I was just reading this article about Airport Play Areas for Kids. If you are looking for play areas in US airports, this article and the one it’s based on from Expect Delays Blog, are a great place to start. Having spent a bonus two hours on top of the ‘two hour arrival before departure’ at Christchurch airport, I can vouch for the importance of knowing if there are any play areas for kids. Thankfully Christchurch airport had a very small climbing frame but it’s not an experience I wish to repeat this lifetime. (Christchurch Airport: C You can do better than this. Just because the Antarctic Centre is across the road is no excuse.)
I started to look at what other airports have to offer. Check out this cool themed playground:
This is from “Ten Great Place to Land with Kids in Tow” The Airport Pictured is Chicago’s O’Hare and as far as I’m concerned they take the biscuit for the best kids play area in an airport. Check it out in this article on O’Hare for Kids. (O’Hare: A- Excellent effort, just a little bit more work on your website and you’ll be top notch)
A bit further afield, here’s a shot of the kid’s area at Hong Kong Airport
And in case you don’t think you’ll watch enough tv on the plane, they have a separate kid’s tv area. (Hong Kong: B+ Well Done.)
Heathrow tell us that they have children’s play areas in various locations. There are a few more directions here. However they also have passenger lounges that you can pre-book tickets for – just like being a frequent flyer. The ones at Heathrow are all Kid Friendly but in particular they recommend the Holideck at T4. They describe themselves as,
“a state-of-the-art facility. Once you enter Holideck, three floors of entertainment, fun and stress-free relaxation are yours to enjoy, whether you wish to rest and relax with complimentary bar, refreshments and publications or explore the active zones with the children on the Main Deck.”
More info here. I checked online how much tickets would be – a mere ₤65 for three hours – or 75c per minute in Aussie dollars and their website blows chunks. (Heathrow: see me after class!!! You have millions of visitors each year and yet your family friendly lounges cater for 120 people at a time? Yes, I see you tried by having childcare – but only for over 5’s. Are you trying to be the new Ikea? Grade to be determined)
Speaking of blowing chunks, Melbourne airport has to be one of the least kid friendly airports. They have four of those ubiquitous mall ride on things that cost two dollars a pop. One of which is a minute Merry-go-round, one is a yellow racing car, one is a red truck and the other escapes me. I was sure I had a photo to include of the red truck as the kids get photographed in it every… single… time… we go to the airport but I can’t find a copy for the life of me.
It does have the most stunning mosaics in the floor which you can if you are particularly cunning stretch out into at least ten minutes worth of entertainment. There are some beautiful pictures of the mosaics here which you really should look at because if you squint carefully enough you will see the missing ride-on-thingie in the top right hand corner. It’s a white jeep. Don’t know how I forgot that. Fortunately for us our long wait at Melbourne airport will be right at the start of our trip. Here’s hoping we don’t run all the ipods dry before we even get on the plane. Perhaps I’ll make up a tacky souvenir bingo game to play. (Melbourne: F Are you even trying? I am concerned about you. What are you going to do now that all those business people have to sell off their private jets? Sydney is investing $500 million and installing two kid’s play areas you know.)
I have however saved the best for last – the true winner in my quest for the best kid-friendly airport in the universe has to be Changi. Not only do they have nap areas and a movie lounge, and an entertainment deck, and a nexus lounge, and an explorers lounge, they have five gardens including a butterfly garden, AND A POOL. THAT’S RIGHT, A POOL. God Bless them.
I think every parent is with me in saying that Changi inflicts a beatdown of epic proportions. (Changi: A++++++ Go to the top of the class and gloat shamelessly).