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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Lisa Armitage

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

Disclaimer: I am a Goldfish Swim School partner.

1. Friendship Cross-Fit

The best thing about Friendship Cross-Fit is the fact that they get the whole family involved! They do an amazing job of focusing on the overall well-being for kids, teens and adults. This is one of our favorite things to do together as a family!

2. 101 Beer Kitchen

This restaurant is wonderful! They do a great job accommodating our son’s life-threatening food allergies. Not only that, but their food is always top-notch!

3. Mad River Mountain

Always a fun time hitting the slopes with our favorite people! Mad River Mountain is a fun little day trip filled with fun and good times for the whole family!


Lisa was a stay-at-home mom to three young children in Michigan, and while her kids were taking lessons at Goldfish Swim School, she fell in love with the program. Swimming is a life skill and water safety is a huge priority for Lisa and her husband, Steve, and she loved that water safety is incorporated into every class at Goldfish from babies to 12 year olds. Leveraging her business and marketing education background and inspired by her mother who was a longtime business owner, Lisa opened her first Goldfish Swim School in Dublin nearly four years ago, a second location in Westerville two years ago and will be opening a third location in Lewis Center in 2018. The business continues to grow and thrive here in central Ohio.

Lisa is a vocal advocate for year-round water safety in the community, and regularly speaks with community organizations, business groups, scout troops, media outlets and blogs about the topic. Lisa and her team have conducted more than 100 free water safety presentations at local schools, reaching thousands of children. This is a huge passion and priority for Lisa and a primary reason the business is so engrained in the communities it serves. Lisa, her staff and Goldfish Swim School members also partner throughout the year on an array of non-profit service initiatives. Goldfish Swim School was named one of Columbus Business First’s Best Places to work in Central Ohio.

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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Bethia Woolf

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 Bethia for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month! Bethia is an expert in the ethnic food scene in Columbus so, naturally, she is sharing 3 places she loves to take her daughter to EAT in Columbus!

1. Sunflower Dim Sum

Sunflower is not only one of our daughter’s favorite restaurants, but also one of our favorite places to take her. During their weekend ‘dim sum’, a wide variety of appetizer-sized dishes are wheeled around on carts and to your table soon after you’re seated – useful since hungry children (and adults) don’t have to wait long for sustinence. You can order dishes in the traditional manner if you know of something specific your child would like, but you can also indulge their curiosity by letting them point and choose dishes on the carts. Dim sum at Sunflower is noisy and bustling, with plenty for the kids to watch, and the din of other diners seems to drown out low-level fussiness. They’re also well equipped with slings and high chairs, and very accommodating with kid’s water cups. A fish tank outside the entrance is a great diversion for restless toddlers.

Good starting dishes for kids new to dim sum are: shu mai, shrimp dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf, and silver needle noodles. Also the char siu bao, which comes in both steamed and baked varieties. We recommend the pandan jello and coconut jello on the dessert cart!

Tip: there are some great kids books about dim sum that can introduce the concept and some dishes before you go. We love Dim Sum For Everyone by Grace Lin.

2. Japanese Marketplace

Japanese restaurants in Columbus always seem to be particularly welcoming to children, and at Japan Marketplace you can choose from 4 unique Japanese food establishments offering a wide variety of child-friendly takes on the cuisine. Our daughter loves sushi so we often find ourselves at Sushi Ten where she craves either futomaki or a California roll with miso soup. Sushi Ten also offers appreciated diversions for young ones with their large and well-stocked aquarium and quirky Japanese kids shows on the TV.

Tensuke Express offers a variety of noodle, rice, and snack dishes and also has an overtly kid friendly atmosphere. For a fuller menu and table service there is Akai Hana which provides a distinct kids menu. Belle’s Bread offers sweet and savory pastries, crepes, parfaits and soft serve as well as some prepared sandwiches.

Tips: Japanese Marketplace also houses Tensuke Market where you can buy frozen dumplings, noodles, snacks and other kid-friendly Japanese food to take home. At Belle’s the changing table is conveniently located outside of the restrooms.

3. Menya Ramen

Menya is a uniquely popular destination for our daughter, and in no small part due to their dining room play area replete with a toy stove and kitchen utensils.

Though Menya doesn’t have a dedicated kids menu, their regular menu has proven exceptionally popular with the toddlers in my and my friend’s lives. We steer clear of the traditional ramen dishes for our three year old and instead share dipping noodles with her and order from the sides, including: dumplings, edamame (soy beans), onigiri (rice balls). You can also ask for side orders from the ‘extra topping’ menu, which includes traditional ramen toppings including sliced pork, soft boiled eggs, and extra noodles. Menya features shaved ice, ice cream and almond tofu for dessert. They also eager to please the little ones by providing child sized plastic plates, cups and utensils.

Tip: ask for a table near the play area so when the kids get bored at the table they can play close by while you finish your ramen or chat.


Bethia is the co-founder of Columbus Food Adventures, a business offering guided food tours in Columbus. You can find her on Instagram at @cbusadventures to see what she’s been eating. She lives in Victorian Village with her husband Andy and 3 year old daughter Zoe. They are really passionate about ethnic food and write for Columbus Monthly and blog at alteatscolumbus.com.

Bethia is originally from the UK, has traveled extensively and has lived on this side of the Atlantic for 15 years. Among other things she has worked as a financial regulator, high school teacher and rowing coach. Bethia is one of the founders of both tacotruckscolumbus.com, and streeteatscolumbus.com and is a board member of Slow Food Columbus and Dine Originals Columbus.


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

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

1. Old Worthington Public Library

I grew up in Worthington and have many fond memories of spending lazy Saturday mornings searching for books. My dad would read the paper, and I could literally spend hours walking through the rows of books. Even though I would have preferred to check out stacks and stacks of books, my dad had a rule – I could only check out books up to my age. We keep this same rule with our little one. She just turned 5 so she can check out up to 5 books on each visit!
We have so many great libraries in Columbus, but there’s just something special about the Old Worthington branch. The children’s librarians are wonderful, and the story-time area (named Bookingham Forest) is just magical! Check out their events calendar for age-appropriate events.

2. The Hofbrauhaus Columbus

This is such a fun spot! The Hofbrauhaus is always lively and loud, so it’s a great place to take youngsters without worrying that they are going to disturb anyone. They have a great kids menu (and mom and dad will appreciate their awesome craft beer selections!). Make sure you start with one of their GIANT pretzels!

We love to go on Sunday afternoons when they have live entertainment. It’s so much fun to sing along to songs and my little one usually can’t help herself from dancing. On the 2nd Tuesday of each month, they host a Family Night where they have balloon animals, face-painting and kids EAT FREE!

3. Columbus Museum of Art

My family loves visiting the Columbus Museum of Art. They have a wonderful kids area with interactive art projects and play space. Every time we visit, they seem to have a new theme or fun thing to do. We love to visit on Sundays when they have FREE admission! You can also attend one of their “Young Child Studios” which is a hands-on workshop for kids aged 18 months to 5 years. Cost of this workshop is a reasonable $8!


Malini is a wife, mom, and fellow Buckeye. She owns an eCommerce business with her husband and spends most of her time thinking about her next adventure. Malini’s favorite thing about Columbus is the amazing food scene – from food trucks to pop-ups to fine dining, Columbus has it all. Basically, she is obsessed with all things food + travel. For inspiration on where or what to eat, and travel deals & discounts, follow her blog, (Lakes and Lattes), (FB page), or (Pinterest).

Want to share about your business and your 3 Favorites? Send me an email for more details!

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