Watching planes take off and land at the Ohio State University Airport is a fun (and free) activity for kids in Columbus!
Fun for Families at Ohio State University Airport
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!
*PLEASE NOTE: AS OF DECEMBER 2022 JACK AND BENNY’S HAS PERMANENTLY CLOSED*
The remodel is stunning! The observation tower is now an entire floor in the building and it’s beautiful!
Here are a few highlights:
Snap a pic with Brutus!
Update from 2022:
Shop for unique airplane related gifts!
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!
Watch for planes, of course:
Identify planes using the pictures posted along the windows!
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!)
Visit the timeline of the Ohio State University Airport to learn some fun facts about the history of the 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.
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 (permanently closed)
In December of 2022 the OSU Airport did not renew the lease for Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner. The restaurant is now permanently closed. We are so sad! I will leave this section here for the good memories that we had taking the kids to eat at the restaurant and watch planes!
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.
A door in the diner opens to a garage full of small planes:
All kinds of breakfast (and lunch) options are available and reasonably priced. Our meals were excellent!
What kid could resist pancakes cut out like airplanes?! That was a fun surprise:
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!
Know Before You Go:
Ohio State University Airport
2160 W. Case Road, Columbus, OH 43235
Observation Tower Hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
- The best times to see planes landing and taking off are Monday and Friday mornings when the weather is clear!
- There is ample, free parking right in front of the terminal.
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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.
Wednesday 26th of February 2020
Thanks for letting me know!
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!
Saturday 2nd of September 2017
You're welcome! :)
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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! […]