35 FREE Things to do with Your Kids This Summer in Columbus

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Summer is the best time to get out and explore lots of fun things with the kids! Luckily for us, Columbus is full of lots of FREE things to do this summer! If you need some inspiration, here are 35 things you can do for free around town!

35 Free Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus:

train car in Hilliard, ohio columbus, ohio

1. Climb aboard the train at Homestead Metro Park.

westgate farmer's market in columbus, ohio

2. Check out a farmer’s market. See this list from Columbus Moms Blog, listed by day of the week!

3. Watch an outdoor movie. See this list from 614 Mom.

kids splashing in fountains at polaris fashion place, columbus, ohio

4. Have fun at KidX at Polaris Fashion Place.

Columbus Commons Park in Columbus, Ohio

5. Play at Commons for Kids every Friday.

tree house at Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio

6. Climb into the tree house at Inniswood Metro Park.

7. Win prizes in a Summer Reading Club. Register at your local library or take advantage of one of these national programs listed by Mission to Save.

8. Try out one of Columbus’ many festivals. Check out this list of festivals around Columbus from Columbus Underground!

park in gahanna, ohio

9. Try out a new park. I have some ideas here and here!

10. Follow the path of the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.

kids at a splash pad in columbus, ohio

11. Get wet at a local splash pad! See my list of Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains!

12.. Bowl for free with the Kids Bowl Free program! There are 3 locations in the Columbus area!

hilltop bean dinner meal in columbus, ohio

13. Attend the Hilltop Bean Dinner commemorating the role the Hilltop played in the Civil War! Admission is free and there is a huge car show, food vendors, arts and crafts and more!

14. Shop 100 local vendors at the Powell Street Market.

kid getting a book from a little free library in columbus, ohio

15. Visit a Little Free Library to borrow or donate books.

16. Attend one of the Cap City Nights Festivals hosted by Columbus Recreation and Parks! (2019 info not yet released.)

kids participating in free metro park program in columbus, ohio

17. Learn about nature at one of the Preschool Programs at Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks.

18. Enjoy some music at Polaris Live every Thursday night beginning June 13, 2019. Also see Summer Nights in Columbus: Concerts, Movies and More for Every Night of the Week!

kid at story time at chic fil a on sawmill, columbus, ohio

19. Hear a story or two at the Storytime at Chic Fil A on Sawmill.

celebration at the station in hilliard, ohio

20. Enjoy a free concert at Celebration at the Station at Hilliard’s Station Park – Thursdays at 6:00 PM beginning June 6, 2019.

kid at IKEA smaland

21. Explore IKEA and get free childcare and free coffee for IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders).

22. Get artistic at Arts in Uptown on the Second Friday of each month!

23. Watch a free movie at Gateway Film Center! Admission to their Book to Film series is free with your library card!

kid climbing in the natural play area at Blendon Woods Metro Park in Columbus, ohio

24. Explore the Blendon Woods Natural Play Area where kids can build forts, swing through the woods on a wooden swing, go creeking and more!

arches in the short north in columbus, Ohio

25. Attend Gallery Hop in the Short North on the first Saturday night of each month from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM! Enjoy street performers, special deals and treats and the shops stay open late!

26. Watch a movie and have fun at Bexley Main Event.

27. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Day – the first Sunday of each month when Columbus and Franklin County residents (with valid ID) get in free! Make sure to play in the Children’s Garden!

28. Stop to smell the roses at Columbus Park of Roses.

play for free at the columbus museum of art on Sundays!

29. Explore Columbus Museum of Art when admission is free on Sundays! Don’t miss The Wonder Room, an area just for kids!

30. Explore an ancient burial mound, Shrum Mound.

kids riding the CBUS in Columbus, Ohio

31. Take a ride on the CBUS. All rides are free and the buses go in a loop around the Short North, downtown, Brewery District and German Village.

32. Take a ride on the Smart Circuit – a self driving shuttle that will take you around the Scioto Mile!

free indoor play area in columbus ohio

33. Beat the heat with a free indoor play area.

hoot family film series free this summer in columbus ohio

34. Enjoy music, activities and movies at Hoot Family Film Series – free with a non-perishable donation to the Open Shelter.

35. Do a craft, hear a story and listen to jazz music at PBJ & Jazz.

Feel free to share what kind of free activities your family likes to do around Columbus in the comments!

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35 Free Things to do this summer in Columbus, Ohio

 

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Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains

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These Central Ohio and Columbus splash pads are easy ways to cool off in the summer and a safer alternative for young kids who don’t yet know how to swim!

All of these splash pads are free to enter and most are open Memorial Day through Labor Day. It’s always a good idea to check the link for dates and hours of operation! You may want to read: 25 Things to Pack for a Successful Trip to the Splash Pad before you go!

Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains

1. Bicentennial Park

233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

fountain at Bicentennial Park

Bicentennial Park on the Scioto Mile

2. North Bank Park

311 W. Long St., Columbus, OH 43215

  • The splash pad is behind the pavilion at the end of Neil Ave.

3. Hilliard’s Station Park

4021 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026

Splash pad at Hilliard's Station Park

Hilliard’s Station Park

4. Easton Town Center Fountains

160 Easton Square Pl, Columbus, OH 43219

Fountain at Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center

5. Grove City Splash Pad

3600 Discovery Dr., Grove City, OH 43123

6. Ballantrae Community Park Spray Fountains

6350 Woerner Temple Rd., Dublin, OH 43016

Fountains at Ballantrae Park in Dublin, Ohio

Ballantrae Park

7. Powell Splash Pad

47 Hall St., Powell, OH 43065

Splash Pad in Powell, Ohio

Powell Splash Pad

8. Hanby Park

115 E Park St., Westerville, OH 43081

9. Fountain at Polaris Fashion Place

1500 Polaris Pkwy., Columbus, OH 43240

fountain at Polaris Fashion Place

Polaris Fashion Place

10. Partners Park

125 E 6th St., Marysville, OH 43040here

11. Spray and Play at Veterans Park

1121 South Houk Rd., Delaware, OH 43015

Spray and Play at Veteran's Park in Delaware

Veteran’s Park

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Kids Eat Free or Cheap in Columbus and Central Ohio

 


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What Should We Do This Weekend? June 1-3, 2018

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33 family-friendly events happening in Columbus, Ohio this weekend!

FRIDAY:

7:00 AM – National Donut Day at Peace Love and Little Donuts – everyone gets a complimentary blueberry cake donut when they visit and you can get a free cup of coffee with the purchase of a dozen donuts! Check out this link: National Donut Day Deals for a list from Mission to Save featuring more local deals celebrating National Donut Day!

9:00 AM – BOGO Admission at Tree of Life Play + Cafe – buy one admission and get one free today from 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM!

9:30 AM – BOGO Mini Golf at Olentangy Indian Caverns – to celebrate The Memorial Tournament, mini-golf is buy one get one FREE May 31 – June 3 when you mention this post! Read 10 Things to do at Olentangy Indian Caverns.

10:00 AM – Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons – head down to Columbus Commons for bounce houses, special performances, crafts, games and more!

10:00 AM – Muffins with Mom at PARTY Like It’s Your Birthday – admission to the play space at PARTY Like it’s Your Birthday includes muffins and coffee between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM!

10:30 AM –Read it, Make it, Eat it – Splat the Cat at PARTY Like It’s Your Birthday – this event includes a story, two crafts and a themed snack based on the book Splat the Cat! $15/child. 

11:00 AM – From Book to Film Family Film Series at Gateway Film Center – Gateway Film Center has partnered with Columbus Metropolitan Library to offer free showings of movies made from books! Present your library card to get free admission to the movie! There is a different movie each week and it is shown at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM every day!

11:00 AM – Kids Concert on the Green at Worthington Village Green – dance to the band Endless Recess at this kid-focused Concert on the Green in Old Worthington!

6:00 PM – Blank & Brush Block Party at Blank Slate Coffee – enjoy local music, local art and food available from Ajumama!

6:30 PM – Story Trail Celebration & Ribbon Cutting at Friendship Park – kick off the summer reading program and a new story at the Gahanna Story Trail with the ribbon cutting ceremony, live music and free activities or families! The story for this year is The Littlest Bee, written by Gahanna-Jefferson students!

7:00 PM – Youth Musical: Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Musical at Alum Creek Amphitheater – watch this outdoor youth production of Disney’s Aladdin Jr at the Alum Creek Amphitheater!

7:00 PM – Summer Sizzle Concert Series (Kids Concert) at George Edge Music Park – this weekend the Summer Sizzle Concert Series features Endless Recess playing children’s variety and family favorite songs! Southwest Public Libraries is partnering to provide activities and crafts for the whole family!

7:30 PM – Rhythm on the River: An Evening of Bluegrass at The Scioto Mile – enjoy a free evening of bluegrass music in Bicentennial Park!

8:30 PM – Friday Night Flicks: Despicable Me 3 at Sycamore Park Amphitheater – watch Despicable Me 3 in the park! Movie starts at dusk.

SATURDAY:

9:00 AM – Baby Bargain Boutique and Maternity Sale at Westerville Community Center – shop for maternity clothes, children’s clothing and toys, furniture and more! Admission is a non-perishable item for donation to a local food bank.

9:00 AM – Short North Yard Sale – shop the city’s largest yardsale throughout the neighborhoods of the Short North! Click the link to check out a listing of addresses and what is for sale!

9:00 AM – Hubbard Bazaar at Hubbard Mastery School – if you’re shopping the Short North Yard Sale, check out Hubbard Mastery School for art work, clothing for women and children, handmade jewelry, and other handmade goods for sale!

9:30 AM – BOGO Mini Golf at Olentangy Indian Caverns – to celebrate The Memorial Tournament, mini-golf is buy one get one FREE May 31 – June 3 when you mention this post! Read 10 Things to do at Olentangy Indian Caverns.

9:30 AM – Historian in Training at Ohio History Center 9:30 AM – kids ages 3-6 can be a historian in training through hands on activities and learning historical thinking skills! Register online. $5/child. This month’s theme is C is for Conway.

10:00 AM – Heritage Celebration in Fryer Park – experience farm life in the 1880’s with hands on experiences, carriage rides and other demonstrations. There will be music and 1860’s style base ball, plus a whole lot more! This is a free event but donations to Grove City Food Pantry are being collected.

10:00 AM – Ostrander Annual Touch a Truck Event at Delaware County EMS – get up close with all kinds of vehicles and meet the people who operate them! This is a free event!

10:00 AM – Tractor Show at Gallant Farm Park – check out antique tractors and enjoy activities for the whole family. Free.

10:00 AM – Storytime with author Samantha Smith at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers – listen to a reading of Samantha Smith’s book Cate’s Magic Garden at this story time geared for ages 4-8.

11:00 AM – African-American Cultural Festival in the King-Lincoln District – this celebration of history is a family friendly event including live music, spoken word and dance performances, a KidsZone, science station, visual artists, a tribute to Rosa Parks and more!

11:00 AM – Summer Reading Challenge Kickoff at CML Main Library – kick off the Summer Reading Challenge with activities, indoor/outdoor games, food and costumed characters! There will be two performances by Jim Gill at 11:00 AM and 12:15 PM.

12:00 PM – Jeni’s Strawberry Jam at Land-Grant Brewing Company – this free event includes family-friendly activities, live music, ice cream, local food and more!

7:00 PM – Youth Musical: Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Musical at Alum Creek Amphitheater – watch this outdoor youth production of Disney’s Aladdin Jr at the Alum Creek Amphitheater!

SUNDAY:

9:30 AM – BOGO Mini Golf at Olentangy Indian Caverns – to celebrate The Memorial Tournament, mini-golf is buy one get one FREE May 31 – June 3 when you mention this post! Read 10 Things to do at Olentangy Indian Caverns.

10:00 AM – Community Days at Franklin Park Conservatory – beginning this month, admission to the Franklin Park Conservatory will be free to Franklin County and City of Columbus residents from 10:00 AM – 5:00PM on the first Sunday of each month! This would be a great time to visit the new Children’s Garden! Must have a valid ID.

10:00 AM – Buckeye Reptile Expo at American Legion Post 144- reptile fans might enjoy this expo featuring all kinds of snakes, turtles, amphibians and more! Tickets are $5 and under and you can get a discount by buying your tickets online.

1:00 PM – TangerKids DIY at Tanger Outlets, Columbus  – Auntie Anne’s will be teaching kids the history of the pretzel and demonstrating how pretzels are made! Kids will get to make their own pretzel. Kids will also take a tour of the Auntie Anne’s store and receive a twisted pretzel and small lemonade. RSVP online.

2:00 PM Summer Comunity Read: Kick Off Party at Bexley Public Library – kick of the Summer Community Read at Bexley Public Library with a party for all ages! There will be instruments to explore and a family friendly concert beginning at 3:00 PM!

3:00 PM – Youth Musical: Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Musical at Alum Creek Amphitheater – watch this outdoor youth production of Disney’s Aladdin Jr at the Alum Creek Amphitheater!


A BIG thank you to Olentangy Indian Caverns for sponsoring this post!

Central Ohio’s first Treasure Hunt Maze is now open, just in time for summer! Featuring three special treasure stops as you find your way out, it’s sure to add extra fun to your visit. Admission is $5.00 / person and includes three coins to be used at the treasure stations, which feature rotating goodies like arrowheads, gemstones, and minerals throughout 10,000 square feet of amazin’ fun.

Also, to celebrate The Memorial Tournament, mini-golf is buy one get one FREE May 31 – June 3 when you mention this post.

When: Open 7 days a week
Time: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 1779 Home Road, Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-548-7917


Want to sponsor What Should We Do This Weekend? Click here for details!

 

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*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!*

ICYMI:  35 Free Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer in Columbus


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