5 Moms of Nationwide Share their Favorite Places to take their Kids in Columbus

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Last week I was honored to be a guest on the Moms of Nationwide Blogger Panel! Eryn from 614 Mom and I shared some of our favorite things to do with our kids in Columbus including hidden gems, our favorite Columbus events and low-cost or free places to play! Of course I shared my list of 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus, but I also talked about some of our other favorite places like the OSU Airport and Barnstormer Diner, Riding the CBUS and the Scioto Audubon! It was a fun time connecting with other moms and getting a tour around the Nationwide Plaza! Plus I got to try out A Blessed Cookie Company on the first floor – cookies so good I might have to return as an outing with my kids one day! 😉

I’ve always wanted to walk across the Nationwide walkway!

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How am I going to carry this heavy box of folders? Oh wait! There’s a stroller in my trunk! 🙂

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Eryn and her goodie bags!

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Yep. A Blessed Cookie Company would do the trick!

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Getting ready!

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Thanks to Tashira for organizing and hosting us!

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One of the best things about starting this blog has been meeting so many new people and learning about so many things going on in Columbus! (Wait, I guess that’s two things! 😉 ) I turned the tables on the Moms of Nationwide and asked them to tell me 3 places THEY love to take their kids in Columbus! I’ve randomly chosen 5 of them to feature in this blog post so we can all learn something new!

Jamie F., Grove City:
  1. The New Grove City Libray
  2. Free Activities at the Metro Parks
  3. WeJoySing Music Classes
Amanda G., Pataskala:
  1. Barnes & Noble
  2. PBJ & Jazz
  3. Gateway Theater Movie Series
Natalie S., Clintonville:
  1. Jeni’s Ice Cream (the location in Clintonville has a chalkboard to draw on!)
  2. Whetstone Park of Roses
  3. Worthington Rec Center
Dana D., Gahanna:
  1. Westerville Rec Center
  2. Columbus Zoo
  3. Sky Zone
Alexis M., Westerville
  1. Clippers Games
  2. Timbuk Farms (Christmas Trees!)
  3. Lynd Fruit Farm (especially honeycrisp weekend!)

Thanks to the Moms of Nationwide for hosting us and thank you to these wonderful moms for sharing their ideas with us! I hope you learned something new!

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ICYMI: 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions


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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


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What Should We Do This Weekend? September 16-18, 2016

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1. Ohio Open Doors

When: September 9 – 18, 2016
Time: Times Vary
Location: All Over Ohio

The Ohio History Connection is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act with a 10 day period of unique tours, talks and special events at over 130 buildings across the state! One such event taking place this weekend is Family Day at Orange Johnson House! Visit the website to search the special events by area of the state. Take a look at all the Ohio History Center has to offer!

2. Goodnight Moon at Park Street Theatre

When: September 15 – October 2, 2016
Time: Various times throughout the week and weekends (see link for more details!)
Location: 512 Park St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-224-6672

See this beloved night-time story come to life on stage with singing and dancing! The performance is 1 hour long and is recommended for ages 3 and up!

3. Ready for Kindergarten Family Storytime at Main Library

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-645-2275

This storytime, including songs and activities, is for the whole family! See what’s new at Main Library here!

4. Sing a Story at Miller Park Library

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Location: 1901 Arlington Ave., Upper Arlington , OH 43212
Phone: 614-488-5710

This story time features songs and stories for kids to enjoy!

5. Open House at OSU Airport

When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 2160 West Case Road, Columbus, OH 43235
Phone: 1-800-777-5488

The OSU Airport is holding an Open House and 5K! There will be a pancake breakfast, aircraft and touch-a-truck displays, door prizes, hot air balloon rides, food trucks and more! Admission is free, but some activities have a cost. If you’ve never been, read more about our visit to the OSU Airport here!

6. Jack Hanna’s Fall Fest at the Columbus Zoo

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM both days
Location: 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

Jack Hanna will be in person to share stories of his travels at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM each day! There will be activities and entertainment! It is advised that you arrive at the Animals on Safari Stage early to hear Jack Hanna!

7. Arts in the Alley in Grove City

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Grove City
Phone: 614-875-9762

This weekend’s art show includes over 100 juried artists and crafters! Categories include youth art, quilting, crafts, photography and fine art. There will be food, live entertainment and a kids’ fun street! The parade begins at 9:30 AM! See more to do in Downtown Grove City here!

8. Batman Day at Packrat Comics

When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: Hilliard and Marysville Locations
Phone: 614-527-8450 (Hilliard) 937-642-1320 (Marysville)

Free Batman comics and masks while supplies last! If you come in costume you can save 10% off your purchase!

9. Kids’ Independents’ Day

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM both days
Location: Corner of Town and Lucas Streets

This weekend is the Independents’ Day Festival in Franklinton! This is the second year of the “festival within a festival” for children. This year’s theme is Moon Ranch and the area will feature a farm house, barn, moon creatures and other moon-themed activities! Special guests include The Shazzbots, Turtle Lady, Thurber House and more! (See the full schedule in the link.) There will also be a private nursing and diaper-changing station available! Yay! Also, this festival is free!

10. Harvest and Heritage Celebration at Smeck Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM both days
Location: Smeck Historical Farm, 7395 Basil Road, Baltimore, OH 43105
Phone: 740-681-7249

If you’re up for a drive this weekend, check out this celebration hosted by Fairfield County Historical Parks! Features include antique farm equipment, live music, food and craft vendors and family activities!

11. Out of this World Ice Skating Party at Chiller Ice Rinks

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: The Chiller Dublin, Easton and North

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will partner with the OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks for an Out of This World Ice Skating party to celebrate the circus, Out of This World. If your child is one of the first 75 to arrive at any location, they will receive a free ticket to the circus, which takes place October 14-16, 2016.

12. Family Reading Festival at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Worthington Libraries is hosting this festival to celebrate reading! Some of your kids’ favorites storybook characters will be there to help, like Clifford, Curious George and Pinkalicious! There will also be games, crafts, information from local agencies and, of course, storytimes!

13. Salsa Cinderella at Abbey Theater of Dublin

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: 5600 Post Rd., Dublin, OH 43017
Phone: 614-410-4554

The Abbey Theater is putting on the story of Cinderella, but the characters are the ingredients in salsa! This show is recommended for ages 4 and up! See website regarding special 10th anniversary pricing!

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ICYMI: 5 Columbus Parents Share . . . How They Exercise WITH Their Kids

*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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