9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus

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Fall is such a fun time in Central Ohio! Here are 9 things you can only do during the Fall in Columbus and Central Ohio!

What Are Some of the Best Things to do with Kids During the Fall in Columbus?

Here are 9 things we enjoy doing as a family during the fall!

1. Attend a Skull Session at St. John Arena

My kids love instruments and any kind of band, so we were excited, though a little nervous, about taking them to a Skull Session at OSU! It’s a great way to get caught up in the football spirit, even if you don’t have tickets to the game!

A Skull Session is basically a pep rally where the marching band plays, the players come out and the coach gives a little speech . . . it’s very high energy and really a lot of fun!

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I’d recommend either parking on West Campus (parking is $20!) and taking a shuttle or parking in a neighborhood along the Olentangy bike path and walking up the path to St. John Arena.

The Skull session happens 2 hours and 20 minutes before each game and lasts an hour. When it’s over, you can mull around amongst the tailgaters, pick up some free samples (1/4 of a Sugardale hot dog, anyone?) and enjoy the energy of game day.

We were nervous because we weren’t sure what would happen to our strollers when we got there! We were able to take our strollers (yes, we had two) into the arena, but we left them outside the gymnasium, along the outer wall. It was a risk, but no one decided to walk off with a stroller on game day. Phew! I don’t know where else you could put your stroller, as the seating in the gymnasium is very tight. It worked out for us and we were really glad we did it!

You can see the schedule of OSU games here! Friends recommended arriving 20-25 minutes early to get good seats, and I will pass that advice on to you. We got there around 9:20 AM for the 9:40 AM Skull Session and were able to get good seats facing the band.

2. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

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There are so many pumpkin patch options, it’s kind of amazing! Every weekend in October is filled with Fall Festivals – honestly, I had no idea before I started this blog how many there are! Make sure to visit my post, Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals for a complete list!

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We recently visited Jaquemin Farms on a Monday! This one is great, in my opinion, because it is open during the week and for only $2 kids ages 3-10 can play in the corn box and run through the straw maze! Kids 2 and under are free! During the weekends, they have bouncy houses and the price is a bit higher. So if you have preschoolers at home during the week, this is a great way to spend an inexpensive morning at a pumpkin patch! Other weekday options include Circle S Farms, evenings at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm.

If you want the BIG pumpkin farm experience complete with kettle corn, a zip line, a huge pumpkin trampoline, mazes, corn bins, pedal carts and more, make sure to check out 15 Things to Do at Leeds Farm!

Another place we love to go is Smith’s Farm Market! The picture below is a few years old, but they always have a large selection of pumpkins and picturesque settings for fun pictures with pumpkins!

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3. Go Apple Picking

I’ve shared about our visit to Orchard and Company, and Branstool Orchards, and here’s a list of more apple picking ideas from Columbus Moms Blog! It’s getting late in the season, but there are still apples to be picked at many farms and a lot of them have farm festival weekends as well! If you’re looking for some options during the week (as opposed to the weekend), a few farms are open on select Fridays: Lynd Fruit Farm, and Cherry Hawk Farm, to name a few.

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4. Attend Boo at the Zoo at Columbus Zoo

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Boo at the Zoo happens for two weekends in October, the 19th – 21st, and the 26th – 28th, 2018. Dress your kids (or yourself!) in costume and visit a lot of vendors in different areas of the zoo who want to fill your kid’s basket with candy! It’s also totally acceptable to take your baby in a cute pumpkin costume in a stroller and accept candy on his or her behalf! 😉

5. Take a Road Trip

I shared 6 Ohio Road Trips to Take This Fall here, one of them being the Fall Festival at The Farm at Walnut Creek. Even if you can’t make it for the festival, a drive to Amish Country will be beautiful when the leaves (finally!) start to change!

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More fun road trip ideas include:

Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip!

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6. Visit a Metro Park

Once the leaves start to change, there are some great options for leaf viewing in our local Metro Parks! A great one is Battelle Darby! There are walking paths through the woods and also bison viewing! While you’re there, check out the living stream in the Nature Center!

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Inniswood Metro Park is also beautiful in the fall. Seriously, check out this picture I took during the fall (below)! It felt like a fairy tale! It was amazing!

7. Visit a City Park

Don’t underestimate your local city park for fall beauty. Here is a list of all the Columbus City ParksFranklin Park is particularly beautiful in the fall! Keep an eye out for the Harvest Parties at Columbus Rec Centers. You don’t have to go far to celebrate! 🙂

columbus parks

8. See Model Railroads at COSI

Mark your calendars for Model Railroad Days at COSI (2018 dates yet to be announced!) My kids LOVE this special couple of days when several model railroad clubs take over a few galleries at COSI. There are a lot of model trains to see and also trains to play with! It only comes once a year, but it’s one of those things my oldest son always asks about!

model railroad days at COSI

9. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train at Main Library

This is something I consider a Christmas tradition for our family, but it does arrive before Thanksgiving, so technically, it’s a fall activity, right? 😉  In mid November, the train will be installed at the New Main Library! It’s really beautiful, and if you have train lovers, like I do, it’s something you have to see!

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What else would you add to the list of “can’t miss” fall activities in Columbus?

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ICYMI: Fun for the Whole Family at EnterTRAINment Junction

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9 things to do with your kids this fall in Columbus, Ohio


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fryer park, grove city

6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

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These 6 Columbus area parks are great for toddlers!

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes taking young kids to the park can be a frightening experience.  You look away for 5 seconds and all of a sudden your toddler is standing at the top of a climbing wall looking over a 10 foot drop off to the pavement below.  I like to take my toddlers to parks where they can roam freely without a lot of worry that their lack of impulse control (or balance) is going to send us on a trip to the ER.  But that’s just me.

I suppose I should make a disclaimer that most (all?) of the younger kids’ areas in the parks I’ve been to have signs saying the equipment is designed for ages 2-5.  I don’t know anyone who has waited until their kid was 2 to take them to a park, so that being said, I have chosen 6 parks with particularly toddler-friendly play areas:

1. Funk-ee-Town, Harrison Park, Harrison West

995 Harrison Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43201
No Restrooms Available

Harrison Park

Harrison Park

GREAT toddler area here!  No crazy heights, the small slide is enclosed at the top, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play – on the ground!  My kids love the snack shack and the house with the blue roof has drums and a xylophone to play on inside, as well as a steering wheel. While you’re in the area, check out some of these kid-friendly options in the Short North!

2.  Jeffrey Mansion and Park, Bexley

165 N. Parkview Ave, Bexley, OH 43209
Seasonal Restrooms Available

Jeffrey Mansion Park, Bexley

Jefferey Mansion Park, Bexley, Ohio

The toddler area here is fenced in, making it a perfect little play area just for the younger crowd!  There is tunnel to crawl through, a dinosaur slide and a play house.  As a bonus, the grounds here are beautiful and if you follow the path into the woods behind the park, you will encounter a boardwalk along Alum Creek! If you’re in Bexley, add a stop at Kittie’s or Gramercy Books to complete the morning!

3.  Schiller Park, German Village

1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206
Restrooms Available

Train at Schiller Park, German Village

Slide at Schiller Park, German Village

This side of the playground at Schiller park is very toddler friendly.  Kids love these trains, and the play area behind it, seen in the picture, is specifically made for the toddler set.  It’s completely closed in, there’s a ramp and the slides are so slow my 4 year old got stuck.  😉 There are several baby/toddler swings here as well. Nearby, check out Winans for great coffee and chocolate!

4. Pingree Park, Worthington

374 Pingree Dr., Worthington, OH 43085
No Restrooms Available

Pingree Park, Worthington, OH

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

My kids had a lot of fun at this park!  There’s a toddler play set, infant/toddler swings and a small path around the park that does not cross a road or parking lot.  There are a couple of picnic tables and benches here that are convenient for snacking or eating a packed lunch.

Both of my kids, including my toddler, actually really had fun on the tunnel slide, though it specifically says for ages 5 and up.  They specifically enjoyed yelling “Paw Patrol!” from the top and then pretending to slide down into their respective vehicles.  So yes, I did basically yell out jobs for them for at least 20 minutes: “Marshall, I need you and your firetruck to go rescue a kitty from a tree . . .” and so on . . . It was fun. (Sarcasm font.)

5.  Discovery Frontier, Fryer Park, Grove City

3899 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Restrooms Available

space themed park in Grove City, Ohio

Fryer Park, Grove City, Ohio

This park is toddler friendly because it is more about space than height.  And yes, I mean that literally and figuratively.  This space-themed park has a lot of area to run, hills to climb and also sand to play in.  My kids love running through the tunnel and up the hill that is the moon. While you’re in Grove City, check out their awesome library!

There are several toddler-sized structures to play on.  It’s hard to say exactly what space-themed things they are supposed to be, but none of them are very high off the ground, and that’s what matters.  At this park, there is also a pond with a path to walk. There are several toddler swings here and they are under umbrella cover for shade – another bonus!

6. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081
Restrooms Available

Train Park, Westerville Ohio

Alum Creek Park North

Most of this park is geared toward older kids, but there are two things in particular make this park toddler-friendly and worth a visit.  One is the train, which is mainly at ground level with a tunnel to crawl through, benches to sit on inside and a small slide.  The second thing is the large sand pit.  I said it was toddler friendly, I didn’t promise your kids would stay clean.  😉 This park was one stop during our Playdate in Uptown Westerville – make sure to read to find out where we got donuts before hand! 😉

I have personally tried all of these parks with a toddler and lived to see another day!  I hope you and your little ones enjoy exploring a new park!  If you’re planning to pick up coffee on the way to the park, I featured two of these parks in my post Coffee+Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop!

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

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Columbus Ohio

What Should We Do This Weekend? March 3-5, 2017

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1. Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Through Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Daily
Location: 1777 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

This is the last weekend for Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory! Thousands of orchids and tropical plants are on display with an Art Deco theme! On Saturday, you can see the Millennium Academy of Irish Dance perform traditional Irish Step Dancing!

2. Cowgirls Don’t Ride Zebras with CATCO is Kids

When: Friday – Sunday, March 3-5, 2017
Time: various times throughout the weekend
Location: Van Fleet Theatre, 549 Franklin Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

This is the world premiere of Cowgirls Don’t Ride Zebras, a story about an aspiring cowgirl who needs a horse! The show is 45 minutes long. See the link to purchase tickets!

3. Friday Fun at Northwest Library

When: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Location: 2280 Hard Rd., Columbus, OH 43235
Phone: 614-807-2626

This program is for children 5 and under and includes stories, songs and rhymes!

4. Kids Dream Family Film Series at Marcus Theatres

When: Friday – Sunday, March 3-5, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM each day
Location: Marcus Theatre Locations

This weekend kicks off the Kids Dream Family Film Series going on through April 9! This week’s film is Kung Fu Panda 3! Tickets are just $3/person and there are special prices on popcorn and fountain drinks! You can get 2 FREE passes to the show by clicking on the link for American Family Insurance on their website!

5. First Friday Film Series at Ohio History Center

When: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH, 43211
Phone: 800-686-6124

This family-oriented evening starts at 5:00 PM and museum admission is just $6 (5 and under are free)! There will be special activities and the movie The Princess Bride will be shown at 7:00 PM. Snacks will be available for purchase.

6. Maple Sugar Pancake Breakfast at Stratford Ecological Center

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-363-2548

Breakfast includes whole wheat pancakes, Stratford sausage and local maple syrup! Afterwards you can hike to the sugar shack to learn about the sugaring process! Advanced registration is required.

7. Pancake Breakfast at Charity Newsies

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 4300 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-263-4300

This pancake breakfast raises money for Charity Newsies, an organization that provides clothing for local school children! There will be pancakes with Chris Cakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice, as well as games and activities for kids!

8. Arnold SportsWorld Kids & Teens EXPO at Ohio Expo Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, March 4 & 5, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday
Location: 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

Lots of events, demonstrations and activities for kids and teens are going on at the Bricker Building at Ohio Expo Center at the same time as the Arnold Sports Festival this weekend! See all the details here.

9. Maple Syrup Festival at Camp Lazarus

When: Saturday March 4, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Rain or Shine
Location: 4422 Columbus Pike, Delaware, OH, 43015

This festival includes an all you can eat pancake breakfast or hot dog lunch! You can learn how maple syrup is made and participate in pioneer activities! Maple Syrup will also be available for purchase!

10. Makin’ Maple Syrup at Gallant Farm

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 2150 Buttermilk Hill Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-362-0274

Come see how sap is extracted from trees and boiled down into syrup! This program is free for all ages!

11. K.I.D. Social Justice Story Time with Showing Up for Racial Justice Upper Arlington

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Upper Arlington Public Library, 2800 Tremont Rd., Upper Arlington, OH 43221

This story time sponsored by Kindness in Demonstration and Showing Up for Racial Justice Upper Arlington (geared toward preschoolers and early elementary) will feature books on fairness, snacks and fun!

12. Playdate in the Park with the Powell Library and Powell Parks and Recreation

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Location: 460 South Liberty St., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-888-9160

This in-library playdate includes story time, a craft and other fun activities!

13. Signs of Spring Hike at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111

All ages are welcome to take this one mile hunt in search of early signs of spring!

14. Ohio’s 214th Birthday Party at Ohio Statehouse

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location:  1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-752-9777

Celebrate Ohio’s 214th birthday with art projects, a tour of the Statehouse, a scavenger hunt, birthday treats and a special birthday surprise!

15. Let’s Go to Outer Space with Columbus Symphony

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 55 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215

This performance is a musical storytelling with a space theme geared toward young children! There will be pre-concert activities beginning at 2:00 PM, crafts, instruments to hold and to play and more! Children are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite space hero! See the link for tickets!

16. Decorate Diaper Donation Boxes for No Child Wet Behind with Columbus Kids Do Good

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Art With Anna, 420 N. Cassady Ave., Columbus, OH 43209

In support of the No Child Wet Behind Diaper Drive and Family Fun 5K Race & 1 Mile Walk/Run, you can bring the whole family to help decorate diaper donation boxes that will be dropped off to donation locations around Columbus! There are 40 boxes to be decorated! This is also an opportunity to bring a pack of diapers to donate! If Sunday night doesn’t work, a similar event is happening on Monday night!

 

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ICYMI: Countdown to Spring: 20 Days to Celebrate in Columbus

*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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