Posts

10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

Spread the Love
  • 719
    Shares

These are 10 Holiday and Christmas events we make sure not to miss every year! If you’re looking to start some family-friendly Christmas traditions around Columbus, start here!

Every year I feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the Holiday events I really don’t want to miss. A few years ago, I sat down and wrote them out on a calendar. And THAT is pretty much where the idea for this blog began! 😉  Now we’ve come full circle and, though there are probably hundreds of holiday events going on around town, today I am sharing 10 things my family loves doing at Christmastime in Columbus!

Here are 10 of our favorite family-friendly Christmas Events in Columbus!

1. Village Lights

img_7574

Hands down, this is my favorite Columbus tradition of the entire year. Wow, did I really just say that? I did. I look forward to this probably more than anything else. I honestly don’t know how much my kids like it, but there are teddy bears and free cookies and hot chocolate, so I haven’t heard any complaints! The streets of German Village are lit with luminaries and restaurants, shops, and even a few private homes along the route are open late with special deals, free goodies and live music! Designated parking areas and shuttles are available.

When: December 2, 2018, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: throughout German Village

2. Wildlights

img_7633

You have to see Wildlights! The light shows are spectacular and the zoo becomes an (even more) magical place for about 6 weeks leading up to New Year’s Day! The first time we ever attempted to go to Wildlights, there was so much traffic that by the time we got there it was too late for my 1 yr old and we just drove right on by the entrance and back on home! Weekends are very busy, so if you can, I suggest trying a week day evening and arriving before 5:00 PM! If you’re a member, you can also avoid the crowds by catching the Member Preview on November 16th.

When:

November 16 , 2018 – January 6, 2019 (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) (Wildlights begins at 5:00 PM)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

img_7637

3. Gardens Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)

img_7824

Gardens Aglow offers special holiday decorations, performances and evening hours at Franklin Park Conservatory. Throughout the season live music and special events are scheduled and the Conservatory is decorated beautifully (that goes without saying)! There are lights throughout inside and outside and it’s breathtaking! From December 1-31 (except for the 24th and 25th) they are open until 9:00 PM. There will be special family-friendly activities happening all through the season!

When: November 17, 2018 – January 2, 2019: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, December: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

img_7808

4. Bicentenial Park

img_7680

Throughout the holiday season, the Scioto Mile is awash in light – Christmas lights, that is! What was previously The Grand Illumination will be replaced by WinterFest this year! Taking place on Saturday, December 2, 2017, it will include live performers such as Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, food trucks like Paddy Wagon and Pitabilities, as well as the opportunity to purchase soup from Milestone 229 in a handmade bowl as part of the Empty Bowls initiative. The park will be full of lights beginning November 17th!

When: Mid November 2018 through Early January 2019
Where: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

img_7679

5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows

img_7694

When you’re at Bicentennial Park, make plans to walk a few blocks to Columbus Commons where the park will be filled with holiday displays and lights! Just across the street (at the corner of High and Town) in the old Lazarus building, the windows will be filled with scenes from the 12 Days of Christmas!

When: Late November through early January from dusk until to 11:00 PM
Where: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

6. Huntington Holiday Train

Main Library is home to the Huntington Holiday Train and every year this amazing display is set up during the holiday season! This year, the library will begin set up of the train in mid November and is usually up through New Years!

When: Mid November, 2018 – Early January, 2019
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

img_7653

If you happen to have kids that like trains, there is a also holiday train set up at the Ohio History Center. Granted, it’s not quite as elaborate as the Huntington Train, but since we’re members at Ohio History Center, this one is still a no-brainer for me and two boys who love trains! We don’t miss it!

When: Late November – Early January
Where: 800 E. 17th. Ave., Columbus OH 43211

img_7655

8. Think Outside the Brick

img_7752

This exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art isn’t even holiday themed, but it arrives in November and says goodbye in March, so in my mind it’s associated with Christmas! If you have kids on Christmas break, this would be a great reason to take them to the Art Museum! The LEGO replica of Columbus is awesome and we love to visit at this time! There are usually blocks for free building in the Big Idea Gallery, too! Admission is free on Sundays and on Thursday nights you “pay what you want” from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM! See more pictures from our visit here!

When: November 10, 2018 – February 22, 2019
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

img_7764

9. Easton

img_7584

We always enjoy going to Easton at Christmastime – and not just to do our Christmas shopping! There is a life-sized nativity and a humongous Christmas tree (an all-new, 50 ft tree covered in 28, 680 RGB LED’s arrives in 2017!)! There are carriage rides, live music performances and the lighting ceremony takes place on Friday, November 17, 2017 beginning at 6:00 PM and includes a parade, a fireworks show, a visit from Santa and more!

img_7598

When: beginning November 17, 2017 (2018 dates TBD)
Where: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

10. State Auto Christmas Corner

Christmas Corner is something we love to do close to Christmas Eve! You can walk through a life-sized nativity following the Christmas story! The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM. There are choirs scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 23rd and free hot chocolate (donations accepted!) will be available on those evenings!  There are ample parking lots designated for viewing this display!

When: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 through Christmas Day when baby Jesus is placed in the manger. (2018 dates TBD)
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

Save this post on Pinterest!

I hope that whatever you chose to do, you have a special season with your family!

IMG_8735

Use the Share Buttons to share this post with your friends!

Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

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


Spread the Love
  • 719
    Shares

Columbus Christmas Staycation 2016

Spread the Love
  • 135
    Shares

When I was a kid, this was the best week of the year: the week between Christmas and New Year’s!

I picture the week being filled with long, restful days filled with playing with new toys, padding around in pajamas, eating cookies  and sleeping in every morning. We all know that’s just a page out of a Pottery Barn Kids magazine. Real life looks more like kids fighting over toys, crashing from too much sugar and NEVER sleeping in!

If you’re enjoying a Columbus staycation this week, you’re probably going to need to get out of the house! I’ve got some ideas for you! For each day, I’m featuring one main idea and a couple of other events going on that day. This will be my only post for the week! Don’t forget to check out the 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt to check off the list throughout the week!

MONDAY

Ohio History Center

Visit the museum (which is open for special holiday hours this week) to see the holiday train display, the Lustron home decorated for Christmas and the finalists in the LEGO Design Challenge!  The museum will be open every day through January 8th. Monday through Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Make sure to click here to read about all there is for kids to do at Ohio History Center!

More Events:

  • 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – The Bugman at Franklin Park Conservatory
  • 12:00 PM – 8:30 PM – $1 Roller Skating at Skate Zone 71
  • 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

TUESDAY

Recreations Outlet

By Tuesday, you may be reaching all-time-high levels of cabin fever and sugar overload! Take the kids to Recreations Outlet to let them run around and get out all that energy! The retail store doubles as a play area with lots of playground equipment, trampolines, basketball hoops, soccer goals and more! There’s plenty of room to run, very few chances to break anything, and the best part is that during their special Winter Break Playtime, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, it’s only $2 per child to play! See more pictures and info about our visit here.

More Events:

  • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Open Play at Easterseals
  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Open Play at SuperGames
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Open Play at SuperGames

WEDNESDAY

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

Take a road trip to the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum in Mansfield! Just one hour away from downtown Columbus, this hands-on children’s museum is great for children 12 and under! On Wednesday, The Little Ren Players, from Renaissance Theater will be there from 10:15 AM – 11:00 AM, acting out interactive fairy tales! My kids had a blast at the museum where there are cars to drive around, houses to play in, businesses to run, dinosaur bones to dig for, a water table and much more! See more about our visit here!

More Events:

THURSDAY

Blendon Woods Metro Park

All week long (Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM), the metro park is hosting their Winter Break Scavenger Hunt and Craft time! Stop in to the Nature Center to do a scavenger hunt and a winter-themed craft! The Nature Center at Blendon Woods has large viewing windows and some “please touch” bins full of all sorts of things kids can touch and feel! My kids were big fans of those boxes! 😉

More Events:

  • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Open Play at Easterseals
  • 10:00 AM – PreK Storytime at Scioto Audubon
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Play to Learn at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Franklinton Branch

FRIDAY

Grove City Library

Check out the new Grove City Library! There’s a great kids area with a puppet theater, Duplos, toddler toys and cozy reading areas! During Winter Break, the library is having Winter Break at the Movies! At 2:00 PM every day December 27-30, they will be showing a movie with popcorn and crafts! If 2:00 PM doesn’t work for you, all day, each day they will be offering Building with Boxes, where children of all ages are welcome to pop in and create!

More Events:

SATURDAY

Grandview Library

Grandview Library has a great play area for kids with a train table, doll house, Duplos, puzzles, and there’s always an area for drawing and coloring. On New Year’s Eve you can join them for Noon Year’s Eve where you can count down to Noon with your Pre-K kids!

Looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids? Here are some more options!

SUNDAY

Columbus Museum of Art

The museum is open on New Year’s Day and this is a great chance to see Think Outside the Brick! PLUS, admission to the Museum is FREE on Sundays! This LEGO exhibit is a temporary exhibit that will only be on display until February 26, 2016. If your kids love Legos, it’s a must see! There are also Legos available for free building and the Wonder Room is across the hall for more fun with kids!

Happy New Year’s Day! The lights are still on at Columbus Commons, State Auto Christmas Corner, Wildlights, the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival and Bicentennial Park! See my post: 10 of our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions for more info!

Thanks for following along with us this year! I truly hope you enjoy your week and have a Happy New Year!

IMG_8735

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

ICYMI: 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt


Spread the Love
  • 135
    Shares

MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

Spread the Love
  • 18
    Shares

My kids love trains! I have been to *almost* every place on this list! When Jaden was 3, he could have gone to Barnes and Noble every single day to play with Thomas. This list isn’t so much for your kids as it is for you! Of course your kids will love these places, but this list is to keep YOU from going insane from doing the same thing every day! 😉 A good number of these things are special events that are only available for a short time! So check the list and mark your calendars because many of those are coming up this month! You, too, can be a really useful engine! 😉

1. Paul Busse Model Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory, downtown Columbus

copy-of-img_7807

The train in the picture below is up nearly year round, but the one above makes a special appearance during the holidays! Check the link for info on Merry and Bright!

copy-of-img_0353

2. Grandview Library, Grandview Heights

copy-of-img_3707

One great library with a train table!

3. Huntington Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library, downtown Columbus

copy-of-img_8120

The Huntington Holiday Train arrives in mid-November and the Main Library hosts an Open House on November 30th, which will include hot chocolate and cookies, crafts and the lighting of Topiary Park! For even more trains, keep an eye on the Hilliard and Gahanna branches which will offer Polar Express programs this year!

4. Ohio Railway Museum, Worthington

The museum has been working on repairing the tracks so no train rides are available as of today, but they hope to be up and running for the holidays!

5. The Train Station, Clintonville

copy-of-img_0838

Model trains are for sale here and they also have a small play area for kids!

copy-of-img_0800

6. Moody Street Trains, Clintonville

copy-of-img_0762

Model trains are for sale here and there is a train table for playing. On Saturday, December 3, 2016, they will host the 2nd Annual National Lionel Train Day which will feature prizes, face painting and a visit from Santa!

copy-of-img_0766

7. Model Railroad Days at COSI, downtown Columbus

Model Railroad Days are November 16-20, 2016 this year and large model train sets are available for viewing and there are also trains to play with! During the weekend you can watch the movie Rocky Mountain Express in the theater. At Christmastime, The Polar Express is shown as well! (p.s. there is also a train to play with in the little kidspace at COSI!)

copy-of-img_7157

copy-of-img_7170

8. Barnes and Noble, various locations

img_8266

Barnes and Noble offers the hope that your children will play with trains while you quietly sip coffee and read a magazine.

9. Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard

copy-of-img_8923

The Hilliard Branch is a fun library for kids and has a Chuggington train table.

10. Von Maur, Polaris Fashion Place

In the children’s section of the store, there is a train that runs along the wall and a train table for playing!

11. Easton Express Railway, Easton Town Center

img_4062

This outdoor train track is always decorated for whatever season it happens to be and is a big hit with the kids!

12. BrickUniverse, Columbus Convention Center

img_3470

There are lots of working LEGO trains at this once-a-year LEGO Expo!

13. Delaware County Model Railroaders’ Open Houses, Delaware

Model railroads are set up on these special open-house dates!

14. Great Train Show at Ohio Expo Center

This expo is coming January 14-15, 2017 and includes model railroads, train dealers, hands-on exhibits and more!

15. Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville

We stumbled upon this train track behind the offices at Inniswood. I couldn’t find any info on if/when it is used, but if you know, please leave a comment below!

img_8622

16. Holiday Train Display at Ohio History Center

This special train is on exhibit during the holiday season! It will be on display November 28, 2016 – January 4, 2017.

copy-of-img_7653

copy-of-img_7655

There are other trains on the grounds of the Ohio History Center year round, including one inside the building that can be sat in, and the one seen below that sits outside.

copy-of-img_5512

17. Schiller Park in German Village

This is a great park with a train that can be played on!

copy-of-img_1001

18. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

This park is affectionately known as “the train park” – and aptly so!

copy-of-img_4047

19. Henceroth Park, Grove City

This park offers lots of vehicles to play on including a jeep, boat and this wooden train!

img_8312

20. North America Train Ride at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

For $1 per person, you can ride a train around the North American exhibit at the zoo!

img_7496

21. Christmas Time Open House at Central Ohio Model Railroad Club

For 4 weekends in December, the club puts on an open house featuring giant model railroad layouts, an interactive Thomas the Tank Engine display and more! Admission is free!

22. Open Garden Tour by the members of Columbus Garden Railway Society

On the second Sunday in September, members of the Columbus Garden Railway Society open their houses (gardens!) for a tour of their own Garden Railroads!

BEYOND COLUMBUS . . .

23. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, Mansfield

One of the larger exhibits at the Little Buckeye Museum is the model train display and nearby train tables for playing!

copy-of-img_2263

copy-of-img_2260

24. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, Bellevue

img_1534

There are tons of trains on display here, may of which you can climb aboard! This museum has indoor and outdoor components and the gift shop has a train table for playing!

25. Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc., Findlay

This organization offers train rides and holiday events (including the North Pole Express), a museum, gift shop and model train displays!

26. The Buckeye Express Diner, Bellville

img_9742

copy-of-img_9782

Eat dinner in an OSU-themed train car! There is a train playground outside too!

27. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison

This museum has a railroad car just for kids, model trains and a scavenger hunt just for kids!

 28. Lodi Station Outlets, Lodi

img_4927

This outlet mall is built with a train theme! You can purchase tickets to take a train ride around the property!

29. EnterTAINment Junction, West Chester

This venue offers displays, a museum, seasonal rides and a funhouse!

30. Day Out with Thomas, various locations

These special days only happen a few times a year at Ohio locations and include a 25-minute train ride, kids activities, live music and more!

31. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Northeast Ohio

The trains here run mainly on the weekends and there are several events scheduled throughout the year, including a Christmas Tree Adventure!

32. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville

This railway offers special trips throughout the year including a Santa Train on December 18, 2016. Tickets are limited.

33. LM & M Railroad, Lebanon, Lebanon

This historic railroad offers special events including the Day out with Thomas and North Pole Express!

34. Train-O-Rama, Marblehead

One of Ohio’s largest multi-gauge model railroad displays open to the public! Trains are for sale in the gift shop as well!

IMG_8735

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

ICYMI: 5 Moms of Nationwide Share their Favorite Places to take their Kids in Columbus


Spread the Love
  • 18
    Shares