GRR’s Airport Viewing Area: The Little-Known Park Where You Can Watch Planes Take Off

airport observation park grand rapids

Airport Viewing Area

The Airport Viewing Park is one of the Hidden Gems in Grand Rapids

You can pack a picnic and watch planes take off or land at the GRR International Airport Viewing Area!

GRR reports that on any given day as many as 300 aircraft may take off or land at the international airport.

GRR Airport Viewing Area
4820 Kraft Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

The area has plenty of parking, a few picnic tables, a newer pavilion with clean bathrooms, and filtered water fountains.

But, before you start driving to the airport right now to find the park, don’t. The park is not accessed via the main airport entrance. You will need to follow the directions at the end of this article to find this hidden Grand Rapids gem.

GRR Airport Viewing Area

Hours: 8 am – 8 pm
Open Year-Round
• Restrooms
• Picnic Tables

Hang Out at the Airport Viewing Area for the Sunset

The best part of the Airport Viewing Park is the scenery.

This is where you can get a closeup view of airplanes taking off and landing.

Kids love listening to the engines and seeing the different types of planes that come into and leave the airport.

You’ll see commercial passenger planes, but you’ll also likely see cargo ships and smaller, private planes as well.

It’s also one of the best places in Grand Rapids to watch the sunset.

GRR Ford Airport viewing area sunset

Airport Viewing Park Highlights

It’s Fun, Free, and You Can Listen In

When you visit the airport viewing park, be sure to tune your radio to 1650 AM.

You’ll be able to listen to air traffic controllers, pilots, and GFIA airfield operations staff as they coordinate aircraft into and out of Gerald R Ford International Airport.

Plan Your Visit

If you time it right, you’ll be more likely to see planes take off and land at the observation park.

Check the flight schedule at grr.org to see when there will be the most activity and coordinate your visit with that.

airport viewing area pavilion
Picnic Pavilion and Restrooms at the Gerald R Ford International Airport Viewing Park on Kraft Ave SE in Grand Rapids, MI

Get Close to the Planes

This is one of the best places to watch planes take off — unless you’re actually boarding a flight.

This is a much more laid back experience – no TSA, no parking fees. Just a nice green space where you can bring a picnic and hang out with family.

Ford airport observation viewing park grand rapids michigan

How to Find the GRR Ford Airport Viewing Area

Finding the viewing area can be tricky.

Most people wrongly assume that they should drive to the airport to find the viewing area.

The airport observation park is located on Kraft Avenue, south of the airport.

To find the Airport Observation Area, you need to approach the airport from the south, on Kraft. Kraft will dead-end at the viewing area entrance.

GRR Airport viewingplanesmap

More to Explore

25 thoughts on “GRR’s Airport Viewing Area: The Little-Known Park Where You Can Watch Planes Take Off”

  1. We were in Greenville South Carolina over spring break this year and found the coolest park. It was called “Runway Park” and even had a small restaurant called Runway Café! The entrance to this park was the top part of an airplane With window seats and kids faces on them, it was like a small tunnel. It was actually a scaled down size runway with the lights and everything that went to the other end of the park where you could sit and watch planes land and take off. There were also two small playgrounds, a picnic area and the was a track around the entire park were people were walking, kids riding scooters or bikes. It was the neatest park I have ever been to. My four year old grandson told his mom it was the best day of his life! I’m going to check out our new viewing area and then maybe bring some pictures of runway park for officials to see!!

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  5. We used to do this all the time when we were kids. Then they closed the one we went to when they expanded and I didn’t know they had opened another one!! Very cool we will have to have a picnic lunch there very soon!!

  6. Mike Lichterman via Facebook

    We did a couple of times. I have a handheld scanner (former pilot), so we used that instead. With a good cell phone connection, you can listen in on liveatc.net too.

  7. Melissa @ West Michigan Mommy

    I had no idea! That sounds like a lot of fun. I have always been fascinated with airplanes — it is amazing to me that something so large and so heavy can look so graceful. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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