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OSU Airport and Barnstormer Diner

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Watching planes take off and land at the Ohio State University Airport is a fun (and free) activity for kids in Columbus! While you’re there, plan to have breakfast or lunch at Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner next door!

Fun for Families at Ohio State University Airport and Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner:

The Ohio State University Airport was one of our favorite places to visit! The observation deck was a great place to watch planes take off and land! The Airport recently went under a major renovation and the tower was closed for several months in 2018.

We recently revisited the OSU Airport to see what was new! I’ve updated this post with details about the newly remodeled observation deck so you know what to expect when you visit with your kids!

BEFORE:

Ohio State University Airport

AFTER:

Ohio State University Airport

The remodel is stunning! The observation tower is now an entire floor in the building and it’s beautiful! 

BEFORE:

observation deck at OSU airport

AFTER:

NetJets Observation Deck at OSU Airport

Here are a few highlights:

Snap a pic with Brutus!

boy standing next to Brutus Buckeye at OSU Airport

Shop for unique airplane related gifts!

gifts at OSU airport

Pick up a free coloring book!

free coloring book at OSU airport

Watch for planes, of course:

boys watching for planes at OSU airport

 

boys watching for planes at OSU airport

planes at Ohio state university airport

Identify planes using the pictures posted along the windows!

observation deck at OSU airport

Hang out in the lobby and enjoy some free popcorn!

lobby at OSU airport

lobby at OSU airport

free popcorn at OSU airport

Visit the timeline of the Ohio State University Airport to learn some fun facts about the history of the airport:

info wall at OSU airport

A few fun facts: the Columbus Zoo has used the airport when transporting manatees and panda bears and Barbara Bush landed at the airport in Air Force Two while President George H.W. Bush was in office.

Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner

We love the breakfast at Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner, the diner at the OSU Airport.  This is a really fun outing for kids AND adults!  The diner is adjacent to the terminal of the Ohio State University Airport and is filled with airport and airplane memorabilia.  The walls are covered with pictures and awards.

Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

A door in the diner opens to a garage full of small planes:

planes at OSU airport

All kinds of breakfast (and lunch) options are available and reasonably priced.  Our meals were excellent!  The kids meals came with drinks with free refills (endless chocolate milk anyone?!) and they gave us adults coffees to go!  Needless to say we were all happy!

Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

What kid could resist pancakes cut out like airplanes?!  That was a fun surprise:

pancakes at Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

boy eating pancakes at Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

Mmmmmmmmm.

Know Before You Go:

Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner
2160 W. Case Rd, Columbus, OH 43235
Hours:
Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
614-292-5699

Ohio State University Airport
2160 W. Case Road, Columbus, OH 43235
Observation Tower Hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
1-800-777-5488

Tips:

  • There are no restrooms in the restaurant, they are on the first floor of the the airport terminal.
  • There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant and terminal.

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ICYMI: 25 Free Things to do with Your Kids this Winter in Columbus, Ohio

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boys watching for planes at OSU Airport


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Exploring Dayton with Kids: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Oregon District

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Hi Everyone! I feel like I should make a major disclaimer before you read this post! There aren’t going to be a lot of technical details provided about what you see here, no (or few) historical facts offered to describe the pictures. Not only am I NOT an airplane expert, I also visited this museum with a 2 year old and a 5 year old (along with my husband!). There was not a lot of stopping to read signage or taking of notes. Nope, there was just a lot of running from one thing to see to another! And boy, oh boy, was there a lot to see! I think if you’ve had small children, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So with that in mind, I’m going to give you an overview of what there is to see and how to manage your time with kids at the Air Force Museum!

The first thing you should know about the museum is that it’s free! FREE! 🙂 Okay, now on to the rest!

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There are 4 large buildings that make up the museum. It was my instinct to go in chronological order, starting with the earliest planes and ending with the newest. But as we headed in that direction, a staff member advised us to actually start at the back with the last building, take a snack break at the Refueling Cafe, and continue through towards the front of the museum and end with lunch at the restaurant. His advice was wise, and I pass it on to you!

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Space Shuttle replica

As I mentioned, we started in the 4th building, where there is a Space Gallery. There is a large Space Shuttle replica. There were several simulators where you could attempt to fly the Space Shuttle! It didn’t seem easy, as you can imagine. 😉

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Also in the 4th building is the the Presidential Gallery, where there were several former Air Force One planes. Those were really interesting, as you could walk through a good number of them and many artifacts were left intact!

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The walk-through areas of the planes are completely covered with plexiglass.  A warning: many of the spaces are very narrow to get through! The one shown below was actually one of the wider walkways.

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Between the 4th and 3rd buildings is a Missile Gallery and above it is the Refueling Cafe. By the time we had arrived at the museum, around 11:00 AM, and walked to the back, we were ready for lunch after touring the 4th building – and thankful for the advice we had received from the staff person! The Refueling Cafe offers wraps, salads, pizza, hot dogs and snacks like yogurt, cookies, chips, drinks, and granola bars. We ended up eating lunch here. (It’s worth noting here that no food or drink is allowed to be brought into the museum!) There’s nothing gourmet about the food at the Refueling Cafe, but it is what you would probably consider “kid friendly” and the prices are reasonable. We didn’t check out the Valkyrie Cafe, but it seems pretty kid-friendly, as well, according to the menu.

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Let me stop here to say that we didn’t bring in our stroller. What were we thinking? Well, we were thinking that our newly 2 year old doesn’t want to ride in a stroller anymore, so why bring it? Well, by the end of the first building, we had acquired strollers for both kids! The museum offers them for free and since there is so much ground to cover, the strollers saved us from carrying tired kids!

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The 3rd Building covers the Cold War, the 2nd Building covers the Korean War and Southeast Asia War and the 1st building covers World War II and the Early Years. Here is my non-technical list of just a few of things you can see and do: life-sized depictions of historical moments, airplanes you can sit in, photo galleries, videos to watch, and miniature airplane exhibits. A few examples of these things . . .

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Some of the things we didn’t do include a theater, which shows 3D movies (you can see a list of shows that are being shown at the theater here), and the flight simulators. The flight simulators are $10 a person. There is also a museum store for souvenirs and official Air Force gear!

All in all, I would estimate we spent about 4 hours at the museum. There is so much to see, you have to manage your expectations with young kids. With older kids who are really interested in planes, you could easily spend the whole day!

So, we had a two year old who hadn’t napped yet on our hands, but I had read this article from Columbus Underground a few YEARS ago and I had been wanting to check out the Oregon District ever since. We needed coffee anyway, so we decided to take a chance on a tired kids and check it out!

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This section of town is home to a funky selection of restaurants, galleries, shops, [adult entertainment stores!] and a coffee shop. It’s a fun area for lunch or dinner and to spend an hour or so browsing through shops.

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Our main stop was at Press Coffee Bar for a pick me up for the drive home! Mayson fell asleep in the stroller and slept through his donut opportunity! (Don’t tell!)

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If you stop in the Oregon District, make sure to get your picture here!

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Overall, a really fun day! The trip to the museum was just about an hour for us and the fact that it’s free makes it a great day trip! You could pack a lunch to eat outside the museum, but the food there is also pretty affordable. I would just keep in mind that it’s a lot of walking for little kids, and manage your expectations accordingly! 😉

Know Before You Go:

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
Phone: 937-253-4629
Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Press Coffee Bar

257 Wayne Ave., Dayton, OH 45402
Monday – Thursday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Friday: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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