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6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

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These 6 Columbus area parks are great for toddlers!

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes taking young kids to the park can be a frightening experience.  You look away for 5 seconds and all of a sudden your toddler is standing at the top of a climbing wall looking over a 10 foot drop off to the pavement below.  I like to take my toddlers to parks where they can roam freely without a lot of worry that their lack of impulse control (or balance) is going to send us on a trip to the ER.  But that’s just me.

I suppose I should make a disclaimer that most (all?) of the younger kids’ areas in the parks I’ve been to have signs saying the equipment is designed for ages 2-5.  I don’t know anyone who has waited until their kid was 2 to take them to a park, so that being said, I have chosen 6 parks with particularly toddler-friendly play areas:

1. Funk-ee-Town, Harrison Park, Harrison West

995 Harrison Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43201
No Restrooms Available

Harrison Park

Harrison Park

GREAT toddler area here!  No crazy heights, the small slide is enclosed at the top, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play – on the ground!  My kids love the snack shack and the house with the blue roof has drums and a xylophone to play on inside, as well as a steering wheel. While you’re in the area, check out some of these kid-friendly options in the Short North!

2.  Jeffrey Mansion and Park, Bexley

165 N. Parkview Ave, Bexley, OH 43209
Seasonal Restrooms Available

Jeffrey Mansion Park, Bexley

Jefferey Mansion Park, Bexley, Ohio

The toddler area here is fenced in, making it a perfect little play area just for the younger crowd!  There is tunnel to crawl through, a dinosaur slide and a play house.  As a bonus, the grounds here are beautiful and if you follow the path into the woods behind the park, you will encounter a boardwalk along Alum Creek! If you’re in Bexley, add a stop at Kittie’s or Gramercy Books to complete the morning!

3.  Schiller Park, German Village

1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206
Restrooms Available

Train at Schiller Park, German Village

Slide at Schiller Park, German Village

This side of the playground at Schiller park is very toddler friendly.  Kids love these trains, and the play area behind it, seen in the picture, is specifically made for the toddler set.  It’s completely closed in, there’s a ramp and the slides are so slow my 4 year old got stuck.  😉 There are several baby/toddler swings here as well. Nearby, check out Winans for great coffee and chocolate!

4. Pingree Park, Worthington

374 Pingree Dr., Worthington, OH 43085
No Restrooms Available

Pingree Park, Worthington, OH

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

My kids had a lot of fun at this park!  There’s a toddler play set, infant/toddler swings and a small path around the park that does not cross a road or parking lot.  There are a couple of picnic tables and benches here that are convenient for snacking or eating a packed lunch.

Both of my kids, including my toddler, actually really had fun on the tunnel slide, though it specifically says for ages 5 and up.  They specifically enjoyed yelling “Paw Patrol!” from the top and then pretending to slide down into their respective vehicles.  So yes, I did basically yell out jobs for them for at least 20 minutes: “Marshall, I need you and your firetruck to go rescue a kitty from a tree . . .” and so on . . . It was fun. (Sarcasm font.)

5.  Discovery Frontier, Fryer Park, Grove City

3899 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Restrooms Available

space themed park in Grove City, Ohio

Fryer Park, Grove City, Ohio

This park is toddler friendly because it is more about space than height.  And yes, I mean that literally and figuratively.  This space-themed park has a lot of area to run, hills to climb and also sand to play in.  My kids love running through the tunnel and up the hill that is the moon. While you’re in Grove City, check out their awesome library!

There are several toddler-sized structures to play on.  It’s hard to say exactly what space-themed things they are supposed to be, but none of them are very high off the ground, and that’s what matters.  At this park, there is also a pond with a path to walk. There are several toddler swings here and they are under umbrella cover for shade – another bonus!

6. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081
Restrooms Available

Train Park, Westerville Ohio

Alum Creek Park North

Most of this park is geared toward older kids, but there are two things in particular make this park toddler-friendly and worth a visit.  One is the train, which is mainly at ground level with a tunnel to crawl through, benches to sit on inside and a small slide.  The second thing is the large sand pit.  I said it was toddler friendly, I didn’t promise your kids would stay clean.  😉 This park was one stop during our Playdate in Uptown Westerville – make sure to read to find out where we got donuts before hand! 😉

I have personally tried all of these parks with a toddler and lived to see another day!  I hope you and your little ones enjoy exploring a new park!  If you’re planning to pick up coffee on the way to the park, I featured two of these parks in my post Coffee+Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop!

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ICYMI: 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus

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What Should We Do This Weekend? Sept 30-Oct 2, 2016

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If last weekend was the weekend of the fall festival, then this weekend officially begins pumpkin season! I got so excited just typing up this list! I love these fall activities and wish we could visit every pumpkin farm! So many hay rides, so little time! 😉 Happy Weekend!

1. Westgate Farmer’s Market

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: West Gate Masonic Lodge, 2925 West Broad Street, Columbus OH 43024

This Saturday’s market will feature one-day-only, fun flavors from Impossible Jams and Alice’s Aebelskabel’s and Pitabilities are the food trucks that will be featured! Also, Scott Brooks and his Trio of One will provide live music!

2. Ghost Story Writing Workshop at Whetstone Library

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 3909 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-645-2275

This event is specifically for kids in grades 4-6! The Thurber House will be hosting this writing workshop encouraging young writers to write spooky tales! They will also be telling the Thurber ghost story and helping young writers hone their craft! You must register by THURSDAY (9/29/16)!

3. Archaeology Day at Ohio History Center

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH 43211
Phone: 800-686-6124

This day is host to several educational sessions and events about archaeology, history, and art as well as hands on activities like creating a mural, making replicas of American Indian pottery, hands-on archaeology Fascination Stations, spear throwing demonstrations and more! See what else there is to do at the Ohio History Center here!

4. Hands on Heritage at Rocky River Nature Center

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 24000 Valley Pkwy., North Olmsted, OH 44070
Phone: 440-734-6660

If you’re looking for a road trip this weekend, the Cleveland Metroparks is hosting this free festival celebrating traditional handicrafts! Free activities include rug braiding, butter churning, cider pressing, pioneer toys, candle making and more! There will be a live folk music performance and other activities are scheduled throughout the day, see the website for more details!

5. Haunted Greenhouse Maze at deMonye’s Greenhouse, Inc.

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 2500 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: 614-252-6046

This is a kid-friendly haunted maze recommended for ages 3-14 and is actually open the whole month of October! Kids get to pick a pumpkin, plant a pansy and make a witch’s hand with popcorn! Cost is $8 per child. See more details here or click on the link under the event on this page to see pictures of what to expect!

6. Fall Festival at Freeman’s Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 6142 Lewis Center Rd., Galena, OH 43021
Phone: 740-548-7866

This weekend, and all the weekends in October, there will be hayrides, kettle corn, campfire foods, scarecrow making, a petting zoo and apple butter making! Admission is free, but there is a charge for some activities.

7. Fall Festival at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
Location: 2920 St. Rt. 203, Radnor, Ohio 43066
Phone: 740-595.3207

There is a really long list of activities going on throughout all of the weekends in October at this pumpkin farm in Delaware County! There will also be food, free hayrides from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM and pumpkin picking! Admission is free but some activities have a cost. An all day activity band is $9.

8. Fall Festival at Young’s Jersey Dairy

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Phone: 937-325-0629

This year is the 40th Annual Fall Festival! Enjoy activities like making pumpkin holes and caramel apples, cow milking demonstrations, Cowvin’s Corny Maze and more!

9. Pumpkin Festival at the MAiZE at Little Darby Creek

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 12:00 PM – Movie begins at 8:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 8657 Axehandle Rd., Milford Center, OH 43045

Besides the corn maze, this weekend there will be pony rides, balloon sculptures, face painting and the movie It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be shown on Saturday night!

10. Giant Pumpkin Carving at Leeds Farm

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 8738 Marysville Rd., Ostrander, OH 43061
Phone: 740-666-2020

Leeds Farm offers fall fun every weekend throughout October, but this Sunday only there is a giant pumpkin carving! Visit the farm all weekend to see animals, pick pumpkins, zip line, take a hayride, go down mountain slides, ride pedal tractors and so much more!

11. Canta Brasil at the Harrison West Jazz Stage

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: 575 W 1st Ave, Columbus, OH 43201

This is the final jazz concert of the season featuring a Brazilian jazz band! The Aromaku food truck will be onsite as well as J-Pops popsicles! This concert takes place in Harrison West Park where the playground is great for toddlers!

12. Old Time Harvest Day at Century Village

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Fryer Park, 4185 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Phone: 614-277-3050

Take part in mid-19th-century traditions like churning butter, leather tooling, rope weaving and blacksmithing! Visit the one-room schoolhouse, log cabin, general store and more on the property! There will also be actors in costume, demonstrating traditional music and cooking! This is a free event (also at another great park for toddlers)!

*Looking for more fall fun? You may want to check out these posts from Columbus Moms Blog: Family-Friendly Fall Festivals in Columbus, Columbus U-Pick Apple Orchards and Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches!

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ICYMI: Scenes from the New Albany Classic

*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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What Should We Do This Weekend? June 17-19, 2016

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Every week I want to start this post with, “there’s so much going on this weekend” – but I could pretty much just copy and paste that sentence for the rest of the summer! This weekend is Father’s Day and Monday is the official first day of summer so there’s lots to celebrate! I hope you enjoy celebrating the fathers and father figures in your life! Thanks, dads, for all you do!

1. Powell Family Time at the Powell Branch of Delaware County Library

When: Friday, June 17, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 460 South Liberty St., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-888-9160

Recommended for ages 6 and under, this story time includes flannel board stories, songs and activities to help kids develop reading skills in an interactive way!

2. KidX Club at Polaris Mall

When: Friday, June 17, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: the fountain at Polaris Lifestyle Center (outside), 1500 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-456-0180

KidX Club is happening every Friday at Polaris Mall through August 12, 2016. Each week has a theme and this week is Summer Read Out! There will be a story time with some of your kids’ favorite characters. Bring a book to donate and you will receive a free treat!

3. COSI Summer Movie Series

When: Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, 2016
Time: see link for details
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

This weekend is a double feature with Jurassic Park and Godzilla 3D! On Friday before the film, there will be a Jurassic Park trivia time and Saturday’s Science on the Screen will feature a special talk from Dale Gnidovec, a Paleontologist, and animal expert, Harry Peachey, before the movie.

4. Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

When: Friday-Sunday, June 17-19, 2016
Time: Hours vary each day. See link for details.
Location: 117 Mill St. in Gahanna OH 43230
Phone: 614-418-9114

The weekend is full of music and art at Creekside! Kids 12 and under are free and can participate in crafts, face painting, rides, playing musical instruments and much more! Check out the link for the Family Fun Zone for more specific information for kids. The festival is offering free admission on Sunday between the hours of 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM for each person who brings a non-expired, non-perishable food item to donate.

5. Family Fishing Day at Fryer Park

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Rotary Lake, 3899 Orders Rd, Grove City, Ohio 43123
Phone: 614-277-3050

Bring the kids for a morning of fishing at Fryer Park! Bait is provided along with a limited amount of fishing equipment for children. Catch and release, no license required!

6. Family Fun on the Farm at Gallant Farm

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 2150 Buttermilk Hill Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-524-8600, ext. 6

All ages are welcome to learn about raising chickens, canning, planting and growing food, container gardening and more! There are children’s activities planned as well!

7. Columbus Children’s Festival at Fred Beekman Park

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 2200 Carmack Rd., Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: 877-543-7801

This free children’s festival put on by KidsLinked.com offers sports tournaments, a dance competition, a fun zone, bounce park, food trucks, face painting, giveaways and much more! There is also a 5K run/walk. Parking is $5 and some activities may have a charge.

8. T-Shirt Art at Blendon Woods

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM
Location: 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111

Bring a white t-shirt to decorate at this event for all ages!

9. Big Machines at COSI

When: Saturday, June 18 – Sunday, June 26, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

Explore how big machines like bulldozers and dump trucks work to do their jobs! Kids can climb on board and learn about the science of construction! This special outdoor exhibit goes on for 9 days!

10. Storybook Village at Ohio Village

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH 43211
Phone: 614-297-2300

Your kids can visit with their favorite book and television characters like Curious George, Peg + Cat, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Daniel Tiger and more! There are lots of fun activities going on that day like a story time and petting zoo! Members are able to get in early at 9:00 AM. See the link for more details. (Also this weekend, the Ohio Village Muffins play “base ball” in Ohio  Village!)

11. Free Admission for Dads at the Columbus Zoo

When: Sunday, June 19, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

Free admission to the Columbus Zoo for dads or granddads with the paid admission of a child or grandchild all day, Father’s Day!

*Don’t forget, you can also check out my Friday, Saturday and Sunday pages for more weekend events!

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Make sure to follow What Should We Do Today? on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram and never miss a post!

ICYMI: 5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus

*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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