Family Fun

Groveport Aquatic Center

Swimming done right!

I'm a sucker for a good pool. This year was my first summer off so I made it a point to travel to local districts to visit their pools. Something about Groveport just doesn't compare to the rest, it's in a league of it's own. I have not been in the indoor pool so this review is regarding the outdoor pool. So why do I love it so? Because all that this outdoor space offers. They not only have a kids space with a mini water slide, tons of things spraying out of no where. But they have a splash pad within feet of the main kids area for kids who just want to splash around. This was awesome for Karter (3) because there were times when the pool was just too overwhelming and she just wanted a little breathing room and the splash pad was a perfect place to do it! 

They have a huge lazy river, and Kennedy enjoyed jumping off the diving boards along with going down huge water slides. Plenty of seating, and places for Mama to get a tan, both me and the girls were dead tired when we left and nap time lasted awhile (lol). One con (because I am honest), there is no hot food options or concessions. There are only vending machines that take cash only with small snacks inside. I was prepared so I packed a small picnic basket of goodies because swimming keeps kids hungry. I did observe families ordering, or bringing in pizza from local pizza places. Daily rates are $8 for children and adults, and free for children under 2! The amenities were far more than the cons so I give this a rating of 9 out of 10!

For more information please visit: http://www.groveportrec.com/235/Aquatic-Center-Outdoor-Water-Park

 

Fun In The Jungle

Not Your Average Play Place

Am I the only parent who is signed up for notifications and alerts for family fun!? Okay good, recently I received a notice of a new play place located in Sunbury, Ohio about 30 mins outside of Downtown Columbus. What initially sparked my interest was the fact that this play place was not only geared towards little ones, but offered fun for older children. Anytime I can get both girls to have fun in the same place is a win in my book!

Upon my arrival and after talking to the owner, I discovered that this recently former skating rink turned play gym has been open for 5 months. Offering a small snack bar serving hot dogs, and pizza. They also have a video arcade, virtual reality games, mini bowling and a play gym. Karter's favorite spot was jumping off the soft play animals, and going around a self propelling train track over and over again. Kennedy was in for a loop with the VR games, and both of them couldn't get enough of the mini bowling sessions. My coupon offered 2 vouchers with unlimited arcade time for $12!! But I felt everything was very reasonable priced and affordable. They also offer birthday parties and they plan to continue to expand. I give this a child friendly review of 10 out of 10! 

For more information please visit https://funinthejungle.com/

 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Zoo

Today me and the girls spent our day at the zoo. We usually go to the zoo a few times a year because when we go we never have time to see all that it offers. What made today special was we traveled to the zoo by COTA Bus. Just an FYI the COTA offers direct rides to both The Zoo and Zoombezi Bay, and with your bus ticket you can get discounted tickets to either parks. For more information please visit COTA.com. This is also a great way to teach young children about public transportation as this is a tool essential for adulthood.

More about the Zoo....

There is not much to be said. Columbus offers one of the best zoo's in the Nation (we actually hold that accreditation). Endless animals, play parks, food, rides, animal interactions, tours, and shows. I just can't say enough. Just as a reminder to parents, make sure to pack or plan to buy plenty of water and snacks. If your children are anything like mine all the walking leads to hunger, and of course items in the park are overpriced. Great for all ages, I give The Columbus Zoo a child friendly review of 10 out of 10!

For more information please visit: www.columbuszoo.org

 

Franklin Park Conservatory

Botanical Gardens

During Halloween season we took the opportunity to go trick or treating at Franklin Park conservatory. Located 5 minutes away from downtown Columbus, and conveniently placed tucked in Franklin Park. This activity was breathtaking. Admission costing $14 for adults, $7 for children 3-7, and all children 2 and under are free. There is a nice cafe for food and drinks, and an outside park that the kids have me take them too weekly for free! Inside the conservatory you can find family events taking place (events listed on website), as well as magical place of green. As you walk through you will be able to learn about plants and flowers like you have never done before. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers enriching and memorable experiences inspired by art, culture and the botanical world. I felt like this activity was more calming then most because as I walked through I would just breathe in the fresh air and really take in all that nature has to offer. I would give this a child friendly rating of 9 out of 10. Can be pricey for large families, but the experience is worth a try.

For more information please visit: http://www.fpconservatory.org/

 

Dill's Greenhouse

Fall Family Fun

Located in Groveport, Ohio about 20 minutes from downtown Columbus, this gem has everything fall. Costing $8 per child over 2 years of age. Price including all activities not limited to a hay ride, a small pumpkin, and face painting. Small farm animals were accessible and friendly, and the staff was sweet and accommodating. We begin by a countless number of corn mazes, roasting s'mores and hot dogs in a fire pit, tubing, and of course my favorite, the sensory pit filled with dry corn!! I was shocked by the amount of things to do, and thought it would not end. I even commented to my mother who joined, are you sure we paid for all of this. It is totally worth it! Did I mention a snack stand with very cheap options such as water, juice boxes, and popcorn as well as those super simple s'more and hot dog kits for only $1! If you're looking for something not so crowded to fulfill your fall needs, try out this place. You can even enjoy the inside housing some great greenery as well. Open weekdays per reservations, limited Friday's and all day during the weekend, check it out! I give this activity a 10 0ut of 10. Maybe it was the beautiful weather that accompanied us, but I say it was perfect!

For more information please check outhttp://www.dillsgreenhouse.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Fall-Fun-Fest-2016.pdf

 

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Slate Run Living Historical Farm

Slate Run Historical Farm and Metro Park

Slate Run is located far east side of Columbus, Ohio near Canal Winchester. This gem is totally free! Not only did we get to enjoy the family-friendly farm, there are tons of trials, parks, picnic areas, and ponds to enjoy at your convenience. 

Slate Run is ran by a group of local farmers who give education behind farm living and the animals that stay there. They allowed for Kennedy to ask her million questions all while Karter had staring contest with almost all the animals. What I enjoyed most about the farm is that although the animals were secure, it was okay to touch and possibly feed the animals if warranted. The house on the farm is set up like the 1850s with some original fixtures and art that children are also able to explore.

Pigs, ducks, horses, sheep, and some creatures I had no clue their name. A little stinky but all in good fun! I would suggest to pack plenty of water and snacks as it can get very hot during the summer and there is no concessions or food available (water fountains throughout the farm and park). Both Kennedy and Karter, although their experiences were different, both enjoyed themselves. By the time we were home both girls were exhausted and nap was extended an extra hour! Totally free,  educational, and multiple outdoor activities to do. I give this adventure a child friendly review of 9 out of 10.

For more information regarding hours scheduled activities please visit:  http://www.friendsofslaterunfarm.org/

 

 

 

Get Air Columbus

Jump Around

This gem is located far West of Columbus in Hilliard, off Fishinger Blvd. A solid 40 minutes from East Columbus, and around 20 minutes from downtown. This non-stop indoor trampoline park is perfect for kiddos high of energy. With a separate section for toddlers (under 46’), obstacle courses, foam pits, dodge ball, and a whole lot of trampolines, this is a parent’s paradise. We arrived around 4pm, and it was jammed packed. I will say it gets very crowded, if you have a child that is a runner, there is no way you can take your eyes off of them. Get Air differs from Skyzone slightly due to the no wait policy. Open from 11am-11pm on weekends, awesome for parents who need to work around naptime and fear missing out on activities. Hungry? They have a small restaurant located in the gym with a diverse menu of pizza, and burgers. Unfortunately we only ordered a basket of fries for $3, and they were great! Menu looked reasonably priced. Prices for the gym are marked per hour. Kids over 46”, $14, and children under 46’, $9. You only have to pay for the first hour and hours can be added at a prorated fee. My husband and I paid to jump the first hour, well after that we were beat but the kids still had loads of energy. We simply paid for their extra hour and were able to supervise without an additional payment. I give this play space a child friendly rating of 8.5/10. Pricing is high for families of multiples and no discount is warranted for siblings. A little far from East Columbus, but everything is. Defiantly worth trying, and making a visit as often as you can afford to do so.

 For more detailed information please visit www.getaircolumbus.com

 

 

Peapod Play Cafe

Located between Gahanna and New Albany, this little gem is a perfect combination of an energy releaser and a way for parents to get a little work done. This play cafe is idea for crawlers to about age 7, depending on how imaginative your child can be. Although Kennedy was a little too old, she was able to find some interesting things to get into. This cafe offers a free play space mixed with gross motor activities, lots of imaginary play, and free movement. Karter was able to enjoy playing in a ice cream truck where she served mommy lots of make believe ice cream cones, and ended her play in a little library nook where she enjoyed books. Karter had a hard time focusing in any particular area because she couldn't decide what part of the play space she wanted to explore next. Did I mention they offer a variety of snacks, and coffee/tea options for adults!!! 

Open daily until 4pm, Thursday until 730p, and Saturday till noon. This is a stay at home moms dream. For my parents who work, it's worth getting up on a Saturday morning if you're looking for something simple to get into. Prices range from $4-$10, and for siblings 8+ it's free! Prices are determined by age and amount of siblings you bring. In addition to this being just a cool hang out spot, they offer fun child friendly classes such as story time, and art! This is also a great space to allow your child to engage socially. I give this a child friendly rating of 8 out of 10. I think that it offers an awesome, clean space, and honestly Karter was socially and physically satisfied. I wish the hours were more conducive for working parents. I know it can be challenging waking up early on a Saturday when you've worked all week, as well as get off before 4pm on a weekday to enjoy it. 

For more detailed information visit http://www.peapodplaycafe.com/

 

Newport Aquarium

Unfortunately there are no aquariums located in Columbus, Ohio, unless you want to go into a local pet store. This little gem is located 2hrs from downtown Columbus in Cincinnati, Ohio. We made this an entire day trip by also exploring some of the local attractions. What was awesome about this venue is the location, it's surrounded by water, right off the Cincinnati riverfront. The riverfront is a great addition because there are "ride the duck" tours available to escape to the water and view the city from a boat . There was plenty of places to eat, a local movie theatre, and an all around great scenery. Adult tickets are $23.99, children tickets are $15.99, and kids 2 and under are free. 

I learned that you can not take strollers inside the aquarium, but no worries they provide free child carriers. This honestly made the experience better for Karter, she was able to really visualize the experience, and be up close with the sea creatures! They offer a cool penguin exhibit, including education around penguins (they had to be hired from "Happy Feet"). With a cool play place, gift shop, cafe, and all the fish and sea creatures you could think of. I am giving this a child friendly review of 9 out of 10. 

Location is a little far out so it can be challenging if you don't have the ability to travel that far or have a little one who does not enjoy car trips. Cost can be high, but they offer specials regularly. For more details check out www.newportaquarium.com

 

Columbus Children's Theatre

Expose your children to something different

My eldest daughter has a gift for art. Visual art is her favorite, but as a mother I like to open her palette with more options. It is great for children to be exposed to all types of experiences. This can be challenging because there are things that we as adults specifically enjoy, so those are the things that we tailor our children to. It's important to not place our own biases on our children so that they can grown into their own person, or else we can get children whose purpose is to "please the parent", and they are left unfulfilled.

This gem is located in downtown Columbus in the Arena District. It is tailored to children by using play writes from famous children literature and movies, as well as using child actors. What I like most about CCT is the sensory friendly performances that recognize the sensibility to children with autism as well as children who process sensory differently (i.e. elimination of loud noises, abrupt lighting changes, quiet lobbies, etc).

Me and my daughter went to see Pinkalicious from the book series! She absolutely loved it, and the best part about all CCT performances, would be that the audience is allowed to interact with the cast after the show is over, and go on the set. My daughter enjoyed getting encouragement from the cast regarding art, and received signatures in her free performance handbook. Most shows are recommended for children 3 and older, which is self explanatory if you have a 2y/o with the inability to stay in a seat. There are some shows for older children that have more of a in depth story line. Ticket pricing starts at $15 for children, and $20 for adults. On "Thrifty Thursday" tickets will be a few dollars cheaper. Shows run regularly and change every couple months. Shows are typically 60-90m, with a intermission. I give this a child friendly review of 9 out of 10. Cost can be high, but for an occasional show it's not too bad!

We also went to North Market for lunch afterward, located next door! Local markets and vendors with amazing food options!

For information regarding ticketing, shows, classes, and sensory friendly shows. Click and past link! http://www.columbuschildrenstheatre.org/

 

Grove City Church of the Nazarene-Play Place

Oh how I love Church of the Nazarene! They have a awesome community! This little gem is located in Grove City, about 20 minutes from downtown Columbus, off Stringtown Rd. Not only do they provide church services, counseling, educational opportunities, and host many events they have an amazing "free"...yes "free" play space for children 18m-12 y/o depending on height requirements. They offer 2 story tunnels, climbing wall, air hockey, and a special blocked off section for toddlers! This indoor free space is great to allow children to knock out some energy while avoiding harsh weather or paying for play. It also offers a Cafe with lots of snack and food/drink options. Even ice cream! And if you think it's expensive to offset the cost of the free gym, you're wrong. All items were reasonably priced. For a pizza for 3, ice cream, french fries and drinks we paid a whopping $16!! We usually go on a Saturday and because this is a true hidden gem, the place is never overcrowded. There is plenty of adult sitting, and at times Karter had the entire toddler section to herself. This would also be a fun place to offer a birthday party. While there I noticed some families setting up in the cafe with tables and chairs, which is free. They also have a party room for rent. Clean, free, and fun! All in all I give this a child friendly rating of 10!

All it takes is to register in their system, this can be found online or when you arrive! Thank me later! 

https://gccn.ccbchurch.com/w_form_list.php 

 

Columbus Museum of Art

Took the girls to the museum on a Sunday. First of all, it's free on Sunday's which is awesome! On Thursday's from 5p-9p you are able to pay what you want (donations). I am a mommy who loves to be on the go so trying to stay busy while being budget friendly is always a plus. My older daughter has a passion for art, she thoroughly enjoyed every area. For Karter who is every bit of a toddler she was able to enjoy the kid friendly space they have developed. I made sure to pack lots of snacks for when Karter got antsy, but all in all it was a great experience.

I would rate this an 7 out of 10 for toddlers. Keep in mind your toddlers temperament and ability to stay contained and not touch the art pieces. 10 out of 10 for any child over 5.