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OSU Airport and Barnstormer Diner

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:

The Ohio State University Airport before remodel.

AFTER:

The new Ohio State University Airport terminal in Columbus, Ohio.

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 before renovation.

AFTER:

NetJets Observation Deck at OSU Airport in Columbus, Ohio.

Here are a few highlights:

Snap a pic with Brutus!

boy standing next to Brutus Buckeye at OSU Airport.

Update from 2022:

boy standing next to Brutus Buckeye at the Ohio State University Airport.

Shop for unique airplane related gifts!

airplane themed gifts at OSU airport.

Pick up a free coloring book! The coloring books were on display in the NetJets Observation Deck. If you don’t see them, it might be a good idea to ask at the front desk!

free coloring book at The Ohio State University 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! (Popcorn may not always be available. When we visited in 2022, they did have free Crimson Cup coffee!)

lobby at OSU airport.
lobby at Ohio State University 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 in Columbus, Ohio.

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.

Visiting the OSU airport is such a great free indoor activity in Columbus to help pass a rainy or winter day!

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.

Inside Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner at the OSU Airport.

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!

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.

Update in 2022: We revisited Barnstormer Diner in 2022 and I did not see a kid’s menu for breakfast – alas, no plane-stamped pancakes! But it was still a great breakfast and made for a great Saturday morning outing!

Boy eating sausage at the Barnstormer Diner at the OSU airport in Columbus, OH.
Visiting the Barnstormer Diner at the OSU Airport.

Know Before You Go:

Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner
2160 W. Case Rd, Columbus, OH 43235
Hours: (updated in 2022)
Wednesday-Friday 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 2:00 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:

  • The best times to see planes landing and taking off are Monday and Friday mornings when the weather is clear!
  • There are no restrooms in the restaurant, they are on the first floor of the the airport terminal.
  • There is ample, free 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

Kimberly

Tuesday 18th of February 2020

Just a heads up...the kids’ chocolate milk is no longer free refills!

And don’t go to the diner on a holiday like Presidents’ Day...very long wait.

Julie Miller

Wednesday 26th of February 2020

Thanks for letting me know!

Heidi Curie

Sunday 27th of August 2017

Oh my goodnes, thank you for all the details and tips for the diner and observation tower! So helpful to know what to expect!

Julie Miller

Saturday 2nd of September 2017

You're welcome! :)

What Should We Do This Weekend? September 16-18, 2016 | What Should We Do Today?

Wednesday 14th of September 2016

[…] The OSU Airport is holding an Open House and 5K! There will be a pancake breakfast, aircraft and touch-a-truck displays, door prizes, hot air balloon rides, food trucks and more! Admission is free, but some activities have a cost. If you’ve never been, read more about our visit to the OSU Airport here! […]