Sunday, April 11, 2010
Free Family Fun
We've recently moved to a large city. Moving to a big city opens up a lot of possibilities for a fun day out with the family, but also drains the budget quite quickly. My husband and I have been looking for creative ways to have family time that fits our family budget. One of the new discoveries (or rediscoveries as we both did this with our families as kids) is plane watching at the airport. No, you don't have to go in the airport and pay the rediculous parking fee. Really all you have to do is drive the perimeter of it and find out where the good runway spots are. Sound silly to you? There's actually a huge sub-culture of plane spotters out there. You'll find all sorts, from families like our own who like to imagine all the places these planes are going to or coming from, to the serious enthusiasts, complete with binoculars, fancy cameras and list of arrivals and departures in hand. Yesterday was a gorgeous day for plane watching and we weren't alone. Many, many families were out with their lawn chairs and cameras. Kids were playing soccer on the grassy field, stopping play to watch a 747 rush over their heads. We like to grab some subs and have a picnic as we watch and chat. The boys love it and each have their own favorite planes to look out for. They also like to keep tallies of the different airlines as they go past. Things to remember as you plane spot:
-The runways change patterns throughout the day. What may be a good plane watching spot one day, may not be at a different time of the day
-Look out for parking lots that don't mind you hanging out for a while.
-Make sure you are in a non-restricted area, outside of the airport - you'll be asked to move otherwise
-Protect little ears. Our boys like to stay in the car to avoid the noise. We also have ear-protective headphones that they could wear (easy to find in a hardware store)
It really is something else to see how big these planes are and how close you can safely get to them.