9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus

1. Attend a Skull Session at St. John Arena

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My kids love instruments and any kind of band, so we were excited, though a little nervous, about taking them to a Skull Session at OSU! It’s a great way to get caught up in the football spirit, even if you don’t have tickets to the game! A Skull Session is basically a pep rally where the marching band plays, the players come out and Urban Meyer gives a little speech . . . it’s very high energy and really a lot of fun! We are close enough to campus that we were able to walk up the Olentangy Bike Path. I’d recommend either parking on West Campus (parking is $20!) and taking a shuttle or parking in a neighborhood along the bike path and walking up the path to St. John Arena.

The Skull session happens 2 hours and 20 minutes before each game and lasts an hour. When it’s over, you can mull around amongst the tailgaters, pick up some free samples (1/4 of a Sugardale hot dog, anyone?) and enjoy the energy of game day. We were nervous because we weren’t sure what would happen to our strollers when we got there! We were able to take our strollers (yes, we had two) into the arena, but we left them outside the gymnasium, along the outer wall. It was a risk, but no one decided to walk off with a stroller on game day. Phew! I don’t know where else you could put your stroller, as the seating in the gymnasium is very tight. It worked out for us and we were really glad we did it!

You can see the schedule of OSU games here! Friends recommended arriving 20-25 minutes early to get good seats, and I will pass that advice on to you. We got there around 9:20 AM for the 9:40 AM Skull Session and were able to get good seats facing the band.

2. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

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There are so many pumpkin patch options, it’s kind of amazing! Every weekend in October is filled with Fall Festivals – honestly, I had no idea before I started this blog how many there are! Make sure to visit my post, Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals for a complete list!

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Last week, we visited Jaquemin Farms on a Monday! This one is great, in my opinion, because it is open during the week and for only $2 kids ages 3-10 can play in the corn box and run through the straw maze! Kids 2 and under are free! During the weekends, they have bouncy houses and the price is a bit higher. So if you have preschoolers at home during the week, this is a great way to spend an inexpensive morning at a pumpkin patch! Other weekday options include Circle S Farms, evenings at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm.

Another place we love to go is Smith’s Farm Market! The picture below is a few years old, but they always have a large selection of pumpkins and picturesque settings for fun pictures with pumpkins! They also have yummy baked goods and other produce!

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3. Go Apple Picking

I’ve shared about our visit to Orchard and Company, and Branstool Orchards, and here’s a list of more apple picking ideas from Columbus Moms Blog! It’s getting late in the season, but there are still apples to be picked at many farms and a lot of them have farm festival weekends as well! If you’re looking for some options during the week (as opposed to the weekend), a few farms are open on select Fridays: Lynd Fruit Farm, and Cherry Hawk Farm, to name a few.

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4. Attend Boo at the Zoo at Columbus Zoo

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Boo at the Zoo happens for two weekends in October, the 20st – 22rd, and the 27th – 29th, 2017. Dress your kids (or yourself!) in costume and visit a lot of vendors in different areas of the zoo who want to fill your kid’s basket with candy! It’s also totally acceptable to take your baby in a cute pumpkin costume in a stroller and accept candy on his or her behalf! 😉

5. Take a Road Trip

I shared 6 Ohio Road Trips to Take This Fall here, one of them being the Fall Festival at The Farm at Walnut Creek. Even if you can’t make it for the festival, a drive to Amish Country will be beautiful when the leaves (finally!) start to change! img_5573

Last week I shared about our visit to The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, which is FREE and only about an hour away! Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip!

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6. Visit a Metro Park

Once the leaves start to change, there are some great options for leaf viewing in our local Metro Parks! A great one is Battelle Darby! There are walking paths through the woods and also bison viewing! While you’re there, check out the living stream in the Nature Center!

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Inniswood Metro Park is also beautiful in the fall. Seriously, check out this picture I took last fall (below)! It felt like a fairy tale! It was amazing!

7. Visit a City Park

Don’t underestimate your local city park for fall beauty. Here is a list of all the Columbus City ParksFranklin Park is particularly beautiful in the fall! Keep an eye out for the Harvest Parties at Columbus Rec Centers. You don’t have to go far to celebrate! 🙂

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8. See Model Railroads at COSI

Mark your calendars for Model Railroad Days at COSI: October 25-29, 2017. My kids LOVE this special couple of days when several model railroad clubs take over a few galleries at COSI. There are a lot of model trains to see and also trains to play with! It only comes once a year, but it’s one of those things my oldest son always asks about!

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9. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train at Main Library

This is something I consider a Christmas tradition for our family, but it does arrive before Thanksgiving, so technically, it’s a fall activity, right? 😉  In November, the train will be installed at the New Main Library! In 2015, while the library was under construction, the train was on display at Huntington Bank downtown, and we still made sure not to miss it! It’s really beautiful, and if you have train lovers, like I do, it’s something you have to see!

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What else would you add to the list of “can’t miss” fall activities in Columbus?

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ICYMI: Exploring Dayton with Kids: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Oregon District

Exploring Dayton with Kids: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Oregon District

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Hi Everyone! I feel like I should make a major disclaimer before you read this post! There aren’t going to be a lot of technical details provided about what you see here, no (or few) historical facts offered to describe the pictures. Not only am I NOT an airplane expert, I also visited this museum with a 2 year old and a 5 year old (along with my husband!). There was not a lot of stopping to read signage or taking of notes. Nope, there was just a lot of running from one thing to see to another! And boy, oh boy, was there a lot to see! I think if you’ve had small children, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So with that in mind, I’m going to give you an overview of what there is to see and how to manage your time with kids at the Air Force Museum!

The first thing you should know about the museum is that it’s free! FREE! 🙂 Okay, now on to the rest!

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There are 4 large buildings that make up the museum. It was my instinct to go in chronological order, starting with the earliest planes and ending with the newest. But as we headed in that direction, a staff member advised us to actually start at the back with the last building, take a snack break at the Refueling Cafe, and continue through towards the front of the museum and end with lunch at the restaurant. His advice was wise, and I pass it on to you!

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Space Shuttle replica

As I mentioned, we started in the 4th building, where there is a Space Gallery. There is a large Space Shuttle replica. There were several simulators where you could attempt to fly the Space Shuttle! It didn’t seem easy, as you can imagine. 😉

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Also in the 4th building is the the Presidential Gallery, where there were several former Air Force One planes. Those were really interesting, as you could walk through a good number of them and many artifacts were left intact!

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The walk-through areas of the planes are completely covered with plexiglass.  A warning: many of the spaces are very narrow to get through! The one shown below was actually one of the wider walkways.

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Between the 4th and 3rd buildings is a Missile Gallery and above it is the Refueling Cafe. By the time we had arrived at the museum, around 11:00 AM, and walked to the back, we were ready for lunch after touring the 4th building – and thankful for the advice we had received from the staff person! The Refueling Cafe offers wraps, salads, pizza, hot dogs and snacks like yogurt, cookies, chips, drinks, and granola bars. We ended up eating lunch here. (It’s worth noting here that no food or drink is allowed to be brought into the museum!) There’s nothing gourmet about the food at the Refueling Cafe, but it is what you would probably consider “kid friendly” and the prices are reasonable. We didn’t check out the Valkyrie Cafe, but it seems pretty kid-friendly, as well, according to the menu.

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Let me stop here to say that we didn’t bring in our stroller. What were we thinking? Well, we were thinking that our newly 2 year old doesn’t want to ride in a stroller anymore, so why bring it? Well, by the end of the first building, we had acquired strollers for both kids! The museum offers them for free and since there is so much ground to cover, the strollers saved us from carrying tired kids!

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The 3rd Building covers the Cold War, the 2nd Building covers the Korean War and Southeast Asia War and the 1st building covers World War II and the Early Years. Here is my non-technical list of just a few of things you can see and do: life-sized depictions of historical moments, airplanes you can sit in, photo galleries, videos to watch, and miniature airplane exhibits. A few examples of these things . . .

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Some of the things we didn’t do include a theater, which shows 3D movies (you can see a list of shows that are being shown at the theater here), and the flight simulators. The flight simulators are $10 a person. There is also a museum store for souvenirs and official Air Force gear!

All in all, I would estimate we spent about 4 hours at the museum. There is so much to see, you have to manage your expectations with young kids. With older kids who are really interested in planes, you could easily spend the whole day!

So, we had a two year old who hadn’t napped yet on our hands, but I had read this article from Columbus Underground a few YEARS ago and I had been wanting to check out the Oregon District ever since. We needed coffee anyway, so we decided to take a chance on a tired kids and check it out!

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This section of town is home to a funky selection of restaurants, galleries, shops, [adult entertainment stores!] and a coffee shop. It’s a fun area for lunch or dinner and to spend an hour or so browsing through shops.

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Our main stop was at Press Coffee Bar for a pick me up for the drive home! Mayson fell asleep in the stroller and slept through his donut opportunity! (Don’t tell!)

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If you stop in the Oregon District, make sure to get your picture here!

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Overall, a really fun day! The trip to the museum was just about an hour for us and the fact that it’s free makes it a great day trip! You could pack a lunch to eat outside the museum, but the food there is also pretty affordable. I would just keep in mind that it’s a lot of walking for little kids, and manage your expectations accordingly! 😉

Know Before You Go:

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
Phone: 937-253-4629
Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Press Coffee Bar

257 Wayne Ave., Dayton, OH 45402
Monday – Thursday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Friday: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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ICYMI: Scenes from the New Albany Classic