From Sarah C. today:
My son is totally enamored with airplanes right now. We live in close proximity to the airport so we frequently see some passing overhead and, for a 9 month old, they are the “stop everything you are doing” to stop and watch kind of exciting.
For years I had heard about a small park at the airport, but never searched it out. Where could there be a better place to get a close view of the planes that our son would surely love? So my husband and I decided to take little D there to see what it had to offer.
The RDU Observation Park is located near General Aviation and the Air Traffic Control Tower. Free parking is available in a small lot at the park. The park features a nice covered elevated deck area with benches to sit and watch the planes as they come and go. Speakers broadcast communications from the tower. Adjacent to deck are picnic tables and a small playground area with a replica of the terminals and landing strips made of asphalt. (Picture little ones running with their arms spread wide pretending to be a plane.) There is also a sand box and a small metal climber.
I would definitely recommend this park for families especially if their children are as fascinated with planes as our little one is. However, the playground is geared more towards older children so that is something to keep in mind when planning a trip.
Check the airport’s website at http://www.rdu.com/observation-park/ for further details including a map.
Update 7/13/2010 – in the spring, the Observation Park was briefly closed for renovations. During a visit today, the most obvious change is the “runways.” They were asphalt and are now cover in a rubberized surface. Nice and cushy (I did take a run myself for the fun of it!).
I also peeked in the bathrooms while there – no diaper changing stations.
A little hot or perhaps forgot to pack lunch? Head over to the General Aviation Terminal for indoor viewing of the planes and lunch at Crosswinds Cafe.