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!


Ohio State University Airport


Ohio State University Airport

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


observation deck at OSU airport


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 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


Know Before You Go:

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

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 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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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Lea Delaveris

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus! Thanks to Lea for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. The Zoo

Yes, it’s totally cliche. But I just love love love our zoo so much! I can’t get enough, and the kids are typically game to tag along with me. I’m totally the person who is talking to the docents and zookeepers. There is just so much to see and learn and watch and do, and even though we’ve been a zillion times, it seems like there is always something that wows us each time we go (even if it is just seeing an elephant pee). My kids have done zoo camp each summer for the past few years, and I can’t say enough good things about that program. We’re also thrilled the dinosaur ride is back this year! And of course, we always hit Wildlights in the winter.

{Lea designed a Something New to do at the Zoo Scavenger Hunt printable for Columbus Moms Blog! See it here!}

2. Carsonies’ Kids Night

We don’t typically eat out on weeknights, but it’s really hard to beat Carsonies’ kids’ night on Mondays. The kids are obsessed with their meatball sliders (I am too, actually), plus, Erica Carlson is there doing her balloon creations and she’s awesome. Super sweet and highly entertaining (for kids and parents), she can create some phenomenal balloon masterpieces (forget just animals – we’ve gotten Yoda, a jetpack, a Pokeball). If you have a spouse traveling or working late on a Monday night, it’s the perfect spot to avoid cooking – you get two kid meals with one adult meal purchase!

3. OSU Airport

This is such a gem that I don’t think a ton of people consider as something to do. We’ve loved going up to the tower on a nice day and watching planes take off and land. The pilots coming in and out have also always been incredibly friendly and taken the kids to tour planes and even an army helicopter!

I’m Lea Delaveris – wife, mom and attempt-to-work-from-home stationery designer. I love creating announcements, invitations and holiday greetings and learning to hand letter (and hopefully create my own font!). You can see my work at and and follow along at @lea_d_design on Instagram.


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

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1. Ohio Open Doors

When: September 9 – 18, 2016
Time: Times Vary
Location: All Over Ohio

The Ohio History Connection is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act with a 10 day period of unique tours, talks and special events at over 130 buildings across the state! One such event taking place this weekend is Family Day at Orange Johnson House! Visit the website to search the special events by area of the state. Take a look at all the Ohio History Center has to offer!

2. Goodnight Moon at Park Street Theatre

When: September 15 – October 2, 2016
Time: Various times throughout the week and weekends (see link for more details!)
Location: 512 Park St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-224-6672

See this beloved night-time story come to life on stage with singing and dancing! The performance is 1 hour long and is recommended for ages 3 and up!

3. Ready for Kindergarten Family Storytime at Main Library

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-645-2275

This storytime, including songs and activities, is for the whole family! See what’s new at Main Library here!

4. Sing a Story at Miller Park Library

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Location: 1901 Arlington Ave., Upper Arlington , OH 43212
Phone: 614-488-5710

This story time features songs and stories for kids to enjoy!

5. Open House at OSU Airport

When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 2160 West Case Road, Columbus, OH 43235
Phone: 1-800-777-5488

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!

6. Jack Hanna’s Fall Fest at the Columbus Zoo

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM both days
Location: 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

Jack Hanna will be in person to share stories of his travels at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM each day! There will be activities and entertainment! It is advised that you arrive at the Animals on Safari Stage early to hear Jack Hanna!

7. Arts in the Alley in Grove City

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Grove City
Phone: 614-875-9762

This weekend’s art show includes over 100 juried artists and crafters! Categories include youth art, quilting, crafts, photography and fine art. There will be food, live entertainment and a kids’ fun street! The parade begins at 9:30 AM! See more to do in Downtown Grove City here!

8. Batman Day at Packrat Comics

When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: Hilliard and Marysville Locations
Phone: 614-527-8450 (Hilliard) 937-642-1320 (Marysville)

Free Batman comics and masks while supplies last! If you come in costume you can save 10% off your purchase!

9. Kids’ Independents’ Day

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM both days
Location: Corner of Town and Lucas Streets

This weekend is the Independents’ Day Festival in Franklinton! This is the second year of the “festival within a festival” for children. This year’s theme is Moon Ranch and the area will feature a farm house, barn, moon creatures and other moon-themed activities! Special guests include The Shazzbots, Turtle Lady, Thurber House and more! (See the full schedule in the link.) There will also be a private nursing and diaper-changing station available! Yay! Also, this festival is free!

10. Harvest and Heritage Celebration at Smeck Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM both days
Location: Smeck Historical Farm, 7395 Basil Road, Baltimore, OH 43105
Phone: 740-681-7249

If you’re up for a drive this weekend, check out this celebration hosted by Fairfield County Historical Parks! Features include antique farm equipment, live music, food and craft vendors and family activities!

11. Out of this World Ice Skating Party at Chiller Ice Rinks

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: The Chiller Dublin, Easton and North

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will partner with the OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks for an Out of This World Ice Skating party to celebrate the circus, Out of This World. If your child is one of the first 75 to arrive at any location, they will receive a free ticket to the circus, which takes place October 14-16, 2016.

12. Family Reading Festival at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Worthington Libraries is hosting this festival to celebrate reading! Some of your kids’ favorites storybook characters will be there to help, like Clifford, Curious George and Pinkalicious! There will also be games, crafts, information from local agencies and, of course, storytimes!

13. Salsa Cinderella at Abbey Theater of Dublin

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: 5600 Post Rd., Dublin, OH 43017
Phone: 614-410-4554

The Abbey Theater is putting on the story of Cinderella, but the characters are the ingredients in salsa! This show is recommended for ages 4 and up! See website regarding special 10th anniversary pricing!


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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

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