The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes

I can’t remember anything like play cafes existing when I was a kid! And mostly I know, deep down inside, these places were invented for the adults more than the kids. 😉 Play cafes offer everything that’s good about an at-home play date minus everything that could go wrong. Nothing can get broken, there’s room to run, you don’t have to prepare a meal and you get to have a half-way decent conversation with your mom-friend while the kids are entertained! Here’s a list of Columbus’ Play Cafes and Indoor Play Areas. After reading this list, don’t forget to check out my list of 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus (it’s technically 21 because I keep it updated! 🙂 ).

Disclaimer: several of the play cafes listed here hosted my family to aid in the completion of this list. *Please make sure to check individual website links as hours of operation, special features and pricing may change with the seasons!*

1. Firefly Play Cafe

Location: 4822 N. High St., Columbus OH, 43214
Phone: 614-230-2375
Features: Indoor play area, coffee and snacks, birthday parties and special guests like Mr. Eric’s Music

Price: Kids age 12-24 months: $5, Kids 24 months and up: $8, Adults and children under 12 months: free

How to Save: Monthly and Quarterly Memberships are available

2. piccadilly

Location: 2501 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209
Phone: 614-725-0204
Features: Play area plus programs like toddler art classes, little sprouts yoga, culinary institute of piccadilly, and more. Also hosts parent’s play date where you can drop your kids off and have a night out. Cafe on site.

Price: Day Pass: $8 for first child, $5 for each additional sibling. Piccadilly Express Pass (35 min play): $4, Children up to 12 months are FREE, Kids ages 11 years and up are FREE.

How to Save: Happy Hours Special: $5 per child from 2:00-5:00 PM, purchase a membership for unlimited play and discounts on programming.

3. peapod play cafe

Location: 4874 Thompson Rd., Columbus, OH 43230
Phone: 614-855-2517
Features: Indoor play area for kids 7 and under, coffee bar, art classes and special events, birthday parties

Price: Walkers through age 7: $10.00 per child, $6.00 for each additional child, Three or more children: $4.00 each additional child, Adults and sibling age 8 and up: Free

How to Save: Happy Hour happens the last hour of each day and cost is just $5 per kid! You can also purchase a 10 visit punch card for $70.

More Details: See 3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Julie Borm

4. Tree of Life Play + Cafe

Location: 3708 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard OH 43026
Phone: 614-363-4041
Features: Indoor play area, cafe with full menu, birthday parties, coffee, special events

Price: $6.99 per child

How to Save: On Mondays and Tuesdays $9.99 admission includes a kids meal. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, $10 admission includes an hour of jump time at Get Air (next door) from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM.

More Details: See 3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Helen Bosacki 

5. Fun in the Jungle

Location: 345 McGill St., Sunbury, OH 43074
Phone: 740-913-0692
Features: large indoor play area, toddler soft play zone, mini bowling, virtual reality games, cafe with food and drinks, arcade games, parties, special needs sensory hours on the first Sunday of each month.

Price: Play place: $7/child for all day, Kids 2 and under are $2 during the week and $4 on the weekend, Additional costs for bowling, arcade  and virtual reality.

How to Save: Toddler Hours for ages 4 and under happen on Saturday from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM and are $2/child, Weekday special is $5 for play place and $5 for arcade Tuesday-Thursday.

6. Recreations Outlet

Location: 484 W. Olentangy/Powell Rd., Powell, Ohio 43065
Phone: 614-792-3700
Features: Large indoor play area features play equipment like slides, swings, climbing, etc., small soccer field, basketball hoops, play houses, trampolines and more.

Price: Monday-Friday: $6/child ages 1 and up for 2 hours of play, Weekends: $8/child ages 1 and up for 2 hours of play, School Holidays: $8/child ages 1 and up for 2 hours of play

How to Save: Charitable play happens on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM for a donation of $2/child. Donations are given to local non-profit organizations.

More Details: See $2 Tuesdays: Recreations Outlet, Columbus Zoo and Tacos!

7. KidsGym Playland at Magic Mountain

Location: Polaris: 8350 Lyra Drive, Columbus, OH 43240, East: 5890 Scarborough Blvd., Columbus, OH 43232
Phone: Polaris: 614-840-9600 East: 614-892-3335
Features: Playland for kids 58 inches and under, includes a climbing gym with interactive elements

Price: Ages 3 and up: $5 on weekdays and $6.50 on weekends Kids under age 3: $3

How to Save: Labor Day through Memorial Day you can purchase a season pass for $35/person ($15 for additional siblings). Pass offers admission 7 days a week plus special discounts on additional add ons such as $1 off a kids combo meal.

8. Blue Monkey Parties and Events

Location: 591 Hill Rd. N., Pickerington, OH 43147
Phone: 614-828-8236
Features: Mostly available for parties, the center offers 5 inflatable areas, green screen and carnival games for birthday parties and events, however open play hours are available throughout the week. Visit their calendar for details.

Price: $10/child during open play hours

How to Save: Toddler hours for ages 1-4 are Thursdays from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM and are $7 for the first child, $5 for each additional child.

More Details: See: 3 Things to Do With Your Kids in Pickerington

9. little kidspace at COSI

Location: 333 West Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674
Features: Within COSI, kids 1st grade and under can play in the little kidspace on the second floor. This huge space includes water play, an art studio, imaginative play area including farm stand, house, barn and truck. Other play area features a medical theme with a doctor’s office, ambulance, helicopter and more!

Price: $25 for those age 13 and up, $20 for kids age 2-12, kids under 2 are free. Price includes admission to the entire museum.

How to Save: A membership is a must here to save money. While there are several membership levels, the Basic Family membership is $149/year. If you live in or relatively near Columbus, you could conceivably come here once a week, making your cost per visit less than $3 for the whole family!

10. The FunGym at Galaxy Golf and Games

Location: 3700 Interchange Rd., Columbus, OH 43204
Phone: 614-351-8400
Features: The whole facility includes mini-golf, an arcade, party rooms and a FunGym. The FunGym includes ball pits, climbing, slides, tunnels and more. There is also a toddler area with a play house, ball pit and ride-on toys.

Price: Ages 1-2: $2.99, Ages 3-10: $4.99

How to Save: Combos are available to include golf (seasonal) and the arcade. A Pizza Fun Deal features a large cheese pizza, pitcher, 15 tokens and a choice of two admissions to FunGym or Golf.

*Please make sure to check individual website links as hours of operation, special features and pricing may change with the seasons!


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ICYMI: 3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Malini Swank

NEW! Children’s Play Area at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

On May 25, 2017, The Mall at Tuttle Crossing launched a soft opening of the new Children’s Play Area, beginning with an 8 AM sneak peek for local bloggers and their kids! Your kids can play here now, too, but the official Grand Opening is this Friday, June 2, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM! To celebrate, there will be a ribbon cutting, face painting, a balloon artist and an opening statement from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

The play area uses the theme STEAM. No, not STEM, STEAM! I’m happy to report they’ve added an “A” for Art, a movement created by the Rhode Island School of Design! Good for them!

There are 5 main activity areas, each representing a letter of the acronym STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

1. Science Scramble:

On one side of the square cards, you can put a science-themed puzzle together. With the other side, you can play tic-tac-toe with periodic elements!

2. Techno Tunes:

Make music with the power of technology! By stepping on the squares in front of the rainbow steps (which lead to a slide!) you can play a tune with the sounds of different instruments! One thing I appreciated here was that music was always playing, but it was NOT loud! 🙂

3. Wonder Wall:

At the Wonder Wall (who’s singing Oasis?) you can use levers, pulleys, wheels and other simple machines to move a ball up through the maze and back down again. This one was a hit with my kids!

4. My Art Gallery:

Tap, slide and pinch with your fingers to choose the scene of your art work, add items to it, enlarge them and then change the style. There are three “easels” to work on around the wall. When you’re done you can email the artwork to Grandma (or whomever you choose)! When you tap “Finish,” the screen says LOOK UP! and your artwork is then displayed on the screen above you! The look on my 2 year old’s face when this happened was priceless!

5. Tile Table:

The Tile Table was, by far, my 5 year old’s favorite station. This was popular with lots of the kids! I apologize to all the kids out there who wanted a literal piece of the action as he stood guarding his castle, making sure it didn’t get knocked down.

In addition to the 5 activity areas, there is an additional toddler zone, STEAM Jr., which is separated from the other areas by a soft, immovable barrier.

My kids, age 2 and 5, were engaged for 3.5 hours at this play area! Honestly, that’s the longest they’ve ever spent at a mall play area before begging me to move on! I had to pry them away because I was hungry!!

Let’s address the number one comment/question I received on social media! There are no more walls! Will this be an issue? For the majority of preschool-aged children? I don’t think so. For your 9 month old crawlers? I don’t think so. For your 18 month old runners? Yes it will be.

After the sneak peek, the mall opened and the play area got busy! There were one or two runners during that time, but most of the kids were engaged in the activities that were presented. There is definitely a shift in focus from large muscle play to fine muscle activities. This isn’t a play area for running around, climbing and sliding, though there is room for a little bit of that.

The truth is that the soft toddler barriers are not large enough to keep bigger kids out and the lack of a barrier around the general play area also allows teenagers in, which I did witness the day I was there.

These are some logistical things that we as parents will encounter, HOWEVER, in my mind, the benefits and engagement level of the activities here outweighs the negatives. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my kids back here to play. The play area was designed by designers who create a lot of children’s museums, and I think if you shift your focus from what the play area at Tuttle used to be (gross/large muscle), to thinking of this as a small section of a STEAM children’s museum, you’ll be on target with what the play area is designed to be!

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ICYMI: Exploring Ohio with Kids: Bellevue

Exploring Ohio with Kids: Bellevue

This post has kind of been a long time coming! We did this late last summer and it seemed too late to post it, so I’m sharing it with you now as an idea for a fun road trip this summer! Bellevue, Ohio is a small Lake Erie town about 2 hours from downtown Columbus. We spent a week at Sandusky Bay and this is how we spent one of our days. It could be done in a one day road trip or you could spend the night somewhere near Sandusky and also visit the African Wildlife Safari Park!

Here are 3 activities that will fill your day in Bellevue, Ohio!

1. Jungle Junction

110 Cherry Blvd. Bellevue, OH 44811
Phone: 419-484-5532

Jungle Junction claims to be the largest indoor play structure in Ohio. I cannot verify this, but I will take their word for it! 🙂 This play area is designed for kids ages 12 and under and you must wear socks. I forgot socks and I was able to purchase a pair at the counter.

Around the periphery of the main play area is a toddler play area with animals to climb and slide on.

My kids had spent a lot of time in the toddler area until they gained the courage to enter the Tree Top Play area!

Inside the Tree Top Play area there are lots of climbing structures, slides, tunnels, etc. There are also air cannons that shoot plastic balls all around the area. (If your kids are sensitive to this kind of thing, they do have a Sensory Day on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM where the air cannons cannot be used.) My oldest is sensitive to noise and it took him a while to get used to the noise and have the courage to go inside!

Admission is for the day, so you can come and go with a stamp on your hand. There is no charge for parents/caregivers and the price for children (as of May, 2017) is as follows:

  • Children 1 and under: $2
  • Ages 2-12: $6
  • Twilight Special – $4 (After 5:00 PM, Monday-Thursday)

2. Bone Boy’s BBQ

109 W. Main St., Bellevue, OH 44811
Phone: 419-483-7447

We’ve only eaten at one restaurant in Bellevue, but I can highly recommend this one if you like BBQ and it is kid friendly! I loved to see the meat being grilled right out back of the restaurant!

A big bonus here is that kids under 5 eat free!

Yum!

3. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum

253 Southwest St., Bellevue, Ohio 44811
Phone: 419-483-2222

Wow. I took a lot of pictures here! There is SO MUCH to see! If you have kids that love trains, they will be in heaven at this museum! The museum is open every day from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Memorial Day through Labor Day, and on weekends during May, September and October.

You buy your tickets in the gift shop – and then try to tear the kids away from the play area so you can see the actual museum! 😉

This museum is very hands on! It has an indoor and an outdoor area. You can walk through train cars, climb into the cabs and see historical artifacts.

The outdoor portion of the museum is across the street and there are many trains to climb into. Many of the trains have displays for viewing inside.

Admission (as of May, 2017) is as follows:

  • $10.00 Adults
  • $9.00 Senior (60+)
  • $5.00 Children (5-12)
  • Under 5 FREE

We played at Jungle Junction in the morning, had lunch and then headed over to the Railroad Museum for the afternoon. With kids under 5 (at the time), we didn’t even have to spend that much money! It was a full day, and as you can imagine, the boys looked like this on the way back to where we were staying:

We love to spend time around Lake Erie! Do you have a favorite place to visit there?

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ICYMI: Columbus Zoo: Little Explorers Base Camp