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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

12. Fountain Plaza at Dorrian Green

50 South Belle St., Columbus, Ohio 43215

 

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Kids Eat Free or Cheap in Columbus and Central Ohio

 


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What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, April 26-28, 2019

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Looking for things to do in Columbus, Ohio this weekend? Here are over 45 family-friendly events happening in Columbus, and Central Ohio this weekend!

Family Friendly Events in Columbus, Ohio This Weekend:

FRIDAY

9:30 AM – Toddler Play Time – Art Explorers at Creative Art Bar Hilliard – this craft time includes 2 hours of sensory based activities and art projects! Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. RSVP required.

9:30 AM – Bring Your Kid to WorkOUT Day  with FIT4MOM Upper Arlington at Thompson Park – bring your family to work out for free then enjoy a playgroup afterwards!

9:30 AM – Bring your kid(s) to Work OUT Day! with FIT4MOM Columbus East – bring your kid to work out at this free class featuring healthy snacks afterward!

10:00 AM – Tots on the Trails at Blacklick Woods Metro Park – this is a toddler friendly, half-mile walk to discover nature!

10:00 AM – Columbus Blooms at Franklin Park Conservatory – The Columbus Blooms exhibit features all of the flowers and blooms of spring – over 125,000 of them – throughout the gardens and the Children’s Garden! This lasts through April 30, 2019.

10:30 AM – Paper Plate Flowers at Avery Park – join FIT4MOM for a spring workout and craft. The craft time takes place after the workout and is free.

12:00 PM – Kids Paint Free Day at Clay Cafe Clintonville – studio fees are waived for kids on Friday between 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM!

12:00 PM – Junior Library Guild Warehouse Sale at Junior Library Guild – hundreds of children’s and young adult books will be for sale for just $5/book. There will be food trucks on site as well!

5:00 PM – Family Friday Night at COSI – COSI stays open late (until 9:00 PM) on the last Friday of the year with reduced admission! 

5:30 PM – Veleros “Día del Niño” – Clippers Hispanic Night at Huntington Park – celebrate Dia del Niño with the Columbus Clippers and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce! There will be activities for the kids, music, food, dancing and more! Purchase your tickets for the baseball game online.

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SATURDAY

8:00 AM – West Side Park Ribbon Cutting & Arbor Day Celebration in Gahanna – this event includes a ribbon cutting of the new park in Gahanna – including the revealing of its name! There will also be a tree planting event and a light pancake breakfast!

8:30 AM – Easter Adventure Helicopter Egg Drop at The Farm at Walnut Creek – a helicopter will drop hundreds of eggs for an egg hunt for kids up through 11 years old. Exchanged the eggs for prizes! There will be a giant corn box and a scavenger hunt plus rabbits and bunnies! Regular admission applies. There will be several egg drops throughout the day.

9:00 AM – Waffle Bar! at Coffee Connections of Hilliard – this waffle bar includes unlimited toppings, coffee and juice for $5/person.

9:00 AM – Welcome Spring Open House at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center – celebrate Spring with activities for kids, bounce house, food trucks, plus all kinds of gardening and landscaping resources!

9:00 AM – Junior Library Guild Warehouse Sale at Junior Library Guild – hundreds of children’s and young adult books will be for sale for just $5/book. There will be food trucks on site as well!

9:30 AM – Creative Crew Competition at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus – head out to Easton (b to watch the finalists in the 2019 Creative Crew Competition compete in the next stage! Fro 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM, they will be creating masterpieces to win a spot on this year’s Creative Crew!

9:30 AM – Saturday Studio Art: Mixed Media Flowers at Art with Anna – kids ages 4 and up can make a mixed media project with a spring flower theme! $20/artist.

10:00 AM – HOOT 98: Books at Gateway Film Center – this family friendly film series features short films with a ‘book” theme, live music from The Shazzbots and activities in the lobby! Bring a canned good donation to the Open Shelter for free admission.

10:00 AM – Cowvin’s Kiddie Corral and Moovers & Shakers Open Weekends at Young’s Jersey Dairy – the Moovers and Shakers ride is open as well as Cowvin’s Kiddie Corral featuring a corn pit and slide, Tyke’s Tractors, a straw pit and bale climbing and more!

10:00 AM – Llama & Sheep Shearing Day at Stratford Ecological Center – watch sheep and llamas be sheared and learn how wool is produced. There will be hands on projects and an opportunity to explore the farm! Sock Hop Soda Shop will be on site, too! $5/person. Registration not required.

10:00 AM – Columbus Bookshop Crawl – Saturday is National Independent Bookstore Day and you can be entered to win a gift basket if you visit 3 out of 6 of the participating local bookstores this Saturday! There will be special deals at the various locations as well! Click the link to see all locations.

10:00 AM – Columbus Blooms at Franklin Park Conservatory – The Columbus Blooms exhibit features all of the flowers and blooms of spring – over 125,000 of them – throughout the gardens and the Children’s Garden! This lasts through April 30, 2019. Saturday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM there will be a cactus and succulent sale!

10:30 AM – 2019 Ohioana Book Festival at Columbus Metropolitan Library – meet with Ohio authors, attend book signings, panel discussions, author talks and more! For kids there will be story times, children’s book authors, crafts, balloon twisting, characters, a LEGO building area and more!

11:00 AM – Turkish Food Festival at Bethel International United Methodist Church – try out Turkish food, enjoy music and traditional dances performed by TASO Youth Club! Tickets available at the event. 

12:00 PM – Planet-Palooza at Blacklick Woods Metro Park – celebrate Earth Day with crafts, live animals, games and other activities! 

1:00 PM – 2019 Geocaching Kickoff at Sharon Woods Metro Park – this geocache hunt includes all 19 Metro Parks! Kick off the season with this event including a special prize for the first 100 teams!

1:15 PM – You & Your Family Matter, A Free Financial Event! at Fun Town Play and Learn Café – this is a free event where you can learn about important financial information for families. There will be pizza and drinks served. 

5:00 PM – Eggciting Parent’s Night Out @ Kreation’s Play Café at Dublin Toy Emporium – register your child for a fun eventing while you get a night out! There will be egg painting, an egg hunt, playtime, dinner and more!

8:00 PM – Off-Trail Froggy Hike at Glacier Ridge Metro Park – take a 1 mile hike to search for frogs and toads! Ages 5 and up.

SUNDAY

10:00 AM – Earth Day at The Crest Gastropub – celebrate Earth Day with a petting zoo, craft stations, face painting, plus activities for the adults like yoga, music, finger foods and more!

10:00 AM – Cowvin’s Kiddie Corral and Moovers & Shakers Open Weekends at Young’s Jersey Dairy – the Moovers and Shakers ride is open as well as Cowvin’s Kiddie Corral featuring a corn pit and slide, Tyke’s Tractors, a straw pit and bale climbing and more!

10:00 AM – Welcome Spring Open House at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center – celebrate Spring with activities for kids, bounce house, food trucks, plus all kinds of gardening and landscaping resources!

10:00 AM – Mother/Daughter Tower Tea Party with Rapunzel! at Our CupCakery – learn to decorate cookies, create a sparkly craft, take part in a Grande Coronation, sing dance and enjoy a story time with Rapunzel! There are two event times on Sunday. Cost is $50/couple, $20 for an additional attendee.

10:00 AM – Columbus Blooms at Franklin Park Conservatory – The Columbus Blooms exhibit features all of the flowers and blooms of spring – over 125,000 of them – throughout the gardens and the Children’s Garden! This lasts through April 30, 2019.

11:00 AM – Sunlight Market in the Gay Street District – the Sunlight Market includes special hours at local businesses, vendors, street musicians and more!

11:00 AM – Fairy Garden Sunday at Creative Art Bar Hilliard – create your own fairy garden at this family friendly event! Register online to receive 10% off!

11:00 AM – German Village Makers Market in German Village – this outdoor artisan market features local artists, designers, growers, food and more!

12:30 PM – Mother/Daughter Tower Tea Party with Rapunzel! at Our CupCakery – learn to decorate cookies, create a sparkly craft, take part in a Grande Coronation, sing dance and enjoy a story time with Rapunzel! There are two event times on Sunday. Cost is $50/couple, $20 for an additional attendee.

1:00 PM – Family Fun Day at The Escape Room USA – Columbus – Get $3 Off on Sunday Bookings with a special code – book online!

2:00 PM – Campfire & S’mores at Homestead Metro Park – make s’mores around the camp fire or bring your own food to cook over the fire!

2:00 PM – Go WILD! Kids Club: Soil Safari at Sharon Woods Metro Park – kids ages 5-12 can get dirty exploring what’s underground! Dress appropriately!

2:00 PM – For Kids: Amphibians Search at Highbanks Metro Park – kids ages 6-12 can search for amphibians along the Olentangy River. Bring your own nets and jars. Dress appropriately!

2:00 PM – Life on the Farm: Spring Opening at the Orange Johnson House – celebrate the Bicentennial of the Orange Johnson House with visits with fear animals, self-paced tours, log house building, hands on activities and birthday cake!

2:00 PM – Children’s Garden Day: Soup Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens – learn how to grow and make your own vegetable soup. This event also includes crafts and gardening activities for families!

4:00 PM – Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE: King for a Day! at Palace Theatre – watch Daniel Tiger be King for a Day live on stage!

6:00 PM – LUSH Polaris Presents Mom and Me! at LUSH Cosmetics Polaris Fashion Place – make a handmade bath bomb and Mother’s Day card while enjoying a cup of tea!

 

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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!*

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6 Best Outings to Keep Toddlers Busy in Columbus, Ohio

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When your baby becomes a toddler life becomes busy! Toddlers are full of energy and lots of fun! It’s also a lot of work keeping them entertained! Luckily for us, there are a ton of fun and affordable things to do with a toddler in Columbus!

indoor play area, columbus ohio

6 Fun Things to do with Toddlers in Columbus, Ohio:

1. Play Cafes for Toddlers in Columbus

Play Cafes are all the rage with the 5 and under crowd! Seriously, though, they’re a safe place to play and moms and dads can grab a coffee or a snack while their kids play. Firefly Play Cafe has been a favorite of ours for the wide variety of things to do for kids and a good seating area for adults.

things to do with toddlers in columbus, boy playing at Hoot Studio

Friends rave about Tree of Life Play Cafe and they have during toddler time with Get Air right next door! You may also want to check out HOOT Studio for the simple fact that for a slight upcharge, they will watch your kid for you while you get work done or have a coffee date in the adjoining cafe! Awesome!

If you’re looking for the best deal in town, I highly recommend a COSI membership! Yes, even for a toddler! The little kidspace inside COSI contains water play, an art studio, and a huge area for kids to engage in imaginative play: including a large play house, vegetable stand, doctor’s office, fire truck and so much more!

things to do with toddlers, play area at fun in the jungle

Looking for a free option? Don’t worry, there are tons of places for your toddlers to play inside for free in Columbus! From mall play areas to rec centers, check out Over 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus for more ideas!

Some of the indoor play areas for older kids (think Magic Mountain, Fun in the Jungle, etc.) also have smaller, separate areas for toddlers to play! You can see more ideas in 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus.

2. Story Times for Toddlers in Columbus

Story times are great things to do with toddlers in Columbus! Libraries were the first place I started taking my son when he was just a baby. We were big fans of the baby lap time at Grandview Library and the play area there is perfect for toddlers!

Baby lap times happen at almost of all of the libraries in town and can be a great way to get out of the house with a little one!

things to do with toddlers in Columbus, ohio, two boys at Ohio Wildlife Center

Beyond libraries, many local bookstores have regular story times, and story times are even popping up at Columbus restaurants like Duck Donuts and Chick-fil-A on Sawmill!

The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks is another great resource for story times for toddlers! We love the story time at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center (at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park) because afterwards you can play in their free indoor play area or go outside to play in the sandbox!

3. Music and Sensory Times for Toddlers in Columbus

Toddlers love music! There are several ways to introduce your toddler to music in Columbus! We Joy Sing does drop in classes at Coffee Connections of Hilliard, taking advantage of their great indoor play area for kids! Coffee Connections is definitely one of the most kid-friendly coffee shops in Columbus!

Miss Marlene Dance and Sing is a special song and dance time for toddlers that takes place at Abbey Theatre in Dublin! There’s usually a special visitor! When we were there, we were joined by Clifford the Big Red Dog!

things to do with toddlers, dublin ohio recreation center

The PBJ & Jazz concerts are kid-friendly ways to introduce your kids to music and toddlers are free to get up and dance around! During the winter, the concerts take place in the Lincoln Theater Complex and include a PB&J sandwich, juice and a cookie for $5/person. During the summer, the concerts are free and they happen in Topiary Park outside the Main Library and include a craft and story time!

4. Open Gyms for Toddlers in Columbus

What do toddlers really want? They want to run around in circles forever, really. Sometimes that’s all a kid needs! And if it turns into an extra long nap afterwards, than that’s a bonus!

A great way for toddlers in Columbus to get out all of that excess energy is at open gyms! 

What is an open gym? It’s exactly as it sounds. The gym is open and toddlers can run around and play until they fall over! Check out the Westerville Rec Center for their Pee Wee Play Gym, Dublin Community Recreation Center for their Preschool Open Gym and Prairie Township Rec Center and your local Columbus Recreation Center for specific open gym times!

We’ve attended a few of these and they usually include balls, ride on toys and other free play activities for toddlers!

5. Animal Adventures for Toddlers in Columbus

Animals seem to be another love that toddlers all have in common! We’ve found some really great ways to get up close to animals without having to bring one home and take it out to pee in the middle of the night! 😉

One place we’ve gone again and again is Aquarium Adventure! We loved the Sawmill location and recently visited the new location in Hilliard and it’s just as great! There is always something new to see and there is also a small pond area where kids can reach in and touch!

things to do with toddlers at Aquarium Adventure

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium offers a really fun activity for toddlers in Columbus called Little Explorers Base Camp. This takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year and features sensory activities set up at different stations. Kids can learn all about animals through hands on activities! My kids have LOVED this, even up to age 7!

two kids at little explorers base camp, columbus, zoo

Ohio Wildlife Center and Stratford Ecological Center are two great destinations for toddlers! Both locations offer regular story times and the option to explore the grounds, visiting the animals on site!  

Don’t discount a trip to the local pet store for a fun outing as well! My kids still love visiting the nearest pet store to view fish, gerbils, snakes, birds and to pet the cats and see dogs getting groomed!

More info:

6. Parks and Playgrounds for Toddlers in Columbus, Ohio

Last but certainly not least, how could we forget parks and playgrounds? From the time they can walk, toddlers need large areas to run and explore and nothing beats a great park for getting out all of that excess energy! 

However, as a parent, you soon find that not all parks are equal. Just because a toddler can walk does not mean they navigate most play structures!

playground for toddlers in columbus, ohio

Our favorite park when my kids were toddlers was one in our former neighborhood. It definitely helped that we lived two blocks from Funk-ee Town in Harrison West Park, but it is an exceptionally great area for little kids! 

I put together this list of 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers to share parks that have particularly toddler-friendly play areas! No more heart attacks for mama when you find your 1 year old suddenly standing over a 10 foot drop of or about to go down an incredibly high twisty slide! 


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