A visit to Newark Airport’s Family Day

Perhaps I should have been a bit worried when I boarded the shuttle bus from the AirTrain station at Newark Airport to the Family Day event yesterday morning. I was, by far, the oldest kid headed in and I had no idea what to really expect from the event. Fortunately my instincts took over and once through the "security" screening the giddiness of childhood was readily present, mostly since I was standing underneath a United Airlines 767-400, admiring just how huge commercial airplanes really are. That’s always a good reminder to me of how crazy my obsession is.

The event really was targeted towards younger kids. There was face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo pen of sorts. I don’t know what any of that has to do with airplanes or aviation but it did seem to keep the kids occupied. And the United 767 was open for tours, including the cockpit. The line to get in to the front office was rather long but at least the waiting area was the BusinessFirst cabin of the plane; I’ve certainly seen less comfortable lines.

The Port Authority had a bunch of their different airport-specific vehicles on display, including snow removal and a fire engine. A couple de-icing trucks were also part of the display, with the added bonus of having operators there so visitors could go up in them for a few seconds. I do slightly regret not doing that early in the day when there were no lines.

And, for the aviation geek in me the event offered access to a great vantage point for taking pictures of planes departing from Newark. This is basically the one day annually that the local security folks don’t chase off anyone who wants to stop and admire the planes coming and going. We had a couple use the 11/29 cross runway right in front of the event but mostly just using the longer 4s. The good news is that most of the departures were readily visible from where I was perched.

There were some giveaways from various airport-related vendors and free snacks and hot dogs all day long. And anyone who bought a raffle ticket got one of the old United BF amenity kits; I gave mine back as I have too many already cluttering up my apartment.

Definitely a lot of fun things to see and do, though also very much focused on kids younger than me. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised at that. Some more photos from the day either on my Jux site or on Facebook.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Nice write up about your ‘passion’ and cool pictures too. Glad to know that I am not the only one who still gets giddy when going to the airport to see planes or even to have the good fortune of exploring them up close. That’s not an obsession in my book, simply a deep devotion for something ahh inspiring like the wonder of flight! Although a photo of you with your face painted would have been good to share too!

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