Wilmington International Airport
Kids love airplanes, and parents in the Port City are fortunate to have a very family-friendly airport right here in our backyard. Wilmington International Airport, also known as ILM, offers a variety of free and unique ways in which children can get an up close look at air travel.
For starters, groups (whether it be a school group, activity club, or moms group) can schedule a personalized tour geared to a specific age group from K-12 grade. These tours are offered on Thursday mornings from 9:30am to 11:30am and cover a variety of topics, including the route of a typical passenger through the terminal building, the role of the TSA agents, and a close look at the job of airport police, fire and rescue and emergency medical personnel. Advanced reservations are required (call 910-341-4333 ext. 1000 for more information.)
For individuals not part of a group, the terminal building is always open and families are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the terminal areas pre-security. This includes the ticketing area, security (from the main lobby), and baggage areas. There are large windows in the baggage area overlooking the ramp where planes pull up for passengers to board, and parts of the runways are visible from these windows.
ILM also has an observation area that is on Control Tower Drive (reachable via Kerr Ave.) Once there, families can log into liveatc.net on a smart phone or tablet and listen to the tower talking to the pilots. The covered picnic shelter and benches there make a great place to bring a lunch and watch the planes landing on either runway. For anyone with a little airplane lover in their family, ILM offers a perfect way to spend the day, and all without spending a dime!