15 Activities Kids Can Do for Free at the Ohio State Fair

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A trip to the Ohio State Fair can be budget friendly AND fun when you mix in these 15 free activities for kids!

Thanks to Ohio State Fair for partnering with us on this post!

A trip to the Ohio State Fair can end up costing a whole family a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to! In the past few years that we have attended the Ohio State Fair, these are some activities my kids have really enjoyed that don’t cost anything beyond admission!

Save money with these free, kid-friendly activities within the grounds of the Ohio State Fair!

Don’t miss the list of special deals happening each day at the Ohio State Fair that I have listed at the end of this post!

1. Scavenger Hunt

Pick up a scavenger hunt form at the Agriculture is Cool tent and answer 10 questions throughout your journey through the fair. The answers are posted on signs in various locations that have the headline “Did you know?” If you answer them all, you can turn in your form for free ice cream! This is free for kids AND adults!

Ag is Cool Passport and Scavenger Hunt

If you want to do the scavenger hunt, make sure to enter through Gate 1 (Cardinal Gate or North Entrance) so you can hit up the Agriculture is Cool tent to pick up your scavenger hunt form and ice cream coupons first!

2. Dig and Dump in the Corn Bin

Boys playing in corn bin at Ohio State Fair

Inside the Agriculture is Cool tent, young kids will love dumping and scooping corn kernels. Every parent I’ve seen has had to drag their kids away from this display! 😉

3. Animal Shows

Kids who are into animals might enjoy watching other kids show their animals and win awards! Each day the Ohio State Fair prints a schedule for the day and you can pick it up at the entrance OR view or download the schedule of any given day online by clicking here.

4. Budweiser Clydesdales

Budweiser Clydesdales at Ohio State Fair

The whole family can walk through a tent to see the Budweiser Clydesdale horses up close, watch them get bathed and groomed and view their fancy saddles!

5. Live Entertainment

There are all sorts of free shows going on throughout each day on the Main Street and Gazebo Stages! Free live music from salsa to bluegrass to classic rock (schedule here) and other shows featuring jugglers, magic and illusions, ax throwing, a cappella singers, and more can also be seen (schedule here)!

6. Milk a Cow

Milk a Cow at Ohio State Fair

Kids can get up close and personal with a cow and learn how to milk it! Milk the cow from noon to 4:00 PM in the OVMA Veterinary Education Center. There will also be babies on display in that area. We saw newborn calves!

7. See the Butter Cow

Butter Cow at Ohio State Fair

This is a can’t miss Ohio State Fair exhibit! This year’s theme celebrates 35 years of A Christmas Story, the famous movie filmed in Cleveland in 1983!

8. Petting Zoo

Petting zoo at Ohio State Fair

Entrance to the Petting Zoo is free so kids can pet animals to their heart’s delight! At the door they sell small cups of carrots for $2 and large cups for $5. You can bypass these and buy dry feed out of machines for $.25 a handful.

9. Model Trains

Model Train at Ohio State Fair

The Cardinal Building is full of all kinds of fun arts and craft projects from doll houses to miniature displays and crafts made out of Brillo pads! Also in the building are several Model Train displays and a Thomas display kids can operate themselves!

10. Natural Resources Park

Natural Resources Park at Ohio State Fair

This fun area is maintained by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – inside there is a butterfly house, watercraft simulator, fishing for kids, kayaking, archery and other educational displays and activities! This is a great area for kids and all of these activities are free!

11. Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear at Ohio State Fair

Kids will be amazed when a 14 foot Smokey Bear calls them by name! When walking through the Natural Resources Park, a worker will try to find out your kids’ names on the sly and pass them on so Smokey can personally remind your child never to play with matches!

12. Play in the Sand Box

Sand Box at Natural Resources Park at Ohio State Fair

My kids LOVE this sand box in the Natural Resources Park! It’s for kids age 5 and under and they ask you to limit your time in there to 15 minutes but as long as it’s not super busy, no one is clocking in and out!

13. Pig Races

Pig races take place several times a day in the Meijer Kiddieland area and are free to watch!

14. The Nerveless Nocks All American Stunt & Thrill Show

Watch daredevils as the perform crazy stunts like riding motorcycles around each other in a huge hamster wheel! 3 show times each day!

15. Mini Golf

Mini Golf at Ohio State Fair

Mini Golf gets an honorable mention here for costing less than a bottle of water! Inside the Beef building, kids can do a round of mini golf for $2.

Know Before You Go:

  • Regular admission at the gate is:
    $10 – Adults 13-59
    $8 – Seniors 60+
    $8 – Children 5-12
    Free – Children under 5
    $6 – Advance sale admission tickets
  • Parking is $5
  • Admission gates are open from 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM (9:00 AM – 7:00 PM on August 5th.)
  • Rides will run from 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM and until midnight on Fridays and Saturday.

Other tips for saving money at the Ohio State Fair:

-Pack your own lunch or snacks

-Bring your own water bottle (no glass allowed). (Trust me on this one. I brought my water bottle but at the last minute I decided not to take it in because I didn’t feel like carrying it. I ended up buying two drinks just for me throughout the day!)

– Buy drinks from the vending machines. Most drinks at concession stands are $3 but cold drinks are also sold in vending machines around the grounds for $2.

– General admission tickets can be purchased online for $6 each or a four pack for $5 for each ticket through August 5th.

-Buy your tickets in person at Kroger or AAA for $6 each.

-As part of the Fourth Grade Agriculture is Cool Program, If you have an exiting 4th grader, that child and an adult can get in free any one day with a valid report card or valid homeschool form at the entrance.

– Print off this amazing sheet of coupons to use for food and other vendors!

Ohio State Fair Food Highway

Take advantage of one of these special days happening next week! See the entire list here.

Monday July 30th – NBC4 Family Discount Day – until 6 PM adults will be admitted for the kids’ admission price of $8 and kids 12 and under will be admitted free. Also, with the purchase of one wristband, a second rider can ride free until 6:00 PM with a hand stamp.

Tuesday, July 31 – Seniors ages 60 and up get in for $4

Thursday, August 2 – AAA members can show a current membership card to receive $4 admission vouchers for each member in your party.

Friday, August 3 – Patrons 18 and over can bring a non-winning Ohio Lottery ticket to receive one $4 admission voucher.

Saturday, August 4 – One Ohio soybean farmer or Ohio Soybean Association member will be given free Fair admission, with each member in their party receiving $4 admission with voucher from Ohio Soybean News magazine.

Sunday, August 5 – Bring any empty Pepsi container to the gate for a $3 admission voucher for every member of your party before 3:00 PM.

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Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio


Kids Eat Free in Columbus and Central Ohio

ICYMI: Kids Eat Free or Cheap in Columbus and Central Ohio

 


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What Should We Do This Weekend? October 7-9, 2016

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Various Fall Festivals are going on during the weekends throughout the whole month of October!. Check out my post from last weekend to see what farms are hosting them!

1. Skidsteer Rodeo at Franklin Equipment

When: Friday, October 7, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Location: 4141 Hamilton Square Blvd., Groveport, OH 43125
Phone: 844-401-RENT

Come watch a competition between construction vehicles (and their drivers)!  The initial rounds go on all day and the finals begin at 6:30 PM. There is live music, free food and a mechanical bull from 3:00 – 7:00 PM.

2. Fall Festival at The Farm at Walnut Creek

When: Friday, Saturday and Monday, October 7, 8 & 10
Time: Opens at 8:30 AM, last ride at 6:00 PM
Location: 4147 County Road 114, Sugarcreek, OH 44681
Phone: 330-893-4200

Even though it’s a bit of a drive, I’m sharing this one because I’ve told you about The Farm at Walnut Creek before, so if you’ve thought of visiting, this event might be fun! This weekend (and next!) in addition to the horse drawn wagon rides, there will be special activities like a corn box, sheep shearing, basket weaving, horseshoeing, a pumpkin slingshot and more!

3. Fall Foliage on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

When: Friday – Sunday, October 7-9, 2016
Time: 1:00 on Fridays, 12:00 and 2:30 on Saturdays and Sundays
Location: 33 West Canal St., Nelsonville, OH 45764
Phone: 740-249-1452

For the month of  October, the Railway adds Friday trips to their weekend scenic tours! The round trip ride is about 2 hours.

4. Columbus Italian Festival

When: Friday – Sunday, October 7-9, 2016
Time: Friday: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Saturday: 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: 720 Hamlet St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-294-8259

This celebration of Italian heritage features live performances, food, kiddie rides, a parade and even a bocce ball tournament!

5. Pumpkinpalooza at Emswiler Farms

When: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 13329 Morse Rd., SW, Pataskala, OH 43062
Phone: 614-355-5432

This festival is presented by TWIG of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and benefits Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Nationwide Children’s. The festival includes hayrides, live entertainment, bounce houses, face painting, a pumpkin patch, the Shazzbots, crafts, food and more!  Tickets are are $13 for adults and $10 for kids, but you can buy them online (see link) in advance through THURSDAY, October 6th for $10 and $7. Children under 2 are free.

6. Touch a Tractor at Buehler’s Fresh Foods

When: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: various locations

Another road trip idea for this weekend is at Buehler’s Fresh Foods. The closest store is in Ashland, OH. Touch a tractor, enjoy free samples from Hartzler’s Family Dairy and Gerber’s Amish Farm Chicken, participate in activities for the kids and buy Ruggles ice cream for $1 a scoop!

7. Too Much Stuff Sale at Big Fun Columbus

When: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Location: 672 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-8697

Big Fun says, “we have too much stuff, help us make room” and everything is 25% off if you say the secret word: “Fun”! I wrote about taking your kids to Big Fun for Columbus Moms Blog here!

8. Royals Project Fall Festival at Amazing Grace Christian Church

When: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 2255 Quail Creek Blvd, Grove City, OH 43123

Princesses, Princes, Superheroes and more will be in attendance at this fall festival which also features crafts, games, face painting, and more! There will also be a fire truck and fire fighters on site from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM! Donations of unused toys will also be accepted for the Royals Project!

9. Fall Festival at Oakland Nurseries

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 8 & 9, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: various locations locally

Each location of Oakland Nurseries is having it’s own set of events, check the link for information specific to each store! The Columbus location will feature hay rides, pumpkin painting, pig racing, a kid-friendly haunted forest, concessions and live music!

10. Farm Festival at Miller’s Country Gardens

When: Sunday, October 9, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 2488 St. Rt. 37 West, Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-363-5021

This fall festival features hayrides, pumpkin picking, a corn maze, barrel rides, a kids’ play area, face painting, straw tunnel and food by Sock Hop Soda Shop! Admission is free but some activities have a charge.

11. Fall Fest at Fancyburg Park

When: Sunday, October 9, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 3375 Kioka Avenue, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

This fall festival includes hay rides, a corn box , pumpkin carving, making apple cider, a petting zoo and more! Admission is free but some activities require $1 tokens.

12. Family Fun with the Columbus Zoo at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Sunday, October 9, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Different animals are featured in this family program at the Conservatory on the 2nd Sunday of each month!

13. Peppa Pig Live at Palace Theatre

When: Sunday, October 9, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: 34 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

See Peppa Live! What else is there to say? 😉

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

*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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What Should We Do This Weekend? Sept 30-Oct 2, 2016

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If last weekend was the weekend of the fall festival, then this weekend officially begins pumpkin season! I got so excited just typing up this list! I love these fall activities and wish we could visit every pumpkin farm! So many hay rides, so little time! 😉 Happy Weekend!

1. Westgate Farmer’s Market

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: West Gate Masonic Lodge, 2925 West Broad Street, Columbus OH 43024

This Saturday’s market will feature one-day-only, fun flavors from Impossible Jams and Alice’s Aebelskabel’s and Pitabilities are the food trucks that will be featured! Also, Scott Brooks and his Trio of One will provide live music!

2. Ghost Story Writing Workshop at Whetstone Library

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 3909 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-645-2275

This event is specifically for kids in grades 4-6! The Thurber House will be hosting this writing workshop encouraging young writers to write spooky tales! They will also be telling the Thurber ghost story and helping young writers hone their craft! You must register by THURSDAY (9/29/16)!

3. Archaeology Day at Ohio History Center

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH 43211
Phone: 800-686-6124

This day is host to several educational sessions and events about archaeology, history, and art as well as hands on activities like creating a mural, making replicas of American Indian pottery, hands-on archaeology Fascination Stations, spear throwing demonstrations and more! See what else there is to do at the Ohio History Center here!

4. Hands on Heritage at Rocky River Nature Center

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 24000 Valley Pkwy., North Olmsted, OH 44070
Phone: 440-734-6660

If you’re looking for a road trip this weekend, the Cleveland Metroparks is hosting this free festival celebrating traditional handicrafts! Free activities include rug braiding, butter churning, cider pressing, pioneer toys, candle making and more! There will be a live folk music performance and other activities are scheduled throughout the day, see the website for more details!

5. Haunted Greenhouse Maze at deMonye’s Greenhouse, Inc.

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 2500 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: 614-252-6046

This is a kid-friendly haunted maze recommended for ages 3-14 and is actually open the whole month of October! Kids get to pick a pumpkin, plant a pansy and make a witch’s hand with popcorn! Cost is $8 per child. See more details here or click on the link under the event on this page to see pictures of what to expect!

6. Fall Festival at Freeman’s Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 6142 Lewis Center Rd., Galena, OH 43021
Phone: 740-548-7866

This weekend, and all the weekends in October, there will be hayrides, kettle corn, campfire foods, scarecrow making, a petting zoo and apple butter making! Admission is free, but there is a charge for some activities.

7. Fall Festival at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
Location: 2920 St. Rt. 203, Radnor, Ohio 43066
Phone: 740-595.3207

There is a really long list of activities going on throughout all of the weekends in October at this pumpkin farm in Delaware County! There will also be food, free hayrides from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM and pumpkin picking! Admission is free but some activities have a cost. An all day activity band is $9.

8. Fall Festival at Young’s Jersey Dairy

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Phone: 937-325-0629

This year is the 40th Annual Fall Festival! Enjoy activities like making pumpkin holes and caramel apples, cow milking demonstrations, Cowvin’s Corny Maze and more!

9. Pumpkin Festival at the MAiZE at Little Darby Creek

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 12:00 PM – Movie begins at 8:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 8657 Axehandle Rd., Milford Center, OH 43045

Besides the corn maze, this weekend there will be pony rides, balloon sculptures, face painting and the movie It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be shown on Saturday night!

10. Giant Pumpkin Carving at Leeds Farm

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 8738 Marysville Rd., Ostrander, OH 43061
Phone: 740-666-2020

Leeds Farm offers fall fun every weekend throughout October, but this Sunday only there is a giant pumpkin carving! Visit the farm all weekend to see animals, pick pumpkins, zip line, take a hayride, go down mountain slides, ride pedal tractors and so much more!

11. Canta Brasil at the Harrison West Jazz Stage

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: 575 W 1st Ave, Columbus, OH 43201

This is the final jazz concert of the season featuring a Brazilian jazz band! The Aromaku food truck will be onsite as well as J-Pops popsicles! This concert takes place in Harrison West Park where the playground is great for toddlers!

12. Old Time Harvest Day at Century Village

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Fryer Park, 4185 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Phone: 614-277-3050

Take part in mid-19th-century traditions like churning butter, leather tooling, rope weaving and blacksmithing! Visit the one-room schoolhouse, log cabin, general store and more on the property! There will also be actors in costume, demonstrating traditional music and cooking! This is a free event (also at another great park for toddlers)!

*Looking for more fall fun? You may want to check out these posts from Columbus Moms Blog: Family-Friendly Fall Festivals in Columbus, Columbus U-Pick Apple Orchards and Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches!

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*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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