OSU Airport and Barnstormer Diner

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I’m just going to start this post by saying we love Mondays!  I know, we’re a little weird that way!  My husband is off on Mondays, so, unlike most of the rest of the world, we actually look forward to Mondays and use them to do family activities more than any other day of the week!

A few Mondays ago, we had 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 attached to the terminal of the OSU Airport and is filled with airport and airplane memorabilia.  The walls are covered with pictures and awards.


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


And the TV was playing Daniel Tiger.  🙂 All of these factors add up to children who were entertained for most of the meal!  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!


My husband graciously agreed to be in this picture! My child is staring at the TV.

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





After breakfast, we went to the terminal.  The restaurant and terminal are some of the first buildings you will get to when you enter from Case Rd.  The restaurant is in Building 1 and you will need to exit the restaurant in order to get into the terminal.



Great mural inside the terminal!


Once inside the terminal, look for the door and sign for the steps to the observation tower.  There is no elevator, so do not plan to take a stroller!

Once you  make it to the top of the steps, you will enter the observation tower.  The tower has a 360 degree view and is open from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM (which might also make for a fun date night – but that’s a tip for another post!).  This is what it looks like:


This was our second time to the airport and both times I have been pleasantly surprised with the number of landings and take offs we have been able to see.  The OSU airport website reports that there are an average of 75,000 operations per year.  (As a side note, from the website I also learned that the Columbus Zoo has used the airport when transporting the manatees!  Now there’s a fun fact to tell the kids!)

With the glare and distance, it might be hard to appreciate what you can see with my pictures, but here’s a few planes taking off and landing:











Both of my kids were mesmerized by watching the planes!












In the observation tower were some free coloring books featuring the airport and Brutus and Betty Buckeye (There’s a Betty Buckeye?!).

Most of the planes landing and taking off carry 2-4 passengers, but this larger jet was parked fairly close to the terminal:


You can also listen to the control tower over the radio!


You could easily make this a free outing by packing a lunch or snack and eating it at the table in the observation tower, or just stopping by for a short period of time, no snack needed!  The hours the tower is open make it pretty convenient to fit this into any part of your day if you happen to be in the area!  I think it will be a hit with the kids!  And if your kids like airplanes, check out this post for another airplane activity we did this past spring!

Know Before You Go:

Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner
2160 West Case Rd, Columbus, OH 43235
Monday-Friday 7:00 AM-3:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM-3:00 PM

OSU Airport
2160 West Case Road, Columbus, Ohio 43235
Observation Tower Hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM


  • There are no restrooms in the restaurant, they are on the first floor of the the airport terminal.
  • If you’ve still got room in your belly after breakfast, there’s free popcorn in the waiting area of the terminal!
  • There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant and terminal.


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ICYMI: Watching Planes!

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