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Way Up in the Sky! B-17 Rides!

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane…No, It’s A Plane

If your kids love the airport or looking at planes or riding in planes or being outside and walking around looking at planes, this one’s for you.  While I highly recommend the Lonestar Flight Museum, they don’t generally let you in the plane and proceed to crawl around and through (and the second they open that new facility at Ellington we’ll be there!).  The Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force hosts rides days that do just that.  They are currently housed in Conroe, TX at the Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport, though frequent David Wayne Hooks Airport, in Northwest Houston.

Regional airports are awesome.  Especially for kids. If their only experience with planes is seeing them way up high or at one of our large International airports, then the intimacy and laid back nature of the smaller ones will be a great change of pace.  In fact, it can be a complete culture shift.

You know all those signs at the airport that people get super fussy about? The ones that say things like “No Admittance” or “Authorized Personnel Only.”  Well, at a small airport those are more situational reminders.  The first thing you do when you get to Hooks Airport is park in the lot up front.  If it is busy, like on a rides day this may involve parking in grass.  Then you come into the Terminal.

The terminal has a had a recent facelift. It is very chic. Lots of white tones with some classy metallics thrown in. Here you have choices.  If you are ready to see the planes you head to the automatic doors directly through the lobby and once outside you will see the planes off to the left across a grassy field.  If you are going on a flight this is also where you find the people to check in (unless it is freakishly busy you will have good odds of purchasing a ride the day of, as well, though booking in advance is preferred).

If you desire the bathroom those are found just down a small hallway to the left of those doors.  If you are hungry further past the bathrooms is the Aviator’s Grill that serves breakfast and lunch and has a clear “regulars” fan base.  The food is good and affordable. It is open to the public each day so you can also just bring the kids up to watch planes take off and eat pancakes or a burger whenever.

Once outside you pay admission and you are free to wander the roped off section of the tarmac dedicated to the Groud Tours.  Periodically, you may have to leave the area as they pull planes in and out. Just follow directions like every other airport.

You can plan to spend about an hour if your kids are really into it, longer if you are going up in one of the planes. Hooks is a frequented by active military aircraft traffic on cross-countries for refueling; mostly single and multi-engine trainers and helicopters but occasionally liaison/light cargo types and a few fast jets – so be on the lookout for those as well.

If getting to Hooks is a hike for “just an hour” there’s a fun bounce place just up the road on 2920 called Bouncin’ Bears. It has one of those huge pillows.  Or come after you visit the Tomball Farmer’s Market, which is each Saturday 9am-1pm it’s held in the Depot off Main St. in Tomball and is very family friendly.  It’s a great opportunity for a combo day!

If getting to Hooks is a hike for “just an hour” there’s a fun bounce place just up the road on 2920 called Bouncin’ Bears. It has one of those huge pillows.  Or come after you visit the Tomball Farmer’s Market, which is each Saturday 9am-1pm it’s held in the Depot off Main St. in Tomball and is very family friendly (if it’s hot bring a change of clothes because there is a small splash pad that is a kid magnet and you don’t want to have to be that parent).  It’s a great opportunity for a combo day!

There are several upcoming flights so be sure to check into their schedule. The kids (and adults) will love it!




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