3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Eryn Gilson

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 Eryn for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Cambridge Tea House

My oldest daughter and I love Cambridge Tea House.  It is our go to spot for mommy/daughter dates, lunch before our annual Christmas shopping trip, to celebrate good news, really any excuse to leave the boys at home and escape for some girl time. 🙂 The experience is everything, we have so much fun chatting  about Kindergarten over scones and tea. I hope we will be able to continue this tradition through her high school years and into adulthood.  You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu – my daughter loves the Princess Tea (complete with a tiara to wear during your time there), we both love the scones and they have THE BEST tea. I’m kind of a tea snob so I promise you’ll love it.  Note: They are closed on Mondays and I highly recommend making reservations.

2. Columbus Metro Parks – Prairie Oaks and Inniswood Are Our Current Favs

You can’t really go wrong with any of the wonderful Metro Parks in Columbus but I am just sharing my top two because I could talk for days about all of them. 🙂 Prairie Oaks is our go to for those moments we need to get out of the house, donut picnics on Saturday morning, or nature walks – it’s about 10 minutes from our house and even on the weekends there is a max of 4 other families there with us.  My kiddos love the playground and I love that I can see both of them even if one is playing on the jungle gym and one is climbing the hill to the slides.  We also really enjoy exploring the walking paths and the lakes.

Inniswood Metro Gardens is a favorite for family pictures, exploring, and nature walks. They offer GREAT summer programs which is a huge bonus. They offer so many educational programs year round but the summer programs are some of our favorites.  Inniswood is so beautiful, while walking around we talk about colors, bees, types of flowers, dirt, gardening, and so much more. It really opens up so many wonderful conversations with my kids.

3. North Market

I am passionate about sharing my love for shopping and eating local with my kids and The North Market is one of the best places for me to share that passion with them. From picking up fresh flowers or grabbing a bite to eat while we’re downtown, or heading to the Farmers Market there on Saturday morning, we can’t get enough.  We each have our favorite spots in The North Market but really you can’t go wrong.  I love Little Eater and Dos Hermanos, my husband is obsessed with Hot Chicken Takeover (but come on who isn’t?), my daughter goes back and forth between Destination Donuts and Taste of Belgium, and my son loves Sarafino’s.  We also love exploring the area using this scavenger hunt from one of my fav local bloggers. Make a day of it and head just a few steps away to explore Goodale Park or take your picture in front of the infamous teal and orange wall.


We are so lucky in Columbus to have so many amazing opportunities to explore, learn, and play.  My husband and I are passionate about showing our kids the world and giving them plenty of opportunities to explore. We are proud to live in a city that gives us the opportunities to do and share so much with our kids so effortlessly. When Julie asked me to write about our top three favorite places – I knew it would be a challenge because we love so many places but I think I’ve narrowed it down pretty well.  Above are our top 3 favorite places but it needs to be said we also love going out for ice cream, hiking, exploring art exhibits, attending the theatre, and so much more.  Make sure to follow along with me over at 614 Mom (Facebook and Instagram as well)  to learn more about the places we love.


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ICYMI: Peach Picking Fun at Branstool Orchards

5 on Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies in Columbus

You guys – would you believe Friday, August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Can you even believe my luck? When I was deciding what this month’s 5 on Friday feature would be, I could NOT pass this one up! I know I already featured 5 Bakeries, and at nearly all of them I got a chocolate chip cookie, so, in an honest effort not to repeat myself too much, I took on the great hardship of trying out a few new options to add to the list! 😉

1. Fox in the Snow

1031 N. 4th St., Columbus, OH 43201

A while back, Fox in the Snow posted a picture of a chocolate chip cookie with the statement that they had wanted to add a cookie to their amazing arsenal of baked goods (oh my!) but had just not been satisfied with a recipe – until now! Well, you know if Fox in the Snow has worked hard to perfect a recipe, it’s gonna be good. Still, I was still taken aback with my first bite. I know, that is a lot of hyperbole for a cookie, but when something is hyped up in your mind and it doesn’t disappoint, that’s saying something! Give a try to their brown butter, toffee, chocolate chip cookie (sprinkled with sea salt) and I just can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed!

P.S. I never thought I would take my kids to Fox in the Snow. It’s hip, trendy and not somewhere I have felt confident taking a 3 year old. HOWEVER – whenever I have gone, there have always been kids there. (Ok, a good number of them have been in infant car seats or just a single child) but I guess it boosted my confidence because when I stopped in to get the cookie, I actually let my kids talk me into a cinnamon roll and staying there to eat on their great outdoor patio. Granted, the patio is probably better for kids than inside, but I guess the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to take your kids there – the pastries are so good they’ll be guaranteed to sit still for at least 60 seconds. 😉


2. Northstar

Multiple Locations

So, I’ve been eating the double chocolate chip cookies at Northstar since 2008, but a few months ago I saw a regular chocolate chip cookie for the first time and couldn’t pass it up. (Have you noticed yet that chocolate chip cookies are my weakness?) It was gooey and yummy and I’m so glad they have them at Northstar now!


3. Kittie’s Cafe

2424 E Main St., Bexley, OH 43209,

Ok, I’ll admit, Kitties Cafe in Bexley is a repeat. But I just couldn’t leave off my favorite chocolate chip cookie. This salted chocolate chip cookie is the first one that made me stand back and say, “Whoa!” Plus this spot is across the street from the amazing Bexley Library and next door to Gramercy Books – so you’ve got complete outing already planned!


4. Freedom a la Cart

Inside the Northside Library, 1423 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43201

Speaking of another complete package, Freedom a la Cart has a cafe inside Columbus Metropolitan Library’s newly remodeled Northside Branch in the Short North! The cafe is on the first floor of the library and has a lot of treats to offer! Before I even knew I was going to write this post, I chose the salted chocolate chip cookie. Yum! Salt + Cookie is the best thing ever! Freedom a la Cart employs victims of human trafficking, giving them skills, experience and a safe place to learn a trade. Top your cookie off with a stop at the fish tank on the same floor and a visit to the kids’ area of the library and you’ve got your day’s outing done!


5. Sweet Carrot

1417 W 5th Ave., Columbus, OH, 43212, 614-488 – 7151

The chocolate chip cookie at Sweet Carrot looked so good from behind the counter the first time I ate there, but I passed it up. I had to try it out for this post so I stopped in to pick one up a few weeks ago. It was definitely yummy! I noticed a lot of other tasty looking desserts that will now get inside my head to try next! Sweet Carrot is a kid-friendly restaurant with a rabbit theme. They serve BBQ options (think pulled pork), mac and cheese and those two things together in a tasty combo! The decor inside is lots of fun! There’s an outdoor patio, too, so give it a try this summer!

Who makes your favorite chocolate chip cookie in Columbus?


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ICYMI: 4 Nature Themed Story Times Around Columbus

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