5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus

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There is no shortage of things to do during the summer in Columbus! In fact, I compiled a huge list for Columbus Moms Blog! But there are so many things, it can get overwhelming to try to keep track and try them all, so I thought I’d do a short list of some of the things we’ve actually done this summer to give you some tips and ideas if you need them!

1. Attend a Free Program at one of the Metro Parks

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In May, we attended the Pre-K program at Darby Creek Metro Park about seeds. The kids got to hear stories about planting and then plant their own seeds in a cup. It was exciting when one day we discovered our seeds had actually bloomed!

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We also attended a story time at the Scioto Audubon. Most of the Metro Parks have some type of program for kids (and for varying age groups), and except for a rare occasion, they’re free! There are so many great opportunities to take advantage of at our Metro Parks! Click the link here to search for upcoming programs!

2. Splash at FountainSide at Bicentennial Park

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FountainSide takes place most Wednesdays from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at Bicentennial Park. (Check the schedule in the link for the dates.) We attended the first one in June. The fountain area is really large and there are activities that take place in tents around the park. We got to blow bubbles, pet turtles, see chameleons eat bugs, crawl through tunnels, do a scavenger hunt in a pretend stream and plant seeds in a pot to take home!

Donatos sells slices of pizza for $2 and the Lazer Kraze Treat Truck is on site to pass out free ice cream bars! It was a really fun time. I recommend bringing a blanket and staking out a spot on the lawn. My kids aren’t into splashing in fountains (though they will certainly go out of their way to splash in any muddy puddle they see, thank you, Peppa Pig.) but there was plenty to do anyway! If you can’t make it during the week, the fountains are available for play from 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM daily.

3. Tour the Velvet Ice Cream Factory

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We didn’t actually tour the factory, but we did attend the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival on the grounds of the Velvet Ice Cream Factory on Memorial Day.  Since it was a holiday, the factory was not in operation, but we did get to see videos and take a look at the factory from the viewing window.

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The grounds of Velvet Ice Cream have a playground, a sand box, a pavilion, a gift shop and museum area, as well as restaurant and an ice cream shop, of course! It was about a 50 minute drive from downtown Columbus. 30 minute tours of the museum take place on the hour from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM on weekdays. The tours are not offered on weekends, holidays and some Fridays.

4. Ride the CBUS

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The CBUS is a fun and FREE way to get around downtown Columbus! Not only will it save little legs from walking (or more so, your back from carrying) long distances, it’s an exciting way to see the city! The bus runs every 10-15 minutes, every day! We took the CBUS on Mother’s Day when we had dinner at Northstar and then ice cream at Jeni’s (is that the perfect Mother’s Day or what?!). Note to self, it stops at 6:00 PM on Sunday! We didn’t realize that small fact in time! Luckily it was a short walk back to our car – but something to keep in mind if it happens to be Sunday and you don’t want to get stuck at the other end of town!

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Maybe it’s because my kids are boys, but they were very excited to watch for and ride the bus! Jaden kept wanting to know how the bus knew where we wanted to go! 😉 The great thing is that it goes in a loop, so you can’t possibly miss your stop! Just wait at one of the specific CBUS signs along the route (see the link), and then pull the cord above the window when you want to get off. Take the CBUS to and from the Short North and the Brewery District, getting on and off wherever and however many times you want. Use it to get to a specific destination or just ride it for fun and enjoy the sights! (FYI, you can bring your stroller and fold it up when you get on the bus!)

5. Visit Ohio Village at Ohio History Center

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Ohio Village is open for the summer and it has been updated to represent the 1890’s! You can try out an adult-sized tricycle at the new bike shop, take your photo 1890’s style, talk with the residents about their everyday life or play old-fashioned games on the Village Green.

We attended on Opening Day and the streets were bustling with activity! We got to try hand-cranked ice cream and take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Ohio Village is only open through Labor Day and is included with your admission (or membership) to Ohio History Center. (You can read our review here.) Saturday, June 18th is Storybook Village and your kids can meet with their favorite PBS Kids friends! (There is usually a line for this event and it is very popular so come early!) On June 19th, the Ohio Village Muffins play vintage “base ball” on their home field!

I plan to do this kind of post a few times this summer so keep an eye out! Enjoy your summer!

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ICYMI: Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield


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What Should We Do This Weekend? June 3-5, 2016

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Here we are, the first weekend in June already! I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine! I know I, for one, am happy to be able to get these kids out of the house every day! I always start out the day with the goal of letting them run around and get tired out, but they just seem to keep on going no matter how much running they do! 😉 Here are 12 things to do this weekend! Enjoy it!

1. Kids Concert on the Green on Worthington Village Green

When: Friday, June 3, 2016
Time: 11:30 AM
Location: 2 E. Dublin Granville Rd., Worthington, OH 43085

Mr. Eric will perform at this interactive and fun Kids Concert!

2. Music + Movie at Bicentennial Park

When: Friday, June 3, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: 233 Civic Center Drive, Columbus, OH 43215

A fun combination of Rhythm on the River and Movies on the Mile brings you the Arnett Howard band at 7:30 PM and a showing of the movie Inside Out at dusk! This event is free!

3. Strawberries on the Square in Newark

When: Friday – Sunday, June 3 – 5, 2016
Time: Friday and Saturday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 5 S. 3rd St, Newark, OH 43055
Phone: 740-983-4797

Live music, rides, games, crafts, food and, of course, strawberry shortcakes are what this festival is all about in downtown Newark! If you’re looking for a short road trip this weekend, it sure sounds tasty!

4. Hubbard School Bazaar and the Short North Yard Sale

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 104 W Hubbard Ave, Columbus, OH 43215 (and surrounding neighborhood)

Search for treasure at the Short North Yard Sale – individual yard sales happen all around the neighborhood! Stop by Hubbard School Bazaar to support the school and shop for kids stuff, sample coffee from Boston Stoker, and more! Bring a pair of shoes in any condition to donate to help the school raise money. See more here.

5. Summer at Reeb: A Community Celebration at Reeb Avenue Center

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 280 Reeb Ave, Columbus, OH 43207

Kick off the summer with a family-friendly celebration while learning more about the services at the Reeb Avenue Center! The event features free food and live music by the OSU Alumni Marching Band and Supafun Band! If your kids love our local heroes, they’ll enjoy the Columbus Police Mounted Unit and a Columbus Fire Department truck. The celebration also includes face painting, balloon twisting, and more fun provided by the Columbus Zoo, COSI and Columbus Museum of Art.

6. Touch A Truck at CenterPoint Gahanna

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 620 McCutcheon Rd, Gahanna, Ohio 43230

Children can climb on, touch and pretend to drive all kinds of large vehicles! A bounce house and food trucks will also be on location!

7. Grand Opening of Columbus Metropolitan Library, Parsons Branch

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: 1113 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH 43206

Join Columbus Metropolitan Library for a dedication ceremony (12:00 PM – 12:30 PM) of the new Parsons Branch! The celebration that follows will include family friendly activities and entertainment! You can enter a drawing for an eReader and sign up for a commemorative library card!

June 4th is also the kick-off of the Summer Reading Club at Columbus Metropolitan Library! Sign up online or at any location to start reading books and winning prizes! (As a side note, I once won tickets to The Nutcracker in the adult summer reading program! Reading to your kids counts, so Mom and Dad, you should sign up, too! 😉 )

8. Touch a Turtle at Blendon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Location: Nature Center, 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111

An opportunity for kids of all ages to learn all about turtles! If you need more up close interaction with outdoor creatures you could also check out What’s That Bug on Sunday!

9. Summer in the 614 Festival on Worthington Village Green

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: 2 E. Dublin Granville Rd., Worthington, OH 43085

Enjoy local musicians, family-friendly activities, games, food and more! Music from 4-8:30 PM. Activities from 4-7 PM.

10. Cap City Nights Festival at Linden Community Center

When: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: 1254 Briarwood Ave., Columbus, OH 43211
Phone: 614-645-3067

This is the first of 8 summer festivals at Columbus Recreation and Parks Community Centers aiming to bring together neighborhood partners and empower them to work together to reduce violence. The festivals will feature free food, live entertainment, inflatable games, a video game truck, community art projects and more! The link will take you to the list of all 8 festivals and their respective dates.

11. Family Days at Pizzuti Collection

When: Sunday, June 5, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 632 N Park St, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-280-4004

Free admission to the Pizzuti Collection will be offered on the first Sunday of each month through December! These special days include guided children’s tours at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM and a scavenger hunt. Each child will also be given their own sketchbook! You can read about our visit to the Pizzuti Collection here.

12. Forest Discovery Tour at Camp Mary Orton’s ZipZone Canopy Tours

When: Sunday, June 5, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Highbanks Metro Park, 7925 North High St. (Rt.23), Columbus, Ohio 43235
Phone: 614-847-9477

Learn about nature from the tree tops as you zip line through this guided tour! This activity is open to anyone ages 7 and up! Call for pricing and reservations.

ALSO . . . Make sure to bookmark these two posts from Columbus Moms Blog: Best of  Columbus: Free Summer Events and Best of Columbus: Free and Cheap Summer Activities and I promise you will never run out of things to do this summer!! 🙂

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ICYMI: Pizzuti Collection + Le Chocoholique

*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

 


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Pizzuti Collection + Le Chocoholique

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I have to tell you, looking at the pictures for this post makes me feel all warm and fuzzy . . . not just because this was a great time with my son, but specifically because I was having a really rough parenting week (season?) and this outing was a little bit of healing.  My son is 4 and since the arrival of his little brother on the scene, almost 2 years ago, every day is a competition for mom’s attention. But when he has my undivided attention, he is like a different child. We had such a sweet and special time doing this together. The other thing about little brother arriving on the scene is, though they are competitive with each other, they are also attached at the hip. I literally had to drag Jaden out of the house, crying, to do this.  I almost gave up, but my husband encouraged me to keep going. Sometimes for parents, our gratification is REALLY delayed, but shortly after getting to the museum, Jaden said to me, “This is a lot funner than crying!” THANK YOU. (Now remember that the next time I have to drag you out of the house to do something fun, for pete’s sake!)

I especially wanted to share this post this week in particular because this weekend is Family Day at the Pizzuti Collection and I wanted to encourage you to give it a try! Family Days happen the first Sunday of each month through December, 2016. [Updated June 22, 2016: Family Days now happens on the first Saturday of the month during Gallery Hop!] Admission is free, there are guided children’s tours, an art-themed scavenger hunt and your child gets a free sketchbook. AND the meters are free in Columbus on Sundays, so that makes this outing extra easy on the wallet!

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The hours on these special Sundays are 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. We didn’t get to the museum until 4:00 PM, but for a 4 year old, that was plenty of time. We didn’t make it for a guided tour, but that was probably okay for a 4 year old’s attention span as well! We picked up the booklet for the scavenger hunt, but didn’t do that either. (Boy, I’m really selling it here, aren’t I?) 😉 What WAS a hit was the sketchbook. I saw my little boy come alive as he pretended to be an artist and draw the things he saw in the museum. Don’t get me wrong, I think the tours and the scavenger hunt are a great idea for engaging older kids and you should definitely do them! For my son, this was an introduction to the art world, a chance for him to dip his toe in the water. And, in my book, it was a rousing success!

We walked around the 3 floors of the museum, looking at paintings, pictures and sculptures and then spent a good amount of time outside in the sculpture garden. Here’s a little taste of our time:

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Drawing in his sketchbook.

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Jaden really loved finding the surprising things built into the stone benches. A toilet flusher? Awesome! A light switch? Cool!

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And don’t forget to check out the statue of a man peeing . . . it might help with the last nudge over the potty training hill.

Obviously, the age of your child is going to determine what they get out of this experience. One thing I wanted to mention was that there is an exhibit referencing the shootings at Columbine High School and a few of the pieces have images of guns in them. My son did not notice this at all, so it never came up, but you may want to be prepared for that conversation, depending on the age of your kids.

After the museum, we walked over to Le Chocoholique for a little treat. We each picked out a chocolate that turned out to be pretty kid friendly: a chocolate covered Oreo and a chocolate covered Nutter Butter! Le Chocoholique serves all kinds of amazing chocolates (most of them a little more high brow than Oreos and Nutter Butters!), coffee and alcoholic drinks and other fancy desserts. On beautiful days like the day we went, the windows open to the street and it’s a great space for people watching!

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After eating our chocolates, on a last minute whim, we headed across the street to Blick Art Materials. I thought it would be a great opportunity to connect the dots between the art work and the supplies that artists use to make it. Unfortunately we arrived at literally the last minute and they were closing, but we walked through one aisle full of paint and paint brushes and I was still glad we did it. (Learn from my mistakes, though, and go a bit earlier!).

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Sunday would be a great afternoon for exploring the Short North! You could combine your trip to the museum with lunch or dinner. Some kid-friendly options for eating out in the area would be Melt Bar and Grilled, Fabian’s Chicago Style Pizza Place, or Stack City Burger Bar. You could also have dessert at Jeni’s or Whit’s. The museum is across the street from Goodale Park so you could take a walk around the park or head to the playground! For some more ideas, you can check out my post, Saturday Morning in the Short North!

Another option for continuing the art theme of this outing would be to print this map of the Short North Mural Series: Blank Spaces, and use it as a scavenger hunt for the murals that are on buildings all around the neighborhood.

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Let me know if you give this outing a try! I’d love to hear what your kids thought!

Know Before You Go:

Pizzuti Collection
632 North Park St., Columbus, OH 43215
614-280-4004

Le Chocoholique
601 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
614-223-4009
Sunday – Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Blick Art Materials
612 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
614-224-7708
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Parking: as I mentioned, the meters are free on Sunday! You can try to find a spot in front of the museum on N. Park St. along Goodale Park, or on W. Goodale St., on the south end of Goodale Park. There is also The Joseph Garage right behind the museum at 33 W. Russell St. Check out this link for more parking options.

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ICYMI: Playdate in Uptown Westerville


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