RDU Observation Park

This post is dedicated to all of the guys in my life (husband, dads, and grandfathers) who flew planes in the service or for fun or who love to spend hours at air shows or the National Air & Space Museum. 

We took advantage of last Thursday’s gorgeous weather and headed to the RDU Observation Park at RDU Airport.  Thinking I’d never spend more time at an airport than absolutely necessary, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Surprisingly, it’s a pretty neat way to watch planes land and take-off provided, you don’t have a vested interest in the ones you’re watching take-off 😉 For those of you who have sprinted from one end of DFW to the other to catch a connection only to learn you missed it, may not enjoy spending additional time on airport authority owned property.  But, for those who are interested in the simplicity of an airport, going from one place to another, this is a fun place to visit!

First, be sure to take the simpler entrance into the General Aviation area from Lumley Rd, which you can get to from 540 or 70 and follow the signs to the Observation Park.  The park is actually located near the intersection of Business St and E International Dr closest to the Terminal 2 runways and the private jet hangars.

The park has a large parking lot with stairway and ramp access to an elevated and covered deck overlooking the Terminal 2 runways.  Along the deck railing there are educational guides with information about the different planes built over time, from the Wright Brothers plane to the Cessna CJ1 and beyond.  We had great views of the control tower and the take-off and landings of large commercial jets and smaller private planes.

The park also has a small, sandy playground area with climbing equipment, a kiddie-size runway, picnic tables, benches, open fields, public restrooms, and more aviation information guides.  Not far from the park is a cafe open from 8am-2pm.

Finally, if you find yourself at the airport with a few extra hours to spare, check out this helpful airport guide I stumbled upon at Stuck at the Airport.

Thumbs Up: beautiful views, picnic spots, aviation information guides

Thumbs Down: bad signage from Aviation Pkwy entrance

3 thoughts on “RDU Observation Park

  1. What a great idea at an airport. As a kid, about 80 years ago, it was family sport to take the whole family and park by the airport fence and watch the planes… which in Battle Creek MI were few and far between. Later, when we were dating, it was again a destination. There were never any of the amenities such as you describe in Raleigh… That is a city that looks after its citizens!

  2. Kris:

    You are three notches above the Raliegh Chamber of Commerce in your work. What a travelogue! And this doesn’t count the extra points and gold stars for keeping us abreast of Ashley.

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