Airports in Alaska tend towards the utilitarian.
The fanciest, in Anchorage and Juneau, have every amenity a modern airport can offer. But the most basic are, at heart, shipping facilities. The fact that some fraction of that ‘shipping’ is passengers only means they need to put in a few benches.
Fairbanks International Airport is somewhere in-between.
The overall architectural style leans towards ‘warehouse.’ There’s a small gift shop, a smaller bar, and a coffee stand. Still, it’s a rather lonely place to spend a few hours, especially if you have a late-night flight, and the only thing open is the bar.
And none of that matters, because FAI has the one thing that every airport should have but so many lack: a dinosaur park.
Granted, it’s small. Just a few feet long, actually, set into a concrete bowl at about knee height, under a decorated section of wall. But it’s well stocked and lovingly tended, home to a dozen toy dinosaurs.
Oh, and whatever this guy with the wings guy is.
He doesn’t even GO here.
A small plaque explains that the Dinosaur Park – and yes, small enough to fit onto your carry-luggage or not, it’s a Park – is dedicated to the memory of Charlie Richmond, and maintained by friends and employees of the airport.
That doesn’t really explain the ‘why’ behind putting a sand pit filled with toy dinos in the middle of an airport. But maybe some things don’t need to be explained.
They’re dinosaurs. They make me happy. Every airport should have at least a few.