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SUN ‘n FUN is Kid-Friendly FUN – Tips for taking kids to Lakeland’s Annual Fly-In Aerospace Expo

SUN n FUN Blue Angels 2021

We are already starting to hear the sound of more planes flying over Lakeland, marking the start of the annual SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo. Beginning Tuesday, April 13, 2021 Lakeland will host more than 200,000 guests, volunteers, sponsors, performers, and exhibitors over 6 days at the 2nd largest air show in the world, held right here in Lakeland. Whether you are a pilot, aviation enthusiast, or just looking for a fun family-friendly event, SUN ‘n FUN has something for everyone. The event runs from April 13 – 18, 2021.

SUN 'n FUN Lakeland Florida Fly In

SUN ‘n FUN is also the perfect way to introduce children to the world of aviation. You can view more than 4,500 aircraft from homebuilts to warbirds on the 1,000 acre SUN ‘n FUN campus, attend kids workshops, play in the KidZone, and catch special events such as the afternoon Air Shows, Saturday morning hot air balloon launch, nighttime Air Shows Wednesday and Saturday, and MUCH MORE!

Many of you have likely watched the airshows from the side of the road near the airport, but if you’ve never been inside the gates of SUN ‘n FUN you are missing out on the MANY other features of this great annual event. Make this the year you check it out!

Fun Fact: During the week of SUN ‘n FUN the Lakeland Airport becomes the world’s busiest airport with over 14,000 aircraft operations within the span of a week.

SUN 'n FUN Lakeland Florida Fly In

Helpful Tips for taking kids to SUN ‘n FUN

It can be daunting to take kids to a new event, or any event that covers a large area, is mostly outside in the sun, and requires a commitment of a good part of the day, but with our handy tips below, you’ll be a pro before you even hit the entry gates!

Before You Go

  • Slather on the sunscreen – while there are vendors and exhibits indoors in the hangars, much of the event is outside in the sun.
  • Wear comfy clothes and walking shoes – you will be outside most of the day, walking on dirt, grass, and concrete.
  • Check out the SUN ‘n FUN map so you know what you might like to see – copies are available on-site as well
SUN 'n FUN Lakeland Florida Fly In

Things to Take With You

  • Stroller or Wagon – the planes and exhibits cover a very large area. If you wouldn’t go to a theme park without a stroller, don’t go to SUN ‘n FUN without one either!
  • Backpack – backpacks are allowed, and are always the best way to carry gear when you need your hands free to keep track of the kiddos
  • Chairs and blankets – if you want to sit down and watch the airshow, you might like to have a blanket or chairs instead of sitting on the ground.
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ponchos – it’s Florida, it might rain (it rained for 15 minutes when I was there last time). There aren’t a lot of indoor spaces where you can find cover.
  • Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if you have little ones with ears that need protecting – some of the airshow planes get LOUD!
  • Hand Sanitizer and a Mask – Visit the SUN ‘n FUN website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 policies.

READER TIP: One Lakeland Mom reader says “Sunscreen, snacks, earplugs or other noise help if you are going for airshows, a lot of it is dirt so comfy clothes and shoes that can get messed up. It’s hot and dirty but lots of fun!!”

SUN 'n FUN Lakeland Florida Fly In

Things NOT Allowed at SUN ‘n FUN

  • Pets
  • Coolers, outside food & drinks – there are plenty of food and drink vendors inside the event
  • Bicycles, hoverboards, skates, strap on skate shoes, golf carts, skateboards, kids scooters

Safety Tips while at SUN ‘n FUN

  • Take a photo of your kids so you’ll know what they were wearing in case you get separated and need to alert security.
  • Safety is paramount at SUN ‘n FUN. Talk to your kids before you go about behavior and safety. You’ll be walking through an active airport where aircraft might be moving right in front of you. Spinning props, loud engines, aircraft in motion – there is a LOT of activity in certain areas of the show.
  • Take precautions just as you would at any theme park or event with a large crowd. Be sure older kids have your cell phone memorized. For younger kids, write your number on their body or pin it inside their shorts. Be sure they know who to approach if they get lost – SUN ‘n FUN utilizes police support as well as a security team of volunteers with bright matching shirts. 

Directions + Parking at SUN ‘n FUN

Location– Parking for SUN ‘n FUN is located off W. Pipkin Road. Shuttles to and from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Terminal are no longer be available. Use 4175 Medulla Rd, Lakeland, FL 33811 (MAP IT) to get directions to the general area, and then follow signage or directions by traffic control officers as there are multiple entrances to the parking lots. CLICK HERE for additional info on getting there.

Parking Cost – $10/day or $40/week. Preferred parking available for $25.

READER TIP: One Lakeland Mom reader says to be sure you make a note or photo where you parked your car. Will make it much easier to remember at the end of the day!

Admission Rates + Florida Resident Deals for SUN ‘n FUN

Daily Admission Rates

  • Adult Admission Daily: $45
  • Youth (7-17) Admission Daily: $20
  • 6 & Under are FREE!
  • After 5pm Daily – Admission is only $10 for Adults & Youth (7-17). Not available online.
  • Discounts available for Certified Pilots, Members of Florida Air Museum, Aviation Member Organizations and Active U.S. Military – click here for prices

SUN ‘n FUN Florida Resident Deals for Saturday & Sunday

  • Purchase Saturday & Receive Sunday Admission for No Charge: $45 Adults / $20 Youth (7-17)
  • Sunday Admission Only: $30 for Adults / $10 Youth (11-17)
  • 6 & Under are free every day
  • Must show some form of Florida ID or Drivers License at ticket window to redeem.

Weekly Rates

  • Youth (7-17) Admission Weekly: $70.00
  • Adult Admission Weekly: $170.00

Click here for more details on admission rates and discounts. 

(Look how tiny the people are waiting to walk into this plane! It was HUGE!)

SUN ‘n FUN Activities for Kids

Exploring the Planes and Displays

Get up close and personal with thousands of planes – from homebuilt planes to warbirds, every year there are new aircraft on display. Some of the planes on site are open for you to walk through or climb aboard. Kids will love seeing the controls up close and personal and meeting real pilots!

Aviation Themed Kid Zone

Check out the Aviation-themed Kid Zone and Mobile Mountain at SUN ‘n FUN. Inflatables, zip line, games and more! Kid Zone activities are an additional charge – click here for more details and Kid Zone Pricing.

SUN ‘n FUN Family-Friendly Special Events

SUN ‘n FUN Daily Airshows

SUN  ‘n FUN hosts a daily airshow every afternoon – click here for the full schedule. The planes performing each day vary but the week includes the SOCOM Para-Commandos, Warbirds, F-16’s and many other talented pilots.

This year the Blue Angels will perform the finale of the Daily Airshows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday beginning at approximately at 4 – 4:30 PM.

Daily Airshows:
Tuesday, Wednesday – 1pm – 4:30pm
Thursday – 12pm – 4:30pm
Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 1:00pm – 5:30pm

Preferred Airshow Seating – this area is located on the flightline in front of the SUN ‘n FUN Announcer’s Stand. You will have access to seating, bathrooms, some shade (not all areas are shaded), bag storage and free water all day. Purchase allows for all day access to the Preferred Seating Area. Only $25 daily, children 6 and under are free. Click here to purchase online. (This cost is in addition to your entrance ticket)

Night Airshows – Wednesday and Saturday

When the skies go dark, the planes light up! Catch an amazing night air show on Wednesday and Saturday, including a drone light show. A video from dusk at a previous year’s night airshow is included below.

Wednesday – 7:30 – 9:30pm
Saturday – 7:30 – 10:30pm – ending with FIREWORKS!

Hot Air Balloon Launch – Saturday AM

The Hot Air Balloon Launch happens Saturday morning between 6:30-8:00am (typically at 7am, weather permitting)

Classic Car Show – Saturday + Sunday

Check out the Classic Car Show on Saturday and Sunday. Car viewing is included with SUN ‘n FUN Admission.

These favorite activities will return in 2022:

Things to Do Near SUN ‘n FUN

Are you visiting Lakeland for the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo?
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