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10 amazing airport amenities that will make you wish for flight delays

February saw the opening of the world's first airport-based gin distillery at London Gatwick. Museums, thrill rides, dental surgeries and swimming pools are just some of the attractions you'll find at the world's busiest airports. Here are some of the most unusual airport amenities you could be enjoying on your next trip:

An aquarium at Vancouver International Airport

If you’re flying to Vancouver, make sure you check out the airport’s enormous 114,000 litre aquarium, which contains a number of species native to Canada’s coastline. These include rainbow-hued starfish, crimson anemones, wolf eels and giant kelp. The aquarium’s glass is 15cm thick, and the tank is 5.2m deep – there’s a dedicated jellyfish aquarium, too! Located in the international terminal, it’s home to several species, including rare Pacific sea nettle jellyfish, reared at the city’s Aquarium by its resident jellyfish expert. And in case you want to sleep with the fishes as well as spend time at the airport with them, here are some of the world’s most incredible underwater hotels for you to choose from.

Vancouver aquarium

Therapy dogs at Miami International Airport

Nervous flyers are well catered for at Miami’s airport. The K-9 Volunteer Ambassadors – a team of huggable, trained therapy dogs – have been calming passengers’ nerves since 2012. Wearing their very own security passes and tabbards emblazoned with the words ‘pet me’ the dogs and their handlers wander around the airport, interacting with travellers and putting them at ease. Casey, a 69-pound Golden Retriever, was one of the airport’s first animal ambassadors, and she’s become so popular that she now has her own website and email address.

A full-size dinosaur skeleton in Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Budding paleontologists will love Chicago O’Hare International Airport, where they’ll find a 72 foot long fibreglass dinosaur skeleton. It’s a replica of the Brachiosaurus dinosaur skeleton excavated in 1900 by paleontologist Elmer Riggs, who was working in Chicago’s Field Museum at the time. For years its home was the entrance hall of the Field Museum of Natural History but was donated to the airport in 1999 to make way for the museum’s latest addition – Sue, a tyrannosaurus rex.

Dinosaur skeleton

A gin distillery at Gatwick Airport

This spring, the world’s first airport-based gin distillery opened at Gatwick airport. The centrepiece of The Nicholas Culpeper bar and restaurant (named after the famous botanist) is the distillery’s gin still, which produces up to 12 litres of the potent spirit per batch. The team behind the venture have created their very own variety, known as the Nicholas Culpeper London Dry Gin and their menu extends their boozy offering with a full English breakfast including gin-cured smoked salmon. Flight delayed? Oh well, time for another round!

Adult slides at Singapore Changi Airport

In a rush? Getting around Asia’s busiest airport is refreshingly easy, thanks to the 12 metre tall, steel tube slide, known as Slide@T3, at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Whiz between floors at terminal three, and you’ll have plenty of time to check out the airport’s fantastic shopping options, restaurants, rooftop pool, cactus garden, two cinemas and two 24-hour gyms. Let’s hope your holiday resort is as good as the airport! In fact, Changi Airport is so advanced, it made it in to our special Future of Travel report on the world’s most futuristic airport – have a look!

Singapore airport slide

Oxygen therapy at Calgary International Airport

Struggling to beat that jet-lag? If you’ve got a long stopover at Calgary International Airport in Canada, head to the OraOxygen Wellness Spa and sign up for a 15 minute session. Low doses of oxygen are administered via the nose through a small plastic tube. Therapists claim that the treatment can offset the sluggishness brought on by long journeys on stuffy airplanes, and that pure oxygen can increase energy levels and boost immunity too, so you can hit the ground running once you start your holiday.

spa treatment

A beer garden at Munich Airport

At Munich Airport you can raise a toast to beautiful Bavaria without leaving the airport. And it’s not just any beer garden – it’s Europe’s largest roofed-in beer garden, complete with lederhosen-wearing waitresses and traditional German fare, including pork knuckles, dumplings and beef goulash. So pull up a stool and enjoy a stein of weiss beer to the soundtrack of a traditional Oompah band – it’s even possible to pre-reserve your table.

Beer garden

Museum of Korean Culture at Incheon International Airport

We all know how depressing it can be to have a long layover at an airport without getting to explore the destination. But at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport in Seoul, you can brush up on your knowledge of all things Korean with a visit to the airport’s Museum of Korea Culture. Several of the artifacts are UNESCO-listed, including an ancient Korean musical instrument and The Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure, the oldest known wooden slab print in the world dating back to the eighth century. Have we peaked your interest in South Korea? Here’s our guide to the ten best things to do in Seoul.

Korean traditions

The dentist at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport

When it comes to travel-related worries, the state of your teeth probably isn’t high up there, but at Brazil’s São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, passengers with dental dilemmas can visit the first clinic inside an airport. Found in terminal two, you can get your teeth whitened and your fillings checked before boarding. It’s apparently especially popular with American travellers – prices are just a fraction of those charged by dentists in the US.

dentist

The mini Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam Airport

Get a culture fix at Amsterdam Airport with a visit to a smaller branch of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the world famous art museum. Admire the masterpieces and learn about your favourite artists – there are between eight and ten pieces on display at any one time, and themes are changed throughout the year. Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh is just one of the legends whose work you can admire here. Find out which museums and galleries to visit next time you’re in the Dam with our guide to the best the city has to offer.

Rijksmuseum

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