Twin Cities Mom Collective

Go on an Airport Adventure Without Ever Leaving Minnesota!

From an early age, my middle child was fascinated by things that move. Trains, planes, automobiles–you name it, he loved it. Not a day went by in his preschool days when we didn’t build and rebuild a complex city structure with interconnected roads and train lines and airports in the middle of our living room floor.

It was a cold day in winter when we had exhausted all our fun and needed to get out, that I created the best adventure of all for that vehicle-loving child. We called it Airport Adventure. From trains to trams to escalators to speeding jets, the day involved so many fun and unique ways to move. This became a staple for those cold or dreary days of winter, or rainy days in the spring and summer, when we needed to be inside, but wanted to feel like we were on an adventure.

Maybe you also have a fan of vehicles in your house. Or maybe you’re looking at a string of stay-cation days and you want to spice it up. Give this Airport Adventure a try!

The adventure starts on the Blue Line Metro train towards the airport. If you don’t live in the neighborhood of a train stop like we do, you can still make your way to the nearest station and park in the lot or in the neighborhood. Purchase tickets at the machine or on the app and board the train headed towards the airport. If you have a Metro card, this is fun for kids to swipe at the machine.

Get off the train at the Terminal 1 station. If you have a stroller you will need to take the elevator up one level. Otherwise you can take escalators (another exciting part of the Airport Adventure!) Next look for the tram headed for the terminal.The tram runs back and forth frequently throughout the day on either side of the station so board whichever one comes in first. We always try to get a spot at either the back of the train to watch the engine move or the front of the train to feel like a conductor driving the train. The tram might be my kids’ favorite part. In fact, we have been known to ride it back and forth a few times! It moves slowly enough that you don’t have to worry about kids falling over if you are standing or moving.

After the tram we make our way to the terminal. Obviously you can’t go through the security gate without tickets. But if you take the elevator to the Skyway level, you can look down on the busy ticketing section and watch how it all works. This is especially a great idea if you have a trip coming up and a new traveler in your family. Being able to see how it all works is as educational as it is exciting.Next, make your way across the Skyway towards the parking garages. Feel free to stop in the middle and watch the movement of the busy cars below–yet another fun highlight of this visit.

Once across the Skyway, take the elevator to the top floor of the garage. From here there are windows surrounding every side, and you can move around to find the best view of where the planes are taking off and landing at that time of day. Sometimes you can even catch huge National Guard jets coming and going from Fort Snelling! This is when we also pull out a snack. Every great adventure involves good food!When you’ve exhausted your fun, just backtrack the way you came, and make your way home. Adventure is sometimes as easy as that!

Looking for more ways to enjoy the airplane views? Check out the viewing area at located at the end of Cargo Road and next to the FedEx Shipping Center.

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