Review

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

 

Chick- Fil- A

Small Play Place

I have to admit today I was exhausted. I really couldn't muster up enough energy to do anything big. So we decided to keep simple. I believe sometimes simplicity is best. As parents we begin to feel like we have to take lavish trips, or provide big experiences for our children to grow. I have begin to understand that it's the time spent that is most valuable. 

With that being said we went to Chick-Fil-A in Grove City. There are several placed around Columbus, Ohio and they are all equip with play equipment. We ordered our favorite chicken sandwiches, and as my older daughter and I talked, we watched Karter play in the small play area. This gym is similar to McDonald's, but I like it a little better because the chicken is real, and the overall atmosphere is clean and friendly. The play gym is for children 6 and under, totally free, and a quick way for kiddos to burn a little energy. So if your looking for simply joy and some yummy food look no further. I give this fun little play place a 10 out of 10. 

For locations and menu visit https://www.chick-fil-a.com/About/Great-Food

Vertical Adeventures

Rock Climbing 

 

Who knew this hidden gem existed. A little birdie (co-worker) mentioned a cool rock climbing place in the area in which we work. They know I am always in search of cool activities to do with my kiddos so they had to share. Located in Worthington about 20 minutes from downtown Columbus. Vertical Adventures has 2 locations. The biggest gym offers more adult activities ranging from classes, to open gym. The smaller gym, the one we visited is geared towards children of all ages.

Let's talk about the space for a minute. The gym itself was pretty amazing. Wall to wall coverage of climbing walls, obstacle courses, and all you could think of balance and coordination equipment. Great for sensory play, and gross motor development. Both Karter and Kennedy were able to maximize the entire space. 

The smaller gym offers kids classes, camps, and host many events such as family nights, and movies. There is a small picnic area designated for snacks and food: you bring yourself. There is small vending for drinks. 

Probably the best part of the entire experience is that the first visit is totally FREE!!! And after that you can purchase day passes ($5), and monthly passes as well. The staff do an amazing job showing you how to use the equipment, supporting you during the process, and trusting you enough to challenge yourself. Kids free play is offered Mon, Tues, and Friday 10a-3p. Be sure to check online for other scheduling. If I could give this facility a rating it would be 20 out of 10. But since that doesn't make sense I will gladly give them a 10 out of 10!

Nick was awesome. And he is 7 months in to loc journey!

Nick was awesome. And he is 7 months in to loc journey!

For additional information please visit: https://www.verticaladventuresohio.com/

 

Worthington Community Center- Indoor Pool

Let's Swim

This year is the first year I have had a actual spring break. I am usually working and the kids are in a camp, but this year things have changed. Gratefully my new position at the school district has provided me with regular breaks. In the great part about it is my kids are on that same schedule (Thank you baby Jesus). So when I checked the weather for the break I saw high 78 degrees and I immediately thought of water. It's been a year since we have went swimming and I couldn't resist planning a trip to the pool.

There are several community pools in Columbus. What attracted me to this pool was the location: center of Worthington, about 20 minutes from downtown. It's price: free for kids under 3, $5 for older children, and $8 for adults. The cost covers you for the day so you have the ability to come and go as you please.

Equipped with a lazy river, hot tub, water slide, and free swim. It was the perfect way to start our break. There are also local parks, gym equipment, track, ping pong, and community space to host events. Just a few tips to plan your trip: there is no food options, me and the girls packed a light lunch, swimming can make you hungry. There are vending machines that have both snacks and drinks at regular pricing. Pack swim towels, goggles, etc. They have floats and life vest at no extra cost. Be sure to check the swim schedule to make sure it is open for free swim because they do host classes. 

We enjoyed our visit for about 4 hours. As soon as the girls got in the car, they crashed. I give this indoor pool a solid 10 out of 10.

For more information please visit http://www.worthington.org/784/Aquatics

 

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

 

More...

And More...

Dave and Busters (Polaris)

Game Time

Looking for a game room to show off your competitive nature, or just to have some solid  family fun. Look no further, Dave and Busters has 2 locations in Columbus, Ohio. Both having very similar layouts, and offering the same games in both Hillard (West) and Polaris (North). Both locations about 20 minutes away from downtown Columbus. These game rooms not only have a variety of diverse range of games, they offer a restaurant with some yummy options after playing some high energy games. The menu has a variety of quick bites, burgers, and even big entrees. The awesome bonus about the restaurant is that you can select a meal option that includes a play card for an discounted price. For my caregivers, they offer a full bar, which can be used for a fun date night, or just to tolerate sensory overload, lol. For my oldest (9) had a blast, she was able to play all the games and enjoyed competing with her father who is a sore loser. For Karter (2), mommy was left chasing her, in fear that she would get lost. It can be very crowded on weekends and evenings. Very high volume, and although she enjoyed pushing buttons, there were no games quite for her age. So I allowed her to pretend she was doing whatever she chooses. Great thing about the game center is the rewards. Kennedy racked up over 1000 tickets and was able to get both herself and Karter a little gift. The kids left with little energy and slept on the way home! (Mommy Win!) I give this game center a child friendly review of 8 out of 10. Great for older children, but can be a little overwhelming. Price depends on how many games you like to play and can get pricey if you child runs through the game card quickly.

For more information visit www.daveandbusters.com

 

COSI Center of Science and Industry

COSI Columbus Dynamic Hands-On Science Center

Oh how I love an adventure. COSI Science center is definitely a place to experience. Located in downtown Columbus, it offers a family fun culture of discovery and imagination. This gem is great for kids of all ages, and even adults. With each showcase/room offering a different education experience you won't forget. We traveled to space, learned more about the ocean, traveled back in time, engaged in sensory play, and used a heck of alot of pretend play and brain power!! This place is ahhh-mazing. They host workshops, adult nights, movies, birthday parties, and a cafeteria with tons of food options. I can't get enough of COSI especially because my oldest daughter is a science nerd. They offer affordable program packages for low income families as well as discounts and coupons offered online. Otherwise it can be pricey per visit, especially those with multiples. I wouldn't let the cost deter you from coming. If once a year can satisfy your soul, I think you and your child will be happy. I give this a child-friendly review of 9 out of 10. Only because cost makes it challenging to visit more often.

For more information on planning your visit please visit cosi.org.

 

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/

 

 

 

Petland-Ohio

Pet stores turned into a petting zoo for the win...

So you know how your kids are begging to get out the house, and you really want to save money because...who doesn't like to save. So what does mommy do...I come up with the bright idea of visiting a local pet store (pats self on back). This is not any ordinary pet store, Petland-Ohio prides itself on allowing customers to have a very interactive, friendly, safe experience with pets. Located in almost every district in Columbus...including Pickerington, Hilliard, Gahanna, Powell, Dublin, and Grove City. Store hours weekdays are 11a-9p, and weekends from 10a-9p. And did I mention it's totally free!! We decided to go to the Pickerington Location on a Friday evening. It was a little crowded but didn't take away for the experience. We were able to sit in a petting space, specifically for holding puppies. We literally could hold and play with any puppy we choose. Staff provided us little toys and treats to keep both the puppy and girls busy. We then ventured to the rabbits and birds, and got to hold a snake. Karter enjoyed the fish tanks filled with exotic fish that reminded me of an aquarium of some sort. We ended with having a great dinner at Roosters for the win. Super simple, and super fun. Who knew a zoo was in our own back yard. Being a parent requires being creative, and having the ability to think on your head sometimes. We were able to leave without buying anything, and our pet desires were fulfilled. This gem is getting a 10 out of 10, for it's convenience, and super adorable animals!

For more information please visit www.petland-ohio.com

 

Piccadilly

Modern Play and Creative Cafe

I have finally found a play space centered between downtown Columbus and my home in Pickerington. This play cafe is tucked away in Bexley, Ohio, right next door to Bexley Public Library. This play space offers both free play, and a delicious cafe that offers an assortment of healthy yummy treats! For $10 you purchase an all day pass, and the best thing about this day pass is you have the convenience of leaving and coming back for free! Only able to do a quick 30 minutes? Get an express pass for $4. Kids 12+ and 6 months and younger are free! This creative cafe is directed towards crawlers to early imaginations. With a cool play gym, with plenty of puzzles, train tracks, play mats, and more, your child won't be disappointed. If you get hungry you can order from a menu of items low cost. I was able to pig out on a half avocado/grilled cheese sandwich with an half harvest salad for under 7 bucks!! This gem also offers scheduled play activities, host birthday parties, camps, and weekly child friendly events. Hours run daily until 530p, and extended hours offered on Thursday's. I give this a child friendly review of 10 out of 10! It's a perfect spot for parents to sit back, grab a cold beverage all while the little ones let go of some energy. I was able to connect with a few Bexley moms and chat! Karter and her cousin went straight for nap afterwards.

For more information regarding specific information, please visit www.piccadillydaily.com

 

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

 

 

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.