Hi friends! We have a kiddo who loves all things transportation, so a trip to ride the PHX Sky Train to Sky Harbor Airport was the perfect outing. Trains? Planes? Yes please! Our friends Liz and her darling boy Dean joined us for a morning of fun.
We parked at the Sky Train station off of 44th Street and Washington. Just look for the big metal tube-shaped building. There is metered parking, and at $4 per hour isn’t terribly cheap, but if you don’t eat lunch or buy souvenirs, this will be your only expense for the day!
The station is quite lovely, with soaring ceilings, inlaid floors and ceilings that double as art work. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, so the whole building is bright and airy. We went on Labor Day, and it wasn’t busy at all, so the kids could run around without bothering anyone. To get up to the train itself, you have to ride up two sets of escalators. Good thing little boys love escalators. Be careful when you get to the top, and keep an eye on the littles. Ours kept making a break for the “stairs.”
You don’t have to wait long for a train. From the Sky Train’s website:
“The PHX Sky Train runs 24-hours a day with predictable travel times – arriving at stations about every three minutes during peak periods and delivering passengers to their destinations within five minutes of boarding.”
The ride was really fun. Be sure to sit at the front of the train. There’s a great big window that the kid scan literally sit in front of to look out. We made the mistake of sitting in the back for the ride to the airport, but were still able to see lots, including views of Camelback mountain, the airport terminals and traffic on the freeway. It’s not a long ride, but you go pretty fast and it feels like a toddler’s version of a roller coaster.
Once at the airport you get to ride more escalators, and then you’re in Terminal 4. This is the best terminal for killing some time, as there are shops and restaurants, as well as access to the parking garage where you can watch planes take off. This is where we headed first. You just take the elevators up to the top level of the parking garage. It was scorching hot the day we went, and the parents were sweaty beasts by the time we were done, but the boys loved it. The planes were taking off on the runways to the south of the garage, and we could either stand, or, a better option for this momma with acrophobia, look through a convenient slit in the wall of the parking structure.
After we’d had our fill of planes (or all the heat we could stand) we headed back down to the terminal to wander around. Did you know there’s a museum in the airport? There is! The Phoenix Airport Museum. The exhibit, Creature Feature, was pretty cool. We also let the boys run around here, which may have been bad museum etiquette. Oops.
We wandered the shops a little, visiting (and petting) a stuffed coyote at the Explore Arizona shop. The boys ran the halls after each other (lots of running = tired little boys!), and we checked out all the restaurants we could eat in if it were lunch time. There are loads of seriously good, LOCAL (!) restaurants here, including Lolo’s, Cheuvronts, Joe’s Real BBQ and America’s Tacos. This could be a fun lunch date, kids or no.
We hopped back on the train, sure to sit in the front this time (sooo much better!) and headed back to our station. The boys LOVED it, and I think the parents all had fun, too!
Kid rating: Do I even need to bother? It was a smashing success. Big kids should love this, too. There were some older kids on the train when we were heading back to the parking lot, and we had to
push them out of the way calmly wait our turn to stand in the front of the train.
Mom rating: Fun! It was cool trip, and a great lunch is definitely a bonus.
The PHX Sky Train is an automated train that transports travelers between Valley Metro Rail at 44th and Washington streets, the East Economy Parking area and airport terminals. It’s FREE!
Contact Phoenix Sky Harbor at 602.273.3300
The train runs 24 hours a day.