The 10 Most Kid-Friendly Airport Terminals

After you have booked cheap tickets for your family trip, it hits you: how will you deal with long airport waits and layovers with your kids? Fortunately, many airports have play areas, and they are terrific for letting kids burn off excess energy and boredom while you wait to board.

Today’s security procedures mean that families must spend more time at the airport than before, and play areas can mean the difference between a smooth travel experience and a harried one. Here are our picks of 10 airports with great kid-pleasing amenities.





City Airport Code Location(s) Features
Baltimore BWI Between Concourses C and D Two-story Observation Gallery with children’s play area (Upper Level between Concourses C and D)
Boston BOS Terminal C, Terminal A Kidport with separate area for babies and toddlers (Terminal C); Kidport (Satellite Bldg., Terminal A); Rocking chairs, family restrooms, nursing rooms throughout airport for families with infants
Chicago ORD Terminals 1, 2, and 5 “Kids on the Fly” Aviation Exhibit (Terminal 2); 72-foot Brachiosaurus skeleton (Terminal 1, B Concourse); Play it Safe exhibit (Terminal 5)
Dallas DFW Terminals B and D Junior Flyer Clubs with padded play equipment (Terminals B, plus two in Terminal D) The Skylink transport between terminals can be fun for older kids.
Detroit DTW Concourses A, B, and C Four indoor playgrounds (Concourse A); Two playgrounds (Concourse B); One playground (Concourse C)
Nashville BNA Concourses A, B, and C Six concert stages throughout airport; Padded play areas (Concourses A, B, C)
Orlando MCO Main Terminal 3,000 gallon aquarium (Main food court, Level 3, Main Terminal); King Kong game arcade (Main Terminal)
Philadelphia PHL Terminal A Two Aviation-themed play areas (Terminal A)
Portland PDX Concourse Connector to Concourses C and D Padded climbing gym (Concourse Connector to Concourses D and E); Play Area (Concourse C); Lewis and Clark exhibit (ABC Lobby)
San Francisco SFO Terminals 1,3, International Terminal 11,500 sq. ft. Commission Aviation Libarary & Louis A Turpen Aviation Museum (Int’l Terminal); SFO Kids’ Spot Play Area (Terminal 3, Boarding Level F); Aquariums by Steinhart Aquarium (Ticketing Level, Terminal 1)

Airline-sponsored play areas are available in some airports, too. Air France’s Planete Bleue at JFK gets high marks, as do Southwest’s play areas at Phoenix, Dallas Love Field, San Antonio and Houston Hobby. Delta has “Dusty’s Dens” at JFK, Orlando and Los Angeles for unaccompanied minors, and Alaska Airlines has a 1,400-square -foot play area with a padded floor in Seattle’s Central Terminal.


Published: January 3, 2012