3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Kathleen Murray

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus!

Thanks to Kathleen for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Homestead Park

We LOVE being outside and because my son is very active, this park is perfect for him!  There are so many different areas so he never gets bored.  He especially loves the fun tunnels that connect the different areas!  Plus, it has plenty of shade and picnic tables, and access to the Rails to Trails bike path that we enjoy running on.


2. Hilliard’s Station Park Splash Pad

The Hilliard splash pad is a great spot to cool off on a hot summer day!  It’s right off Main Street in Old Hilliard (and bonus, right across the street from Coffee Connections!) but it’s sunken down a bit which gives it a much more private feel.  The whole space isn’t huge or overwhelming and there’s plenty of spots to sit and watch your little one play!  We always pack a picnic because it tends to be less crowded during lunch! 


3. Frank’s Park/Little Ice Cream Shoppe

Another outdoor option (can you tell we like to be outside??)!  Frank’s Park is a little playground tucked in-between neighborhoods in Hilliard!  It’s not a huge park, but has a nice pond and picnic tables, plus lots of space to play soccer!  There’s also a great path that circles the whole park.  Another huge perk is that you can walk over to the Little Ice Cream Shoppe to grab a sweet treat!


Kathleen Murray is a health and fitness blogger at Just Keep it Simple Fitness.  She is an ACE certified personal trainer and enjoys teaching others that leading a healthy life does not need to be fancy, complicated, expensive, or time consuming.  Her background in soccer and her young son motivate her to stay active every day!  Apart from blogging, she works part time as a chemical engineer and enjoys going on runs with her family.  You can follow her simple fitness tips on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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ICYMI:  7 Ways to Give Back in Columbus By Doing Things You Already Do

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New and Improved Ten Pin Alley Provides Family Friendly Fun in Hilliard

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Ten Pin Alley has been newly renovated to provide a super fun, family-friendly night out in Hilliard!

My husband and I attended the Grand Opening VIP Party at the newly expanded and remodeled Ten Pin Alley in Hilliard earlier this month, and later in the month, Ten Pin Alley hosted my family, and a few other local bloggers’ families, for a night of family fun!

Hilliard Ohio

I think we can all agree that the indoor smoking ban has much improved the bowling alley experience for everyone involved! Bowling alleys are seeing a resurgence that offers activities for the whole family to enjoy together!

Picture of family at bowling alley

I had never been to Ten Pin Alley before its renovation, but I have been told by others that it is much improved! Some of the changes include 8 additional bowling lanes, a 2-story laser tag arena, a new patio and bar, 2 bocce courts and an arcade!

bowling alley in Hilliard Ohio

Having had two very different Ten Pin Alley experiences – one as a date night, and one with kids in tow – I am actually torn between which experience I enjoyed more! Which, I guess, is a good sign that you can’t go wrong doing either!

couple at Ten Pin Alley

Here are all the fun things you can do at Ten Pin Alley:

1. Bowl

Let’s start with the obvious. There is a larger bowling alley with 16 lanes, and a smaller, private area with 8 lanes called The Brooklyn Side, which features its own bar and restrooms. Kids can bowl with ramps and bumpers!

Kids bowling at Ten Pin Alley

Bowling with a 6 and 3 year old pretty much requires putting any competitiveness on the back burner. It’s more of an exercise in letting go – literally and figuratively. My kids, however, had a blast!

Ten Pin Alley, Hilliard, Ohio

kid bowling at Ten Pin Alley

2. Eat

Whether you decide to eat pizza while bowling or eat a meal in the full restaurant, there are tons of options for dining!

food at Ten Pin Alley

There is a kid’s menu which includes a choice of a main dish (cheeseburger, pizza, chicken tenders or grilled cheese) plus a side (fries or celery and peanut butter) plus a drink for $6. (Add on Vanilla ice cream for $1!)

The huge main menu includes loads of appetizers, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and dessert! The drink menu is extensive, too, and includes local beers.

pizza at Ten Pin Alley

Happy Hour, which is Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM includes $2 off appetizers, $2 off all bar selections, 1/2 off one topping 10 inch pizzas and for the kids, $5 for one round of laser tag and double game play!

kid eating pizza at Ten Pin Alley

3. Laser Tag

laser tag arena at Ten Pin Alley

The new laser tag arena, called Steampunk H2O, simulates an underwater world with giant sea creatures and glow in the dark sea creatures!

Laser tag arena at Ten Pin Alley

There are no age regulations to play, but each child must be able to wear the vest. My 3 year old got scared and didn’t finish the game, but my 6 year old, who started out scared, ended up loving it!

Monday through Thursday and Friday before 5:00 PM, you can play one game of laser tag for $5, 2 games for $8 and 3 Games for $11.

4. Arcade

arcade at Ten Pin Alley

My kids were HUGE fans of the arcade! The arcade uses a card system and the cards can be taken home and brought back to continue to rack up tickets to win whatever prize your child covets! (Or they can be like mine and turn them in immediately for 14 pieces of individually wrapped candy and plastic fangs.) 😉

arcade at Ten Pin Alley

kid at arcade at Ten Pin Alley

I will say my husband and I had a pretty good time doing the arcade just the two of us. I highly recommend challenging your spouse to a high stakes game of Pac Man whenever you get the chance.

man at arcade at Ten Pin Alley

5. Birthday Parties

Bowling Alley in Hilliard, Ohio

The space is available for parties and social events, including kids birthday parties! You can see all the packages available for birthday parties here.

6. Daily Specials

Bowling Sign at Ten Pin Alley

Aside from Happy Hour, each day has its own theme in terms of discounts and deals! You can see all of the daily specials here, but a few of the family friendly highlights include Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays: A free kids meal and $5 game card with an adult entree purchase and the Sunday Family Fun Pack: 1 hour of bowling, 4 pairs of shoes, 1 large 1 topping pizza and 4 sodas for $49.99.

7. Give Back

Bowling Alley in Hilliard, Ohio

Ten Pin Alley has instituted Heart & Bowl, a way to give back to local non-profit organizations! For all of 2018, 2% of all sales will be given to Hilliard Food Pantry, Action for Children and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio! You can see all of the information about Heart & Bowl here.

My kids are already asking to go back to Ten Pin Alley! I’m anticipating hitting up a Kids Eat Free night sometime in the very near future! See you there!

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indoor play area in Columbus, Ohio

ICYMI: 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus

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Ten Pin Alley in Hilliard Ohio

 

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6 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds

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All of these playgrounds are part of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks System! I have a personal goal of visiting all of the Metro Parks. We’re not there yet, but we’ll get there! You can visit this list of all the parks to see all of the details of what each park has to offer, what hours they are open and more. This link is one I check often to see what programs are coming up for kids – there are so many!

The Metro Parks offer so many free opportunities to learn about and explore nature even though we live in an urban area. I am constantly surprised every time I visit one of our Metro Parks. I always seem to say, “I can’t believe this is here!” You hike down a path and come into some kind of clearing or lake that just takes you by surprise and there is no sign of the city to be seen!

Despite all those opportunities to get up close with nature, sometimes it also just helps to have a playground as part of the experience! 🙂 Not all of the Metro Parks have playgrounds and some of them have more than one! Here are 6 Metro Parks that have playgrounds. Put these on your playground bucket list! (You have one of those right? or is that just me? 😉 )

1. Scioto Grove

5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123

Scioto Grove is the newest Metro Park in our area. This playground is really unique – it’s made nearly entirely out of rope!  This is NOT a toddler friendly playground, though, so use caution! This playground is in the Arrowhead Picnic Area. Parking and restrooms are close by.

2. Scioto Audubon

400 W. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215

The Scioto Audubon playground is in the Central Activities Area near the rock climbing wall and a water tower where you can climb to two observation decks. There are three play structures here and a shaded picnic area. Bathrooms are quite a distance away, in the Nature Center. Play first and then plan to head up to the Nature Center where there is an outdoor sandbox, an indoor play area and aquatic animals to visit. See 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon!

3. Battelle Darby Creek

Cedar Ridge Area, 1775 Darby Creek Drive Galloway, OH 43119

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park has a couple of playground areas. This particular playground is in the Cedar Ridge Picnic Area. Parking and restrooms are very close. This playground has two structures: one for over 5 and one for under. There are picnic tables and pavilions close by. Battelle Darby is the park with the bison! It is possible to walk from the playground to see the bison, but it is probably around a half a mile, give or take. Definitely check out the Nature Center to see the living stream exhibit!

4. Rocky Fork

7180 E. Walnut Street, Westerville, OH 43081

Rocky Fork has another unique play area. It is a mostly wooden structure with steps, a bridge and slide. There is also a balance beam and some climbing opportunities! Nearby is a wildlife viewing area and picnic pavilion. Restrooms are close by as well.

5. Blendon Woods

4265 E. Dublin Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

Blendon Woods is another Metro Park with more than one play area. This particular play ground is in the Cherry Ridge Area near the Natural Play Area. My kids loved crawling through the wire tunnels here. Blendon Woods Nature Center has a great bird-viewing area and some hands on activities. See Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

6. Homestead

Homestead Metro Park, 4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, OH

When it comes to playgrounds, I think Homestead wins the prize, hands down! It has a huge playground area! Not only is there a large play area, there is a train to climb onto, a train station replica called Bradley Station and a separate accessible playground with a train theme called Web Junktion. Train lovers rejoice! There is a Nature Center at Homestead but the hours it is open vary based on ranger availability. Inside the Nature Center there are box turtles to visit! They do occasionally offer programs there, so check the link for upcoming programs!

Do you have a favorite Metro Park playground?

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ICYMI: 5 on Friday: Unique Ice Cream Spots


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