next to the airport itself. Exhibits cover a wide range of military aviation history. (The Columbus Municipal Airport is a former military airport, serving nearby Camp Atterbury.) Admission is free.
- Check out the F-4 Phantom jet. It’s permanently parked adjacent to the museum and the airport parking lot.
- Bike! Bring your bikes and hop on the Columbus People Trail that runs right by the airport.
Since I live less than a mile from the airport, I can attest to how busy this spot is. Spend more than 10 or 15 minutes here, and you’re sure to see some flight action.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Municipal Airport.