4 Amazing New Exhibits for Columbus Kids!

4 Amazing New Exhibits for Kids in Columbus

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Something new is always popping up for kids to do in Columbus! It’s one of the amazing things about Columbus – we never lack for something to do! It’s at least a part time job keeping up with it – I can testify to that personally! 😉

Two of these exhibits are permanent and two are temporary, so mark your calendars so you don’t miss these fun, family-friendly exhibits!

1. American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery

The new Dinosaur Gallery at COSI is a permanent exhibit that is included with admission or membership! If you have dinosaur lovers, they will be enraptured! The exhibit includes a full-size cast of Tyrannosaurs Rex, dinosaur bones, a model of an Oviraptor nest kids can actually climb on, dinosaur prints and many, many more educational displays, interactive exhibits and models! COSI is open every day, May through August, and Wednesday through Sunday beginning late September through April.

2. The Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

In late October, Columbus Museum of Art unveiled a newly remodeled Wonder Room! The room was created to feel like kids are entering a large “blanket fort” in which to play and imagine! Like the previous design, there are several stations with hands-on activities for kids, but the new theme leans towards textiles, fabrics and tactile experiences. There’s felt, fashion design and weaving. You can also create spiders out of craft materials, draw, and hide out under the stars. Visiting this exhibit is included in your admission or membership to CMA.

  

3. Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit at Easton Town Center

This temporary collaboration between Easton and Miami Children’s Museum, presented by Warner Bros. is the first licensed traveling exhibit based on the movie The Wizard of Oz. It will be housed on the 2nd floor of the Easton Station Building until March 25, 2018. Kids can create a tornado in Dorothy’s house, make their own scarecrow, see scenes from the movie, pick vegetables on the farm, try out optical illusions, climb through the the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West and take part in daily scheduled activities and crafts! Space inside the exhibit is limited so anticipate a short wait in line to get in. There are no flying monkeys or wicked witch, in case you’re concerned about scaring the kids, but there is a Wizard who lights up with a glowing red fire. This is a free exhibit!

 4. Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

While you’re visiting the Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art, be sure to check out Think Outside the Brick, a temporary, but annual, collaboration with Ohio LEGO User’s Group! This exhibit, entirely made of LEGOs includes a large display of the city of Columbus, as well as other scenes like pirates, zombies, airplanes, a park and more! On the wall of the room there is a list of items for kids to search for within the scene! Also on the first floor, check out the area for kids to make their own creations out of white LEGOs to display on shelves against a black wall. This exhibit is included with admission or membership and will be on display through March 2, 2018! The Columbus Museum of Art is free on Sundays!


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ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio

4 Amazing New Exhibits for Columbus Kids! Don't miss these amazing exhibits in Columbus Ohio! Some are temporary!

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Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio

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These are the top 10 family-friendly things to do in Columbus Ohio!

Columbus has so much to offer families! It’s a great place to live, work, play and visit! Every day it seems I run across something new going on or a special event to check out! My family moved here 10 years ago and we have fallen in love!

If you’re new to Columbus, planning a trip to Columbus or a new parent in Columbus, these are the top 10, can’t miss family-friendly things to do in this amazing city!

1. Center of Science and Industry

One of the top science museums in the country, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) has something for kids (and adults) of all ages! There are 2 full floors of hands-on science exhibits with different themes from Oceans to Gadgets to Energy, a cafe, a little kidspace that’s perfect for the 6 and under crowd, a permanent American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery and seasonal, traveling exhibits.

2. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Another gem in Columbus is the Zoo and Aquarium! Highlights include the Heart of Africa, the Polar Frontier and the new Shores Play Park! The Zoo is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Don’t miss the special shows, programs for kids and holiday events like Boo at the Zoo and Wildlights! During the summer you can combine your visit with water play at Zoombezi Bay (additional tickets required)!

3. Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library and Topiary Park

The Main Library in downtown Columbus was remodeled in 2016 and offers a large children’s area, reading rooms, a coffee shop and cafe, gift shop with unique items, and outdoor patio and access to the internet. It’s worth stopping here even if just to check out the unique Topiary Park just East of the library. There is access to the park from the library. The park is a sculptural interpretation of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. There are 54 people made of plants and bushes as well as boats, dogs and other animals, standing up to 12 feet tall!

4. Columbus Commons

Looking for a green space in the middle of the city to put your feet up and let the kids run around? Look no further than Columbus Commons. Not only is there a huge green space for kids to run around in, during the warmer months there is access to art supplies and books on most days and a carousel! There are two permanent cafes in the park, Tortilla – Mexican street food and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – some of the best ice cream in Columbus! Throughout the season the park hosts many events, concerts and festivals including Commons for Kids on Friday mornings during the summer.

5. Columbus Museum of Art

Believe it or not, there is a lot for kids to do at the Columbus Museum of Art! Check out the Wonder Room, a space completely dedicated to kids where they can explore various textiles and activities to inspire the artist inside. Throughout the museum there are rotating activities for kids to make connections to the art on the walls. Each year the museum is home to Think Outside the Brick, a huge LEGO display and opportunities for free building. Look for opportunities to take a Family Adventures Tour or drop in on a Young Child Studio. Bonus: the museum is FREE on Sundays!

6. Inniswood Metro Gardens

Many of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offer amazing play and learning opportunities for kids, indoors and outdoors, but Inniswood Metro Gardens is especially magical for children. The park includes a Sister’s Garden with places for kids to play, look for frogs and hide in the Secret Garden. Kids can walk amongst the trees on suspension bridges and climb into a treehouse. The park also offers programs for children throughout the year.

7. Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory offers the opportunity to step into another climate, be it the desert or the rain forest! Amazing botanical displays are a guarantee and exhibits rotate throughout the seasons. In the spring Blooms & Butterflies opens and your family can watch newly emerged butterflies be released into the habitat. There is a small children’s play area, preschool programs and family friendly activities on Saturdays. The conservatory itself has indoor and outdoor components and new in 2018, they have added an amazing Children’s Garden which is included in admission and offers a full experience in itself! (Read all about it here.) The public grounds around the Conservatory are beautiful in themselves and also include a playground!

8. Scioto Audubon Metro Park

The only Metro Park in downtown Columbus is the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Within it is the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. The best views of downtown Columbus can be seen from the Center and inside there is a children’s play area, live animals on display and lots of opportunities for bird watching! Walk through the park, over the boardwalk to the climbing wall and playground area for extra exercise! Outside the Audubon Center there is a sand box for kids to play in, a chalk board and overlook decks to spot wildlife! See 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon for more ideas!

9. Ohio History Center

The Ohio History Center is the hub of the Ohio History Connection, which includes 58 historic sites around Ohio. The Ohio History Center features exhibits highlighting the history of Ohio including a life in the 1950’s, pioneer Ohio, Ohio animals, including a large Mastodon on display, a children’s play area, vehicles and airplanes on display and much more. During the summer months, Ohio Village, an outdoor village that recreates life in the 1800’s is open for exploring and special events.

10. Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center is your one stop destination for shopping, eating, playing and more! This open air mall offers just about any store you can imagine, fountains for splashing, a model train and kid-friendly stores like Build-A-Bear, American Girl, The LEGO Store and coming in the fall of 2018, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center! Beyond shopping, Easton offers tons of stand-alone restaurants to choose from as well as a food court.

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ICYMI: The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes

Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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Every year I feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the Holiday events I really don’t want to miss. A few years ago, I sat down and wrote them out on a calendar. And THAT is pretty much where the idea for this blog began! 😉  Now we’ve come full circle and, though there are probably hundreds of holiday events going on around town, today I am sharing 10 things my family loves doing at Christmastime in Columbus!

1. Village Lights

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Hands down, this is my favorite Columbus tradition of the entire year. Wow, did I really just say that? I did. I look forward to this probably more than anything else. I honestly don’t know how much my kids like it, but there are teddy bears and free cookies and hot chocolate, so I haven’t heard any complaints! The streets of German Village are lit with luminaries and restaurants, shops, and even a few private homes along the route are open late with special deals, free goodies and live music! Designated parking areas and shuttles are available.

When: December 3, 2017, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: throughout German Village

2. Wildlights

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You have to see Wildlights! The light shows are spectacular and the zoo becomes an (even more) magical place for about 6 weeks leading up to New Year’s Day! The first time we ever attempted to go to Wildlights, there was so much traffic that by the time we got there it was too late for my 1 yr old and we just drove right on by the entrance and back on home! Weekends are very busy, so if you can, I suggest trying a week day evening and arriving before 5:00 PM! If you’re a member, you can also avoid the crowds by catching the Member Preview on November 16th.

When: November 17, 2017 – January 1, 2018 (Wildlights begins at 5:00 PM)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

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3. Gardens Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)

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Gardens Aglow offers special holiday decorations, performances and evening hours at Franklin Park Conservatory. Throughout the season live music and special events are scheduled and the Conservatory is decorated beautifully (that goes without saying)! There are lights throughout inside and outside and it’s breathtaking! From December 1-31 (except for the 24th and 25th) they are open until 9:00 PM. There will be special family-friendly activities happening all through the season!

When: November 11, 2017 – January 3, 2018: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, December: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

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4. Bicentenial Park

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Throughout the holiday season, the Scioto Mile is awash in light – Christmas lights, that is! What was previously The Grand Illumination will be replaced by WinterFest this year! Taking place on Saturday, December 2, 2017, it will include live performers such as Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, food trucks like Paddy Wagon and Pitabilities, as well as the opportunity to purchase soup from Milestone 229 in a handmade bowl as part of the Empty Bowls initiative. The park will be full of lights beginning November 17th!

When: November 17, 2017 through Early January 2018
Where: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

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5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows

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When you’re at Bicentennial Park, make plans to walk a few blocks to Columbus Commons where the park will be filled with holiday displays and lights! Just across the street (at the corner of High and Town) in the old Lazarus building, the windows will be filled with scenes from the 12 Days of Christmas!

When: Late November through early January from dusk until to 11:00 PM
Where: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

6. Huntington Holiday Train

Main Library is home to the Huntington Holiday Train and every year this amazing display is set up during the holiday season! This year, the library will begin set up of the train on November 17, 2017 and is usually up through New Years!

When: November 17, 2017 – Early January, 2017
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

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If you happen to have kids that like trains, there is a also holiday train set up at the Ohio History Center. Granted, it’s not quite as elaborate as the Huntington Train, but since we’re members at Ohio History Center, this one is still a no-brainer for me and two boys who love trains! We don’t miss it!

When: Late November – Early January
Where: 800 E. 17th. Ave., Columbus OH 43211

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8. Think Outside the Brick

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This exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art isn’t even holiday themed, but it arrives in November and says goodbye in March, so in my mind it’s associated with Christmas! If you have kids on Christmas break, this would be a great reason to take them to the Art Museum! The LEGO replica of Columbus is awesome and we love to visit at this time! There are usually blocks for free building in the Big Idea Gallery, too! Admission is free on Sundays and on Thursday nights you “pay what you want” from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM! See more pictures from our visit here!

When: November 10, 2017 – March 2, 2018
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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9. Easton

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We always enjoy going to Easton at Christmastime – and not just to do our Christmas shopping! There is a life-sized nativity and a humongous Christmas tree (an all-new, 50 ft tree covered in 28, 680 RGB LED’s arrives in 2017!)! There are carriage rides, live music performances and the lighting ceremony takes place on Friday, November 17, 2017 beginning at 6:00 PM and includes a parade, a fireworks show, a visit from Santa and more!

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When: beginning November 17, 2017
Where: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

10. State Auto Christmas Corner

Christmas Corner is something we love to do close to Christmas Eve! You can walk through a life-sized nativity following the Christmas story! The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM. There are choirs scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 23rd and free hot chocolate (donations accepted!) will be available on those evenings!  There are ample parking lots designated for viewing this display!

When: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 through Christmas Day when baby Jesus is placed in the manger.
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

I hope that whatever you chose to do, you have a special season with your family!

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ICYMI: Columbus Tip Sheet: November 2017


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