Kids and long airport layovers

I was wandering the wide halls of Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal B early this morning when I spotted for the first time an enormously tall dinosaur skeleton. The parents of a young toddler tried to occupy their daughter by shooting photos of her standing next to the dinosaur’s feet.

It was 5:45 in the morning, and this young family were by far the most chipper travelers I’d seen. This got me thinking: what other fun things are there to do with kids at airports during long layovers? Who said long layovers had to be boring?

If you’re stopping through one of these airports, bring your kids to one of these fun spots.

  • Chicago O’Hare: There is a “Kids on the Fly” exhibit in Terminal 2 that features a mini-helicopter, cargo plan, and luggage station. Over in Terminal 5, you can visit the “Play it Safe” exhibit dedicated to teaching children about safety. Let’s not forget the four-story, 72-foot-long brachiosaurus skeleton on the upper level of Terminal 1 (jast as you pass through security in the B Concourse).
  • Seattle-Tacoma: There is a 1,400 square-foot play area filled with aviation-themed foam toys, including a baggage cart that can prepare little ones with adult flying.
  • San Francisco: Take a nine-minute ride on the AirTrain Red Line to the Aviation Library and Museum, where children can play in the Kids’ Spot and enjoy interactive weather-related exhibits.
  • Singapore Changi: Kids can take a dip in the Bali-themed rooftop pool.
  • Munich: The ball pit and giant LEGOs at Kinderland are a huge draw for kids. The advantage for parents: your child can be left there free of charge and watched by airport staff.

Bizarre dinosaur on display at National Geographic Museum

The fact that until about 65-million years ago dinosaurs dominated our land is as fascinating as it is unfathomable.

For anybody even remotely interested in the evolution of life forms on our planet that goes back 230 million years, understanding how dinosaurs existed is enthralling. This is why National Geographic’s latest exhibition that displays original fossils of the Nigersaurus — one of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever, is worth checking out.

Remants of which were first discovered in 1993, the Nigersaurus was bizarre because it had a long shovel shaped vaccum cleaner type muzzle that sucked up plants with its 600-teeth full jaw — hence dubbed by some as the “mesozoic lawnmower”. If broken, these teeth could regenerate rapidly as each tooth had 10 replacement ones behind them. It grazed like a cow with its head down, this was unusual as dinosaurs are known to eat from trees with their necks up long and high. At 30-feet long, you can imagine its bulk, but funnily it had fragile feather-light bones — some of which are transluscent.

The exhibition will feature a life size reconstructed skeleton of the animal, a flesh model of its head and neck, and a cast of its brain.

The exhibition “Extreme Dinosaur: Africa’s Long-Necked Fern Mower” began yesterday at the National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall (1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington D.C.), and will run until Tuesday March 18, 2008; admission is free. For more information you can visit