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51 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus

Thanksgiving week is here! Maybe you have family in town and/or a few days off of work and are looking for something to do this week? If there’s a chance you’ll need to walk off an extra piece of pie (or two) or get bickering family members out of the house….tuck this list away! And have a happy week of thankfulness!

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PLAY

1. Looking for more turkey? Watch the PBS movie, My Life as a Turkey, at Battelle Darby Metro Park on Friday at 11:00 PM.

2. Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

3. Participate in a Photo Scavenger Hunt on Friday at Blacklick Woods Metro Park! Use your digital camera or phone and get a prize for photographing all of the items on the list!

4. Olde Worthington Holiday Open House is on Sunday from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM and it includes horse drawn carriage rides, live music and a visit from Santa! The evening ends with the tree lighting ceremony on the Village Green!

5. Everyone who enters the Columbus Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day gets a pumpkin pie! There’s also a Kids Tot Trot 100 yard dash!

6. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train display at Main Library!

7. If you’re looking to partake of something other than the usual turkey and pumpkin pie, Columbus Food Adventures has several tours going on this weekend!

8. Wildlights is in full swing all weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium!

9. Need something for the kids to do on Wednesday? Check out the Harvest Party – School Break Program at Sunbury Urban Farm. It’s a drop off program where kids can participate in Thanksgiving activities! Must preregister!

10. Take the kids to SuperGames Winter Open Play! on Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Arrive early because the play space is first come, first served! Cost is $10 for the first child and $8 for each additional child.

11. Friday through Sunday you can take a Holiday Carriage Ride at Easton Town Center!

12. Blue Monkey Parties & Events is celebrating their 1 year anniversary with a 1 Year Anniversary Open Play event from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Sunday! $5/child.

13. Kick off Thanksgiving Eve with a family meal deal and a glow skate at Skate Zone 71! They’re also offering $.99 admission on Thanksgiving Day and 50% off admission on Black Friday!

14. On Sunday, kids and adults alike can participate in the Make & Take Metal Stamping Event at The Smithery from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Check the link for pricing options. No registration needed.

15. Another option for the kids that are out of school on Wednesday is the Open Swim at Worthington Pools!  $5 to enter.

16. Get out of the house for a CBus: Thanksgiving Eve Back to the Future Trivia Night on Wednesday at 16 Bit Bar + Arcade! Winner gets a ride in the Delorean – among other things!

17. Get your shopping done kid-free after dropping the kids at Parents Day Out at Worthington Pools on Friday from 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM!

18. When the Thanksgiving leftovers run out, head to Piada for Friendsgiving! Show the cashier that you follow Piada on Instagram and get a buy-one-get-one free entree from November 24-28!

19. Roller skate all week with these special deals at United Skates of America happening Wednesday through Sunday!

20. Visit the holiday lights at Columbus Commons from dusk to 11:00 PM each night and post a photo on Instagram using #CCHolidayLights or post the pic to their Facebook page using the hashtag to enter their photo contest. One winner each week wins a $25 gift card to Condado

21. Take a free tour at Anthony-Thomas Candy Company on Wednesday from from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM! (Regularly $2/person.)

22. See the amazing lanterns, watch cultural performances, shop and eat Chinese and traditional fair food at the Ohio Lantern Festival! Nightly from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

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MUSEUMS

23. Family Friday Night at COSI is this weekend – meaning they will stay open until 9:00 PM and admission is reduced!

24. Make a Gingerbread House Craft at Franklin Park Conservatory on Friday! This activity includes a hayride!

25. Friday, attend Thanksgiving Family Friday at Ohio History Center where you can visit with live animals such as an owl, wolf and snake and dissect an owl pellet! Also on Saturday and Sunday there are special activities like the Terrific Turkey Table and exploring Animal Bones!

26. Think Outside the Brick is now on display at Columbus Museum of Art! This LEGO set up shouldn’t be missed and would make a great weekend outing! Don’t forget the museum is free on Sundays!

27. On Saturday, head to Pizzuti Collection Family Day from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM for free admission, art inspired activity books, crafts and family tours!

THEATER

28. Mr. Scrooge starts on Friday at Columbus Children’s Theater! This 60 minute performance is recommended for ages 5 and up!

29. The Central Ohio Youth Ballet puts on Nutcracker this weekend only in Newark!

30. A Christmas Carol is playing this weekend only at Ohio Theatre!

31. Uptown Scrooge  is a unique walking tour performance taking place this weekend in Uptown Westerville! The production is 90 minutes and is suitable for ages 5 and up! Begins on Saturday!

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SHOPPING

32. Moonlight Madness and After Thanksgiving Sale takes place at Tanger Outlets Columbus! The first 200 shoppers receive a swag bag!

33. Christmas Trees will be on sale at the North Market on Saturday!

34. Shop Small Business Saturday at Never Grow Up Boutique in Grove City!

35. Small Business Saturday at Columbus Idea Foundry means a Maker Market from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM offering locally made goods like art, furniture, jewelry and more!

36. Get a Short North collectable tote while supplies last at Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Short North Arts District!

37. Visit the Small Business Saturday Market at Re:work Furnishings to shop for local goods from vendors like Plantropothy, Ridiculously Good Salsa, Pluma Jewelry and more! Pizza, beer and plenty of discounts will be available too!

38. More local shopping is available at Shop Local Saturday with the Marysville Art League!

39. Small Business Saturday in Powell is full of special offers!

40. Historic Dublin  is ready for the Holiday Shopping Weekend!

41. The Christmas Market at Canal Market District takes place on Friday and will feature music, food trucks, holiday treats, free family photos, the lighting of the Licking County Courthouse and a visit from Santa!

42. On Small Business Saturday in Downtown Lancaster, there are tons of special deals going on from free goodies and gifts, prizes, demonstrations and discounts!

43. At the Holiday Open House at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center on Saturday and Sunday, you can pick out your Christmas tree while you enjoy refreshments and a festive atmosphere!

44. While you pick your your Christmas tree at HTH Farm Market, you can help support and learn about a local dog rescue at the Stop the Suffering Bake Sale taking place on Sunday!

45. Shop for the trendiest kids clothing at the mrly popup shop at the Hart Room at Creekside Gahanna! There will be complimentary holiday treats and kids are welcome!

ROAD TRIP

If taking a road trip sounds like a fun way to spend your extra days off this week, here are some special events going on around Ohio!

46. Thanksgiving at the Zoo is FREE at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

47. Head to Newark for Holiday Homecoming 2017 at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology on Friday to learn about the heritage of the community! The event includes 3D ornament printing, a science show, glass blowing and more!

48. Santa will arrive at Brickopolis on Friday at the Cincinnati Museum Center with live music and a tree lighting! Visit Holiday Junction to see model trains, LEGO displays and a ride on train!

49. Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights! at Landoll’s Mohican Castle features over 100,000 lights, a Christmas tree, holiday music and visits from Santa! This is a free event! This event happens every night starting Friday!

50. Head to Mansfield for the Grinch Scavenger Hunt at Little Buckeye Children’s Museum! Find all the hidden Grinches and receive a prize! Then spend a fun day at the museum! Starts on Saturday!

51. The Mt. Vernon Christmas Parade and Walk is on Sunday and includes train and carousel rides, photos with Santa and shopping!

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ICYMI: 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

*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!*

 

10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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!

1. Village Lights

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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 3, 2017, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: throughout German Village

2. Wildlights

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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 17, 2017 – January 1, 2018 (Wildlights begins at 5:00 PM)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

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3. Gardens Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)

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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 11, 2017 – January 3, 2018: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, December: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

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4. Bicentenial Park

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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: November 17, 2017 through Early January 2018
Where: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

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5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows

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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 on November 17, 2017 and is usually up through New Years!

When: November 17, 2017 – Early January, 2017
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

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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

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8. Think Outside the Brick

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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, 2017 – March 2, 2018
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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9. Easton

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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!

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When: beginning November 17, 2017
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.
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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

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ICYMI: Columbus Tip Sheet: November 2017

MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

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

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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!

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2. Grandview Library, Grandview Heights

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One great library with a train table!

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

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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

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

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6. Moody Street Trains, Clintonville

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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!

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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!)

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8. Barnes and Noble, various locations

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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17. Schiller Park in German Village

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

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18. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

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

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19. Henceroth Park, Grove City

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

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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!

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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!

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24. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, Bellevue

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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

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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

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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!

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