This time last year, my son’s topic at school was ‘transportation’. I like to try to find outings we can do that compliment what he’s learning in school, so when I researched places we could visit I was really excited to find that the Manchester Runway Visitor Park would be holding a ‘Flight Academy’ for children (aged 4-7, other age groups also available).
Taking place in school holidays, the academy is a one and a half hour activity that costs £7 per child. Parents are required to accompany the children. Parking is quite steep – expect to pay between £5 – £12 depending on whether you just do the flight academy activity or decide to stay longer to look around the park, watch Manchester airport’s flights take off or have a spot of lunch.
Tip: £5 will get you up to two hours parking if you only want to do the flight academy activity.
A UNIQUE CLASSROOM
Our ‘classroom’ for the morning was an old converted Monarch jet, a novel experience in itself. We took our seats in the original airline seating. I think this would be a fantastic introduction to planes for any young children who haven’t yet flown.
Over the course of the morning, we learned about all about different roles that make an airport function. There were lots of opportunities to dress up like Pilots, Air Traffic Control and an Airport Fire-Fighter.
The lady who took the session also provided plenty of props to try out, like the orange batons that marshals use when guiding planes to their parking spots.
VISITING THE COCKPIT
Everyone took turns visiting the cockpit (or the ‘flight deck’ as we were told it is more commonly referred to in the aviation business). The kids got plenty of time to sit in the pilot’s seat, dream of flying the plane and touch any of the switches or controls that they wanted.
There was also time to try out emergency equipment. Noah was in his element demonstrating to me how to use it and what all the little gadgets are for.
The lady who took the session lead us on a walk to the runway’s viewing platform where we watched planes land and take off. Noah, as usual, had an abundance of questions about how things worked. The lady was really knowledgeable and informative.
Afterwards, we decided to stay at the park a bit longer to continue watching the runway. It also gave us a chance to explore the old retired planes. Noah also let off some steam in the small play park.
OTHER FACILITIES AT THE PARK
There is a restaurant and café right next to the retired Concorde aircraft. I think, on a sunny day, it would be lovely to have a picnic while watching the planes flying in. At extra cost, you could also do a tour of the Concorde.
Before leaving, we also stopped off at the souvenir shop. Noah picked up this sticker book that really appealed to him about Pilots and Aviators to continue his learning at home.
Flight Academy takes place in the school holidays. Dates get published on the Runway Visitor Park website, where you can also book tickets for other tours at the park.
If you liked this post, you might like some of our other ideas for days out.