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Free Range: The Thomas A. Dixon Aircraft Observation Area

A playground and park at the end of a BWI runway provides a spot to watch commercial jets swoop low overhead.

There's a place where you can ride a bike, let kids clamber on a playground and get an up-close view of commercial jets flying low.

The Thomas A. Dixon Aircraft Observation Area is located in Friendship Park, on Dorsey Road (Route 170) near Arundel Avenue, at the south side of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. A detailed map of the Dixon aircraft observation area, with driving directions, is here.

Located less than 700 feet beyond runway L33, jetliners take off or land--depending on the wind direction--so low over the observation area that it seems you can almost reach out and touch them. Every few minutes, the roar of engines fills the air.

Kids will enjoy the park's well-maintained playground. The park is also popular with bicyclists, runners and joggers, as the 12.5-mile BWI Trail loop passes through.

Although the park lacks bathroom facilities, two portable toilets are located near the playground. On most weekends, a snow cone truck is at the curb in the parking lot.

Free Range is about places outdoors that are healthful recreation for people of all ages.

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