Thirty years is a long time to wait to see an airplane up close. Today I had the opportunity to attend the opening of the new Public Observation Area at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), the first public viewing area at YVR in 30 years.
The Observation Area offers the public a magnificent view ‘from the air side’ of the take-off and landing strips, the busy airport operations, and the beauty of Vancouver’s UBC Endowment Lands, the north shore mountains, and Vancouver Island.
But, as the ribbon was cut to officially open the Observation Area, would it win the approval and positive ‘coolness factor’ rating from the kids?
Well, it certainly did from my two critics, who are both fond of all manner of planes, trains and automobiles. ‘Two thumbs up’ was the response when asked about the new facility.
From the eight telescopes, built at two child-friendly heights, to the interactive kiosks and displays about YVR history (I achieved “YVR Expert” status on their quiz!), the Observation Area offers a wide variety of interesting features to keep kids of all ages engaged and amused.
In addition to the live and often mesmerizing traffic of the planes and the many airport vehicles servicing them on the tarmac, there is a highly detailed model of Sea Island, the Vancouver International Airport, and the runway complex. Kids can press buttons to illuminate tiny LED lights showing the runways, the domestic terminal, and our favourite, the control tower.
Kids (and their parents) can also take the stick of the BC Explorer for a virtual fly-through of British Columbia, gliding over the province’s terrain, waterways and communities.
You’ll want to wrestle your kids for control of that ride!
Photo Credits: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun; C. Laroye
[travellingmom tip: Reserve 15-30 minutes when coming or going through YVR to visit the Public Observation Area and take in the floor-to-ceiling view of airport operations. The Area is accessible from the Departures Level 3, just beyond the Customer Care Information counter.]
Have you visited YVR’s Public Observation Area? Share your comment below.