15 Activities Kids Can Do for Free at the Ohio State Fair

Spread the Love
  • 81
    Shares

A trip to the Ohio State Fair can be budget friendly AND fun when you mix in these 15 free activities for kids!

Thanks to Ohio State Fair for partnering with us on this post!

A trip to the Ohio State Fair can end up costing a whole family a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to! In the past few years that we have attended the Ohio State Fair, these are some activities my kids have really enjoyed that don’t cost anything beyond admission!

Save money with these free, kid-friendly activities within the grounds of the Ohio State Fair!

Don’t miss the list of special deals happening each day at the Ohio State Fair that I have listed at the end of this post!

1. Scavenger Hunt

Pick up a scavenger hunt form at the Agriculture is Cool tent and answer 10 questions throughout your journey through the fair. The answers are posted on signs in various locations that have the headline “Did you know?” If you answer them all, you can turn in your form for free ice cream! This is free for kids AND adults!

Ag is Cool Passport and Scavenger Hunt

If you want to do the scavenger hunt, make sure to enter through Gate 1 (Cardinal Gate or North Entrance) so you can hit up the Agriculture is Cool tent to pick up your scavenger hunt form and ice cream coupons first!

2. Dig and Dump in the Corn Bin

Boys playing in corn bin at Ohio State Fair

Inside the Agriculture is Cool tent, young kids will love dumping and scooping corn kernels. Every parent I’ve seen has had to drag their kids away from this display! 😉

3. Animal Shows

Kids who are into animals might enjoy watching other kids show their animals and win awards! Each day the Ohio State Fair prints a schedule for the day and you can pick it up at the entrance OR view or download the schedule of any given day online by clicking here.

4. Budweiser Clydesdales

Budweiser Clydesdales at Ohio State Fair

The whole family can walk through a tent to see the Budweiser Clydesdale horses up close, watch them get bathed and groomed and view their fancy saddles!

5. Live Entertainment

There are all sorts of free shows going on throughout each day on the Main Street and Gazebo Stages! Free live music from salsa to bluegrass to classic rock (schedule here) and other shows featuring jugglers, magic and illusions, ax throwing, a cappella singers, and more can also be seen (schedule here)!

6. Milk a Cow

Milk a Cow at Ohio State Fair

Kids can get up close and personal with a cow and learn how to milk it! Milk the cow from noon to 4:00 PM in the OVMA Veterinary Education Center. There will also be babies on display in that area. We saw newborn calves!

7. See the Butter Cow

Butter Cow at Ohio State Fair

This is a can’t miss Ohio State Fair exhibit! This year’s theme celebrates 35 years of A Christmas Story, the famous movie filmed in Cleveland in 1983!

8. Petting Zoo

Petting zoo at Ohio State Fair

Entrance to the Petting Zoo is free so kids can pet animals to their heart’s delight! At the door they sell small cups of carrots for $2 and large cups for $5. You can bypass these and buy dry feed out of machines for $.25 a handful.

9. Model Trains

Model Train at Ohio State Fair

The Cardinal Building is full of all kinds of fun arts and craft projects from doll houses to miniature displays and crafts made out of Brillo pads! Also in the building are several Model Train displays and a Thomas display kids can operate themselves!

10. Natural Resources Park

Natural Resources Park at Ohio State Fair

This fun area is maintained by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – inside there is a butterfly house, watercraft simulator, fishing for kids, kayaking, archery and other educational displays and activities! This is a great area for kids and all of these activities are free!

11. Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear at Ohio State Fair

Kids will be amazed when a 14 foot Smokey Bear calls them by name! When walking through the Natural Resources Park, a worker will try to find out your kids’ names on the sly and pass them on so Smokey can personally remind your child never to play with matches!

12. Play in the Sand Box

Sand Box at Natural Resources Park at Ohio State Fair

My kids LOVE this sand box in the Natural Resources Park! It’s for kids age 5 and under and they ask you to limit your time in there to 15 minutes but as long as it’s not super busy, no one is clocking in and out!

13. Pig Races

Pig races take place several times a day in the Meijer Kiddieland area and are free to watch!

14. The Nerveless Nocks All American Stunt & Thrill Show

Watch daredevils as the perform crazy stunts like riding motorcycles around each other in a huge hamster wheel! 3 show times each day!

15. Mini Golf

Mini Golf at Ohio State Fair

Mini Golf gets an honorable mention here for costing less than a bottle of water! Inside the Beef building, kids can do a round of mini golf for $2.

Know Before You Go:

  • Regular admission at the gate is:
    $10 – Adults 13-59
    $8 – Seniors 60+
    $8 – Children 5-12
    Free – Children under 5
    $6 – Advance sale admission tickets
  • Parking is $5
  • Admission gates are open from 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM (9:00 AM – 7:00 PM on August 5th.)
  • Rides will run from 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM and until midnight on Fridays and Saturday.

Other tips for saving money at the Ohio State Fair:

-Pack your own lunch or snacks

-Bring your own water bottle (no glass allowed). (Trust me on this one. I brought my water bottle but at the last minute I decided not to take it in because I didn’t feel like carrying it. I ended up buying two drinks just for me throughout the day!)

– Buy drinks from the vending machines. Most drinks at concession stands are $3 but cold drinks are also sold in vending machines around the grounds for $2.

– General admission tickets can be purchased online for $6 each or a four pack for $5 for each ticket through August 5th.

-Buy your tickets in person at Kroger or AAA for $6 each.

-As part of the Fourth Grade Agriculture is Cool Program, If you have an exiting 4th grader, that child and an adult can get in free any one day with a valid report card or valid homeschool form at the entrance.

– Print off this amazing sheet of coupons to use for food and other vendors!

Ohio State Fair Food Highway

Take advantage of one of these special days happening next week! See the entire list here.

Monday July 30th – NBC4 Family Discount Day – until 6 PM adults will be admitted for the kids’ admission price of $8 and kids 12 and under will be admitted free. Also, with the purchase of one wristband, a second rider can ride free until 6:00 PM with a hand stamp.

Tuesday, July 31 – Seniors ages 60 and up get in for $4

Thursday, August 2 – AAA members can show a current membership card to receive $4 admission vouchers for each member in your party.

Friday, August 3 – Patrons 18 and over can bring a non-winning Ohio Lottery ticket to receive one $4 admission voucher.

Saturday, August 4 – One Ohio soybean farmer or Ohio Soybean Association member will be given free Fair admission, with each member in their party receiving $4 admission with voucher from Ohio Soybean News magazine.

Sunday, August 5 – Bring any empty Pepsi container to the gate for a $3 admission voucher for every member of your party before 3:00 PM.

IMG_8735

Use the share buttons to share this post with your friends!

Save this post on Pinterest!

Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio


Kids Eat Free in Columbus and Central Ohio

ICYMI: Kids Eat Free or Cheap in Columbus and Central Ohio

 


Spread the Love
  • 81
    Shares

3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Mary Hoover

Spread the Love
  • 28
    Shares

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

1. Rusty Bucket

Dining out when you are sticking to a budget can be tricky, but that’s why our first “fave place” has been a dinner saver (and marriage saver too!). Whenever I need a night off from cooking, The Rusty Bucket is our first stop.  Not only because we have one in walking distance from our house, but mainly for their awesome Kids Eat Free program (best in town, IMO!).

I LOVE the Bucketeer Bookworms Reading program.  Simply pick up a bookmark at your fave Bucket location, have your kiddo read 5 books (or read to them) and record them on the bookmark.  Once they have read 5, you can redeem for a FREE kids meal.  Even better, this is any night of the week and no per adult stipulation. So you can save money and encourage your kids to read! Can you see why we love the Bucket so much?  Not to mention the food is sooo good! (So glad they brought back my mommy indulgence, Chicken Finger BLT sandwich!)


2. Chick-fil-A on Sawmill

To keep up with the food theme, another one of our favorite places in Columbus is the Chick-fil-A on Sawmill Road.  Not only are we fans of the food (are you sensing a theme here with tweens/teen kiddos) but this location in particular goes above and beyond to make every experience amazing.  Whether it’s a family activity night, the ice cream trade in for the kids meal toy, a random freebie offer on your receipt, a donation drive opportunity or just the tried and true – “My Pleasure”, we just LOVE CFA Sawmill. And yes there are plenty of ways to save at Chick-fil-A too! Start by downloading their CFA One app, they are always sending fun freebies. 


2. Timbuk Farms

Finally, something non-food related. I do love to save money and that means I am a big “Black Friday” season shopper- BUT I actually don’t ever shop IN the store on Black Friday.  What? You say? That’s because my family has a “Green Friday” tradition. 

For 10 years now we have been cutting down our Christmas tree at Timbuk Farms (Granville, OH- just a short drive from Cbus) on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  It’s a wonderful tradition (at a farm I used to go to as a kid too) and I would much rather be there making memories with my kids, then battling the crowds for a deal (I just snag all the deals online!). It’s a wonderful way to start the holiday season, Free picture opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Clause included! 


Mary Hoover is on a Mission to help your family save! This Columbus native is married to her Columbus City Schools High School sweetheart and they have 3 kiddos. On MissionToSave.com, Mary shares weekly grocery match ups, frugal DIY ideas, family friendly recipes, deals you won’t want to miss, and other great tips to help you save money! Along with her blog and social media, you can find Mary on monthly Good Day Columbus segments. She has invited you to join the Mission Savers Community.

IMG_8735

Use the share buttons to share this post with your friends!

ICYMI: Free Splash Pads and Fountains in Columbus, Ohio

 


Spread the Love
  • 28
    Shares

8 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Columbus over Spring Break

Spread the Love
  • 290
    Shares

It might not be the beach, but there’s lots of fun to be had for families during Spring Break in Columbus!

1. Play at Easterseals of Central and Southeast Ohio

play area at Easterseals of Central Ohio

Easterseals of Central and Southeast Ohio has two things going on this month you should know about! The first is this week of Open Play during spring break! Monday through Friday (April 2 – April 6, 2018) the play area at Easterseals will be open for special play hours. Price is $5/child for ages 7 and under! Availability is subject to maximum capacity reached. There are also special hours for special needs families. See the link for times. (P.S. This space is also available for birthday parties!)

football field at Ohio State University Horseshoe

ALSO, thinking ahead to later in the month, on April 28, 2017, Easterseals will be hosting their annual fundraiser, Romancing the Grape at The Huntington Club of Ohio Stadium! This is an adults only event that will offer you the opportunity to try over 100 varieties of the finest wines and sample food from some of Columbus’ finest restaurants! (Think The Guild House, The Refectory, The Blackwell Inn, etc.) Tickets are $85 per person until March 31st and $100 per person beginning April 1. The VIP ticket is $175 until March 31 and $200 starting April 1 and includes a VIP reception and tour of the stadium and locker room!

The proceeds directly fund the local Easterseals programs such as their Early Intervention program for kids with special needs, which is offered at no cost to participants who qualify for the service! I’m looking forward to attending this event and supporting Easterseals of Central and Southeast Ohio! Click here for more info about the event!


2. Free Petting Zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns

petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns

Olentangy Indian Caverns opens for the season on April 2! They will be offering free petting zoo admission for the whole first week (April 2-8, 2018)! Olentangy Indian Caverns would make a fun day trip during Spring Break! Besides the petting zoo there is gem mining, a play area, yard games and of course tours of the caverns! You can read more about it here: 10 Things to do at Olentangy Indian Caverns.


3. Spring Thaw at Ohio History Center

ohio history center, columbus, ohio

Take the kids to Ohio History Center for their special spring break hours. From Wednesday, March 14 to Sunday, April 8, 2018, they will be open from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM every day! (Except Easter, April 1) There will be special programming with an Ice Age theme! There will be scavenger hunts, bones from ice-age mammals and special weekend programs!

There will also be a special pop-up cafe from Taste of Country Monday through Saturday (through April 8) from 11:0 AM – 2:00 PM! You don’t even need to pack a lunch! 🙂 See all there is to do at Ohio History Center here!


4. Family Fun at Ten Pin Alley

ten pin alley, hilliard, ohio

Ten Pin Alley has recently reopened in Hilliard and is offering several Early Bird Spring Break specials!

From 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM during the week and 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM on weekends they are offering the following specials through April 1, 2018:

  • Family Fun Pack: $44.95 (bowling for 1 hour, 4 shoes, 1 large one topping pizza, 4 sodas)
  • $5 Game of Laser Tag
  • $10 game card for $5

ALSO, Wednesday, March 28, 2018 is National Laser Tag Day!  Ten Pin Alley will be offering $3 missions all day in their arena!

See all there is to do for families at the New and Improved Ten Pin Alley!


5. Family Open Gym at Vertical Adventures

Vertical Adventures will be offering additional hours for families to drop in and climb! Cost is $10/climber and kids 3 and under are free! These special hours will be offered on the WEEKDAYS March 19 – April 6, 2018 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. No need to sign up, just drop in!


6. Do Something Crafty at Aprons and Easels

Aprons and Easels in Hilliard is offering 1/2, 1 and 2 day Art Camps! Check their schedule for availability. Most classes are for kids ages 8 and up!


7. Go on an Easter Egg Hunt

easter eggs

I helped contribute to this HUGE list of Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Bunny Events and more for Columbus Moms Blog! There are so many Easter-related events going on over the next few weeks!


8. School’s Out CBUS: Summer Break at Columbus Museum of Art

wonder room at columbus museum of art

The Columbus Museum of Art is offering several activities for kids of all ages during the Spring Break including Young Child Studios for kids 18 months to 5 years on Tuesdays and Saturdays, free, drop-in Teen Open Studio for teens on Thursdays and Fridays, and free admission on Sundays! The Wonder Room is always available for kids and offers hands-on, artistic activities!


These ideas not enough? You might need to check out this list: “50 Fun Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio with Kids” compiled by First Community Village of Columbus!

Have a safe and happy Spring Break!

Share this post with your friends!

IMG_8735

Save this post!play area at Easterseals of Central Ohio


ICYMI: 5 of the Best Things About Ohio!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Spread the Love
  • 290
    Shares