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Airports Smartening Up About Kids
Children's Stores & Activities Growing at Airports

With children's stores growing at airports across the country, the summer season bodes well for families traveling by air. Parents with extra time at the airport now have more choices than ever before to distract, entertain, and even educate their kids. Stores with a fun and educational approach to their merchandising, such as Mindworks and National Geographic, are helping to fuel this growth spurt.

Mindworks just opened its sixth store in the 33-store retail gallery at Philadelphia International Airport. A specialty toy and gift store, Mindworks is designed as a playtime oasis for children of all ages. The National Geographic store opened earlier this year at LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal Building and features unique items from around the world, helping to create an exotic retail environment that makes browsing an education in world culture.

Susan Stackhouse is president of Stellar Partners, a Florida-based firm that developed Mindworks specifically for airports. The increase of children's stores is the result of "a realization of opportunities in the children's market," says Stackhouse. "Just a few years ago, specialty children's stores were missing from airport retail. Now our stores meet the need for children's gifts and activities, and offer a playful, exciting environment for all travelers."

Paul McGinn, President of MarketPlace Development, a Newton, MA-based airport retail developer and manager, added that "family-friendly stores such as Mindworks, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and InMotion Pictures appeal to both leisure and business travelers making impulse buys." Discovery Channel has a popular location at Philadelphia International Airport and will be joined shortly by InMotion Pictures, already operating at LaGuardia and 26 other locations.

In addition to children's stores, airports are looking at other ways to meet the needs of travelers with children, from fun and innovative play areas to children's menus at the airport's restaurants and food courts. Here are highlights of some of the family-friendly stores, restaurants, and activities at LaGuardia Airport and Philadelphia International Airport:

LaGuardia's Central Terminal

Barbara's Bestsellers: Extensive selection of children's books. Kids' Summer Coloring, from May 27th through August 31st.

Figs Restaurant: Kids Eat Free! This summer, families traveling with kids can take advantage of the Kids Eat Free special with any paid adult entrée. Kids choices include Macaroni Simoni - Figs' version of the popular macaroni & cheese, pizza, spaghetti and more.

In-Motion Pictures: Rentals of DVD players and popular kids' movies such as Brother Bear, Good Boys and Dora the Explorer, for use on the plane, in the car, at the hotel or during families' entire trips.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Store: Popular MetKids items such as puzzles, games, creativity kits, children's jewelry, watches and books.

National Geographic Store: Educational toys, unique jewelry and watches, t-shirts, outerwear, National Geographic videos, DVD's, books and maps.

Philadelphia International Airport

Airport Magic Shop: Magic-themed products such as the Floating Effect trick, a magic coloring book and the Ultimate Card Trick Deck.

AltiTUNES: A variety of children's CD's and DVD's such as current releases "Now That's What I Call Music 15" and Disney's "Haunted Mansion."

Candy Express: Bins and bins of candy, confections and snacks in a self-serve format.

Discovery Channel Store: Meade telescopes, engaging videos, smart toys for curious kids and unique decorative items from around the world

Mindworks: Games, toys, puzzles, activity sets, crafts, science kits and apparel. Featuring toy demonstrations, unique play tables, and plasma video displays to entertain children of all ages.

Please Touch Museum's Aviation Play Station: Special play area features interactive displays specifically designed to introduce children to the exciting world of aviation. Hands-on items include a jumbo jet that children can get inside, a smaller plane where children can pretend to be a pilot, working lights and a spinning propeller, as well as a ticket counter and a control tower with a slide.

T.G.I. Friday's®: Kids' menu includes cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and chicken fingers, all with fries and choice of beverage, or macaroni & cheese with a choice of beverage.

Youth Art Gallery: Located between Terminals D & E and outside of the security checkpoints. Summer exhibits features works by the Asian Arts Youth Initiative.