Young Eagles is a national program, designed to let kids aged 8-17 (strictly enforced) experience flight in an airplane. Our family participates in this at the Lee's Summit MO airport, which just announced this years schedule. If you are not in the Kansas City area, check with your local airport to see if they participate, or google Young Eagles to find an airport near you that does.
Young Eagles is run off of donations only and by volunteers. Various pilots donate their time, fuel expenses and airplane to give kids free rides. They do have a donation bucket you can drop money into. (FYI, plane fuel is higher priced than auto fuel...). At the Lee's Summit airport, they have a fundraiser breakfast at each event. We always make that a special treat and arrive early eat there. You can also just go for the breakfast and not fly, but watch. Please, if you fly, donate--even if only a couple dollars to keep this wonderful program going.
Kids do need an adult to sign for them to fly. Go early, as they sometimes have more kids than available flights, and they go in order in which you sign up. Some planes can take only one one passenger, and others are four or six seaters.
This is a great treat when you study aviation, transportation, or weather/clouds. Also a great way to work on a scout badge or 4H project.
Kids are given a flight log book and information about flying. Cameras are welcome. On a rare day, when riders are light, pilots will sometimes even ask if a parent wants to fly as well (but if you have other children they can't be left on the ground unattended.)
Safety is important, so during bad weather, all flights stop.