So who said learning had to take place in a quiet environment? Not me, we took a roadtrip to the 2012 Atlantic City Airshow “Thunder Over The Boardwalk”. Invited by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, I packed my car with three excited teenagers/preteens and headed to the shore. As this was everyone’s first airshow, nobody knew what to expect – except the teen would have you believe he’d been to a dozen shows before! Our Media passes had the schedule of events printed on the back, so we could keep tabs on the entertainment. Assisting us with that was the announcing team to include Gordon Bowman-Jones, an expert in the field of aviation. Those that sat in the VIP sections and in close proximity to the speakers got the extra treat of narration throughout the airshow – extremely helpful in truly appreciating the stunts and aircraft being showcased.
Needless to say, we had an amazing time. At one point, we headed to the beach… with two just itching to get into the ocean. I stood close with my toes in the water and loved the up close views of the planes. One particular stunt plane made several rounds and loops and was super entertaining, meanwhile the kids splashed in the waves, occasionally glancing up at the artwork in the sky. We went back and forth between the sand and the VIP tent a couple of times. On the sand we found some of our blogging family with Jersey Family Fun, Real: The Kitchen & Beyond, Growing Bilingual and A Day In Our Shoes. Marissa won a prize from Kid Constructions offered by Jersey Family Fun. Several children won these prizes and a couple of them couldn’t wait to assemble and wear them. Marissa took hers home to share and complete with her sister and cousin. Below you’ll see some pictures of this Stunt Plane craft. It comes in sturdy cardboard pieces ready to be colored and then assembled (no tools required making it a perfect craft on the sand at the airshow!!). We love items like this to bring the whole experience full circle. We watched and listen to the aircraft whiz by and the announcers showcase cool facts about the jets, planes and helicopters and then to complete our experience we got to build our own plane and pretend to be part of the show. Hands on activities like this Kid Constructions “Wearables Stunt Plane” really make a difference in reinforcing a learning moment. (PS – they offer the cutest wearable Dozer and Princess Carriage!) Highly recommended as a super cool and super easy aircraft construction activity.
So back to the show… and how one might take advantage of a learning opportunity here. Well for starters, it is a great way to reflect on the varying Military Services in the US. There were a couple of touching moments of reflection and it is always good to remind our children of our freedom and its cost. Also, as I mentioned the announcers offer tid-bits of information throughout the event and you can always expand on any goodies they throw out there. One thing I thought was kinda cool that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up on is the Stratotanker’s purpose of refueling MID-AIR! Of course they had demonstration planes like the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Red Eagle and I’d point out that it’s obvious these pilots paid attention in their Math and Science classes to pull these stunts off. A couple pieces from WWII included Supermarine Spitfire, AT-6 Texan, and the P-51 Mustangs so it was history in the sky that day. All in all, the best part is that I don’t have to be an Aviation Engineer or fanatic for that matter to enjoy the show and make it an educational fun time for my family.
Many thanks to ACCVA for providing refreshments, as it was a HOT one! And speaking of hot, just as we thought we might pack it in and head for the car… the THUNDER began! Oh my, I had no idea just how loud and fast those jets are. We were in for a real treat as these suckers came flying in over our heads just as loud as could be. Poor Marissa, she has a sensitivity to loud sounds but she was prepared with earplugs and a cousin more than willing to help cup her ears. You really had to be on the look out because they scooted past so fast and THEN you heard them, almost with no warning. I think the Black Diamond Jet team was the guys’ favorite part, but I have to admit to liking the helicopters (like the Navy Seahawk) best myself. It was a hot and crowded day on the beach and if you are considering the show for next year, you might want to think about the Flight Line (tent) packages, offering refreshments and shade and seating off the sand. All of that information and more can be found by clicking on the below website or following via Twitter or Facebook.
Disclosure: We were provided with a media family pass, allowing us access to the ACCVA tent and within listening reach of the announcers.