Scenes from the New Albany Classic

Sunday was the New Albany Classic! It was our first time attending the event! A couple of months ago, I attended a blogger event hosted at the Wexner residence where I learned what to expect at the Classic, what goes on behind the scenes to make it happen and about the heart of the event: raising money for The Center for Family Safety and Healing! I had known very little about the event before that day, but after what I learned, I knew I wasn’t going to miss it! In full disclosure, my family received free tickets to attend this event, however any opinions stated here are my own!


Today what I’m going to share with you will be mainly pictures. We really had a great day! The event seemed well attended (an estimated 15,000 people), but because of how it was set up, it didn’t feel over-crowded! The lines for things were not very long – probably because there were so many different things to do! I feel like we only saw about half of the options of things to do, but our day included seeing screen-used movie props, the petting zoo, the CATCO stage, Graeter’s Ice Cream, and, of course, watching the Grand Prix!


First off, hand down, my kids’ most favorite part of the day was the Magic of Hollywood tent! They begged to go through it twice (so I have a lot of pictures!) and my 5 year old recreated it with Legos the next day! I was kind of afraid it would give them nightmares, but no one woke up at night, so, so far so good! These were all authentic screen-used props from well known movies! Here were some of our favorites:











We didn’t arrive in time for the concert, but we were able to see a good portion of the Grand Prix. If you are like me and had no idea what to expect, this is what happened: 25 riders and their horses completed jumps throughout the course. Those who completed the course without any falls – knocking over the hurdles – compete against each other in the jump off. The jump off was a timed event, to see who could compete the course the fastest. This year’s winner of the New Albany Classic was McLain Ward, riding Tina La Boheme. This was his 4th win at the Classic. You may recognize his name because he won a silver medal in the Olympics in Rio this year!







McClain receiving his award, $125,000, the Authentic Cup and a 2 year lease on a Mercedes SUV!

This year, the event raised $1.7 million dollars for The Center for Family Safety and Healing, an organization that is working to fight all aspects of family violence, including a campaign to address technology and it’s role in dating violence among teens.

Here is a glimpse of the rest of our day:





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If a day like this sounds like fun, mark your calendars for next year as the Classic celebrates its 20th Anniversary! I know plans are already in the works for this milestone!


Thanks so much to the New Albany Classic team for providing this beautiful day full of fun for families, all while raising money to help families in need in our own community!


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ICYMI: 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

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20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

20+ Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus, Ohio to help you and your kids avoid cabin fever!

I hate to say it, but those days are coming . . . you know what I’m talking about: cold . . . winter . . . snow. 🙁 Luckily for us, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to play in Columbus, Ohio, and when it comes to playing inside, there are a lot of FREE options! This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

If you need to pass a morning inside but you also need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, keep this list handy! You may also want to check out The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes  or 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus for more indoor ideas!

1. Blendon Woods Metro Park


4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081, 614-895-6221

April to September: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
October to March: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Inside the Nature Center there are puzzles, activities and books for kids. See more about what to do at the Nature Center in Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

2. Westerville Community Center


350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43082, 614-901-6500

Monday – Friday: 5:45 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: Westerville Community Center also offers indoor programing during the fall and winter months for young children. See more details here.

3. Grange Insurance Audubon Center


505 W. Whittier St., Columbus OH 43215, 614-545-5475

(These are Summer hours, check the website or call to double check!)
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Tips: The play area also includes a “cave” to play in and there are also weekly story times for the preschool age! See more to do at the Audubon Center in 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon. Also see: 2 MORE Great Metro Park Natures Centers for Columbus Kids!

4. Scoops and Chutes Playground at Graeter’s Ice Cream


2555 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220, 614-442-7622

(These hours may be seasonal, double check the website or call before visiting!)
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Tips: Socks are required to play inside and can be bought for $1 if you forget! I included this play area in one of my Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week!

Polaris Fashion Place:

1500 Polaris Parkway , Columbus, OH 43240, 614-846-1500

Monday – Thursday 10:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

This mall is home to a few different options for indoor play:

5. Zoo Play Area


Tips: Shoes must be removed to play. The area has recently been redone and only has one exit/entrance which is great for keeping an eye on wandering toddlers!

6. Food Court Play Area


Tips: In the Food Court, there are several vehicles kids can play on or ride for $.75. The area is mostly fenced in and has a large seating area around it so you can eat or have a seat while the kids play.

7. Pottery Barn Kids


Tips: PBK usually has toys out for play on both sides of the store (boys and girls) and my kids love them all! There is a story time on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM!

8. Battelle Darby Nature Center


1775 Darby Creek Dr Galloway, OH 43119, 614-878-7106

April to May: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
June to August: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
September to October: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
November to March: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Tips: The nature center has a living stream as well as a small kids’ area to play in.  There are preschool programs inside the center on Tuesdays! See 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids.

9. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries


Main Library: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Hours vary by library and can be found here.

Tips: So many of the branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library have great areas for indoor play! I shared my favorites here and here! Of course, many other area libraries have areas for play too! Check out the locations for Worthington, Westerville, Delaware County, Grove City, and Upper Arlington! You may also want to check out: 2 Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids and 2 MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids!

10. Grandview Heights Public Library


1685 W. 1st Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: I included Grandview’s library separately because they have a really good area for toddlers and preschoolers to play that includes a train table and Duplos! They also have a lot of story times! See the schedule here.

11. Whole Foods, Dublin


3670 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., ColumbusOH 43235, 614-760-5556
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Tips: The play area is close to the restrooms and surrounded by tables that are convenient for watching your kids play!

12. Whole Foods, Upper Arlington


1555 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Tips: This small play area is near the front and has books, play food, cars and more! Lots of seating nearby.

13. United Art and Education


3622 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-527-8508

Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: First of all, this is a GREAT store for fun and educational kid products! There is a little play area tucked into the front corner of the store with a surprising amount of things to do! Blocks, play groceries, magnets, Calico Critters, and more!

14. Barnes and Noble


See the Columbus locations here!

Tips: Barnes and Noble is a hit for kids who love train tables and there are always lots of books to read! There are also story times on Saturdays!

15. The Naz Playplace


4770 Hoover Rd, Grove City, OH 43123, 614-305-2034

Sun: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMam – 2pm
Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed and socks worn for play. Socks can be purchased for $1. There is a story time with crafts on Tuesday mornings! You can also register online before your first visit to save time! Outside the play area there is a cafe where you can purchase food (coffee is only $1!) and lots of seating!

16. Central Park at Westerville Christian Church


471 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-891-6842


Open Play Hours September 21, 2017 – May 2018:
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM – 11:25 AM
Saturdays 10:00 AM – 11:30AM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play. There is also a rock climbing area here! The play area follows all Westerville City Schools closing and delays.

17. The Shops at Worthington Place


7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play. If it’s warm enough, there is also an outdoor play area just outside the exit by the indoor play area!

18. The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Dublin, OH 43016, 614-717-9300

Monday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: This play area has a STEAM theme: Science, Technology, Arts and Music. Lots of hands-on, fine motor activity here! My kids particularly loved the Magna Tiles! (There is also an area with coin-operated vehicles in the food court area!)

19. Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art


480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215, 614-221-6801

Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: This is a area for art and exploration on the bottom floor of the Art Museum. The Columbus Museum of Art (and this kids’ area) is free on Sundays only!

20. LEGO Store at Easton Town Center


4004 Gramercy St., Columbus OH 43219, 614-342-2710

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Tips: Most of the time there is a table set up for building with LEGOs and/or Duplos inside the store!

**I’ve updated this list to include more free play areas as we find them! Yay!

21. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

Monday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Tips: Coffee Connections is a coffee shop in Hilliard with a community space and play area in the back building. The play area is fun for preschoolers and younger and is totally free! (Though, you should probably buy a cup of coffee. 😉 ) See more pictures here.

I hope this list gets you through the winter! I know we will be making use of many of these places as the weather gets cold and I get cabin fever! 🙂


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ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio

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Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week


I’ve been working on this idea in my head for a while, keeping a mental list just for personal use, really. Once it started to come together, I decided I’d share it as a blog post because maybe it would help someone else who is staring into space during nap time, wondering what to have for dinner! Here we are, a family of four, and these kids actually eat real food now – so if we go to a restaurant, it’s usually not what I would call “cheap”. Plus, taking small kids to a restaurant is always a gamble – you never know how they’re going to act! Eric and I find when we do go out to eat, we scarf our food down so fast now, hoping to finish before any toddler meltdowns! Sometimes it feels hardly worth it to eat out.

BUT there are those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking! Just naturally, I was starting to categorize bargain meals by days of the week so that if I had “one of those days” I could default to an eating out option that wasn’t going to cost us a fortune. That’s how this post began . . . but, then I decided to include a fun (and cheap) activity for each night as well! I hope you bookmark this one and pull it up the next time the witching hour hits!



Food: One of my all time favorites is BOGO tacos al pastor at Los Gauchos Taqueria. It’s so good even Food Network named them one of the Top 5 Tacos in America! The tacos are $1.50 each and let me just do the math for you, on Mondays, you can get two for $1.50! There are two sit-down restaurants, one at 5221 Godown Rd. and one at 1376 Cherry Bottom Rd. (For the most authentic experience, try their taco truck at 461 Commerce Sq., off of Sullivant Ave.) This special starts at 4:00 PM at the Godown Rd. location and is good all day at Cherry Bottom Rd. The taco truck is open from 4:00 PM – 12:00 PM. It can get busy (because this is an amazing deal on an amazing taco!) so I would suggest arriving on the earlier or later side of meal times.

Activity: For a Monday night out, I suggest tacos al pastor at the Godown Rd. location and then rounding out the evening with ice cream at Graeters on Bethel Rd. and time to play at their indoor play area!

Los Gauchos Taqueria, 5221 Godown Rd, Columbus, OH, 43235,  614-538-0211

Graeter’s Ice Cream, 2555 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220, 614-422-7622



Food and Activity: Movie Night happens on Tuesdays at Firefly American Bistro! Here your dinner and evening activity are all rolled into one! The restaurant has a side room with tables where from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM they show a kids movie while you eat your dinner. Kids are free to get up and move around and can sit on the floor at the front to watch the movie. Free popcorn is served and kids meals are 1/2 price that night! For the adults, flatbread pizzas and sandwiches range from $10-$13, though no one’s saying you can’t order steak since, hopefully, your kids will be occupied enough for you to slow down and enjoy your meal (fingers crossed)! 😉


Firefly American Bistro, 5525 New Albany Rd. West, New Albany, OH 43054, 614-741-7151


Food: Burgers are $4 at Brazenhead Irish Pub on Wednesdays and that includes one side! I’ve only been to the one in Grandview, but they have a great patio, so take advantage of that while we still have some warm nights ahead! (They also have $4 fish sandwiches on Tuesdays!)

Activity: After dinner, head over to Grandview Library for family story time from 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM (starts 9/7/16). Grandview Library has a fun area for the kids to play in that includes a train table, a doll house and Duplo blocks!


Brazenhead Irish Pub, 1027 W. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43212, 614-737-3738 or 56 N. High St., Dublin, OH 43017, 614-792-3738

Grandview Library, 1685 W 1st Ave, Columbus, OH 43212, 614-486-2951


Food: This one isn’t necessarily JUST for Thursday nights! I have been known to become the biggest sports fan when Papa Johns gives 50% off large pizzas the day after the Columbus Crew SC wins or the Columbus Blue Jackets score two goals! 😉 If I really don’t feel like cooking, I check the schedule, crossing my fingers for a win the day before. It’s true. Specifically for Thursday, the Crew plays on the following Wednesdays: 8/24/16 (that’s this week, BTW) and 9/28/16, which means if they win those games, Thursday’s large pizza will be half off! (See their full schedule here.) This deal is only good on online orders and is good for 50% off the regular price of any large pizza. You must use the code “WIN.” (Stay tuned this winter when Papa Johns gives 50% off all large pizzas when the Blue Jackets score 2 goals! Code is JACKETS50.)

Activity: We live near the Papa John’s in Grandview, so when we want to get out of the house, we pick up a pizza and take it to Wyman Woods Park! Eating pizza in the park is fun, but once it gets cold, consider following pizza night up with a trip to the Columbus Museum of Art. The museum stays open until 9:00 PM on Thursday nights and the price is “pay what you want” from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM! The kids can hang out in the Wonder Room, doing puzzles and creating their own masterpieces with the many materials available in the room!


Papa Johns – find your nearest location here.

Columbus Museum of Art, 480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-221-6801



Food and Activity: Okay, tuck this one away because this deal is actually good EVERY night! But we commonly do it on Fridays. I think Friday night is pizza night for like 95% of families in America, so here’s the deal: Large Pizzas with two toppings are just $7.99 after 4:00 PM at the Giant Eagle Market District in Grandview Yard. We make a whole night of this by using the Little Shoppers Treat Card to get an apple and/or slice of cheese while the kids wait for the pizza to be ready and then after we eat the pizza in the seating area or on the patio, we use the same card to get a cookie for dessert. After dinner, we usually have to pick up a few grocery items while the kids eat their cookies, riding around in a car cart. And that my friend, is the new Friday night! 😉


Grandview Yard Market District, 840 W 3rd Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212, 614-294-2186



Food: Another favorite right here: the pancake breakfast at the Hills Market! This is a real deal! From 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM you can get three pancakes, sausage links, plus Crimson Cup coffee for $5! (Hills Market, if you’re reading PLEASE bring this back to the downtown location!!) You can add chocolate chips or blueberries for no charge and juice is available for purchase for the kids. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are available for $5. (This $5 pancake brunch also happens on Sundays from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM!)

Activity: After breakfast, head down Hard Rd. to the Northwest Library to visit Story Garden, where many of your kid’s favorite stories are depicted by 3-D characters on the walls of the children’s department at this Worthington Libraries branch. The library has programs for kids on the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of each month. Check out their calendar of programs here.


The Hills Market Worthington, 7860 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43235, 614-846-3220.

Northwest Library, Northwest Library, 2280 Hard Road, Columbus, OH 43235, 614-807-2626


Food: Kids eat free every Sunday at The Crest Gastropub! On the 2nd Sunday of the month, they host Kids Day with a special theme complete with crafts and/or activities. This is the only place on the list I haven’t been to yet, but it has been on my mental list for some time! Past activity times have included learning about monarchs, planting seeds and making crafts with recycled craft materials!

Activity: If it doesn’t happen to be the 2nd Sunday and you’re looking for something to do afterward, you’re not far from Whetstone Park of Roses or this playground within Whetstone Park!


The Crest Gastropub, 2855 Indianola Ave., Columbus, OH 43202, 614-261-7128

Whestone Park, 3923 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214

There! Now I have my mental list all typed up and easily accessible for when I don’t feel like making dinner! Tell me, what’s on your mental list for a cheap night out with the kids?


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ICYMI: Exploring Downtown Powell with Kids

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