Best Kept Secret in GR

I’ve got a secret about the Gerald R. Ford International Airport…

You can pack a picnic and watch planes take off or land at the GRR International Airport Viewing Area! The area has plenty of parking, a few picnic tables, a brand new pavilion with clean bathrooms and filtered water fountains.

But the best part 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.


It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.


It’s Fun and Free

If you decide to go, be sure to tune your radio to 1650 AM to listen to air traffic controllers, pilots, and GFIA airfield operations staff as they coordinate aircraft into and out of GFIA.

Get Close to the Planes

Watching planes take off at the newly upgraded airport viewing park while waiting for the sunset!

A post shared by Melody (@grkids) on Jun 11, 2017 at 6:01pm PDT

How to Find the GRR Ford Airport Viewing Area

Finding the viewing area can be tricky. The viewing area is open dawn to dusk and 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.

Be sure to visit the Viewing Park Facebook page.







About the Author:

Erin Srebinski
Erin is a coffee-fueled stay at home mom who is constantly trying to perfect the work/family balance. She enjoys cooking, renovating her 1920's home and traveling as much as possible. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two children.


  1. Chris August 18, 2017 at 10:01 am - Reply
  2. Paige April 26, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply

    When does this open in the spring and close in the fall?

  3. Lisa Hood June 9, 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    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!!

  4. Samantha Prater via Facebook July 3, 2015 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Scott Prater

  5. Nicole Haveman via Facebook July 3, 2015 at 1:34 am - Reply


  6. Katie Barto via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Koren Reich!!!!!!

  7. Nancy J. De Jonge via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    I/We take our grandson there often.

  8. Patricia Canero via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    I thought you guys were going to do improvements to the viewing area. When is that going to start?

  9. Andrzej Stec via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Happy 4 of July

  10. Monique Eckert via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Don’t forget the sunscreen!

  11. Kate Schut via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Holly Kidder

  12. Krista Pawloski via Facebook July 2, 2015 at 5:51 am - Reply

    You can go to the airports website to look up landings and departures to make sure you’ll see some planes while you are there too.

  13. […] 13: Airport Observation – Grab a snack and a picnic table and enjoy the view. (open from 7am-10pm […]

  14. […] Pack a picnic and plane watch at the airport observation area. […]

  15. Christine July 30, 2012 at 5:39 am - Reply

    When is the best day and time to go?

  16. […] Take a picnic to the Gerald R. Ford Airport viewing area […]

  17. Willow Cramer April 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    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!!

  18. Jennifer B
    Jennifer B April 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    We play a little game where we make up stories about where we think the people are going.

  19. my kids call this going to the airport park. we usually take a snack or lunch. great way to wave goodbye to a traveling daddy or departing family member who has been visiting! wendy’s is on the way if you drop someone off!

  20. Mike Lichterman via Facebook April 7, 2012 at 12:48 am - Reply

    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 too.

  21. via Facebook April 7, 2012 at 12:22 am - Reply

    I was there this afternoon, but the radio connection wasn’t working for me? Has anyone tuned into 1650 with success?

  22. Kelly Urban via Facebook April 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Mine too!

  23. Mike Lichterman via Facebook April 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Ours too!

  24. Amy Fleck via Facebook April 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    One of our favorite things to do!

  25. Amy Fleck via Facebook April 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    One of our favorite things to do!

  26. Melissa @ West Michigan Mommy April 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    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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