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An Ode to the Sea-Tac Airport Children's Play Area

Matt Villano

Here’s a dirty little secret about family travel: No matter how hard you try and make the best of them, airport layovers are almost as intolerable as gangsta rap.

The crowds! The germs! The general lack of high chairs! The whole rigmarole has been so awful at time for us that we’ve contemplated spending hundreds of extra dollars to eliminate the respite and simply fly non-stop.

This, of course, is why we were so pleasantly surprised by our recent layover at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

To put it simply, the place harbors one of the best public indoor children’s play areas I’ve ever seen. Two weeks ago, between flights home from Canada, our entire family had such a blast there, we were bummed when we had to pack up and head to our gate for the connecting flight. L, our toddler, still talks about the afternoon. Naturally, I wanted to commemorate the experience in some way. So I wrote this.

She was tired, she was pooped,
Our girl was feeling sort of down.
After our connecting flight,
Kid needed to move ‘round

‘This layover will suck,’
Groaned my baby-toting wife.
‘Damn,’ I thought quietly,
‘A playground’d save my life.’

Then we saw the fun-room
Near gates B1 and 2,
A playground for the ages!
F-yes! Woo-hoo!

Kid sprinted for the slide
Like she’d been living in a cell,
Climbed up a rubber tunnel
And jumped off, then ran pell-mell

Around the room like crazy,
Screaming all the while.
All this doting dad could do
Was just sit back and smile.

While toddler played and climbed,
Wife took baby (and her purse)
Into a private little room;
A spot for moms to nurse.

Time passed. Then we had to go
And catch our second flight.
The toddler cried. She kicked. She wailed.
She would have stayed all night!

The lesson, here, for airports
Is that this stuff pays back;
Next time we plan to fly up north
We’ll route through ol’ Sea-Tac.

Parents, too, can learn a lot
From our fateful day:
A playground sure can save your ass
When you over-lay.

How do you manage airport layovers when you travel with kids? What other airport play areas would you recommend and why? Please leave your thoughts in the comment field below.