Falcon Field Airport in Mesa is a fabulous option for kids to watch airplanes for free! It’s a small craft airport that has frequent take off and landings. If you have an airplane lover in the family, this is the perfect place to visit.
There are two areas of interest for kids, and both are outdoors. The first is beside the airport office, and consists of two viewing binoculars, a grassy area, and a kid size runway! The runway is so cute, the perfect length for airplane pretend play, all while viewing real airplanes. The oversized binoculars actually worked too, which was refreshing – we got some good closeups on nearby aircraft.
For the second activity, head inside the administrative building and you’ll see a huge, partially shaded amphitheater style area beyond another set of doors. There is also a picnic table and two rocking chairs. You’re able to view airplanes take off and land without the chain link fence in view! There are two more oversized binoculars here as well.
Don’t miss stopping at the office (on the right when passing through the building), and requesting a free kids gift bag of goodies! We had an employee actually come out to us with the gift bags before we had a chance to visit the office. There were two coloring books, crayons, some other little goodies, and a soft foam mini airplane to assemble.
We spent about an hour in the amphitheater area, playing with the new toys, chatting with another mom and her son visiting, and having lunch. There were airplanes taking off or landing about every 15 min. There were also some military helicopters that had stopped for a break. We had hoped to be there when they took off, but we did see them air-born from a park a few hours later.
Falcon Field Airport has a bit of a history too. It opened in September 1941 and served as a World War II pilot training base. Arizona’s open spaces and dry climate made it ideal for training air troops. In 1948, the government turned over the airport to the city of Mesa and today it serves as a popular airport for small aircraft and the military.
Of interest, there is a playground nearby called Falcon Field Park. Restrooms are here as well. The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum down the street may also be of interest. We stopped at the musuem for about an hour. It isn’t geared for kids, and there is a lot of no-touch airplanes on display. But older children and teenagers will find it more interesting, or any child with a knowledge and appreciation for aircraft. Adults will love soaking up the history. The employees had numerous fun facts about the airplanes, and handed out patches to the kids.
Falcon Field Airport is Monday-Thursday 7am-6pm, Friday-Sunday 6am-4pm. (The administrative office is closed on Fridays.) The outdoor viewing area is always available. There are plenty of signs with directions in the airport complex. Restrooms are located in the administrative building by the office.
Mesa is full of things to do with kids! Check out this list for other indoor and outdoor ideas.