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Over 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

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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

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

Hours:
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

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

Hours:
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

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

Hours:
(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

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

Hours:
(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

Hours:
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 at Polaris Fashion Place

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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 at Polaris Fashion Place

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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 at Polaris Fashion Place

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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

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

Hours:
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

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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

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

Hours:
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

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3670 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., ColumbusOH 43235, 614-760-5556
Hours:
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

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

Hours:
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. EDITED July 11, 2018: A lot of the toys  have been removed from this area recently. There is still a kid-sized table but I don’t know if the toys will be returning! 🙁

13. United Art and Education

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

Hours:
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

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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

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

Hours:
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

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

Hours:

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

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7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Hours:
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

Hours:
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

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

Hours:
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

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

Hours:
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!

21. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-664-3993

Hours:
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.

22. Play Cafe at New Life Church, Gahanna Campus

indoor play area at New Life Gahanna Church

3690 N. Styler Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230, 614-475-8500

Hours:
Every Wednesday, Friday and First Saturday of the month: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Tips: This is a fun little area for kids ages 6 and under with toys to play with and coffee for the adults!

23. Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

1124 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206

Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Tips: This is a coffee shop/book store with a small area with a kids focus! If you’re looking to have a coffee date while your kids play, this is a great spot! This is a vegan cafe serving, coffee, meals, drinks and special offerings throughout the week.

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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The Little Green House

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{Updated: The Little Green House is closed as of 10/21/17}

The Little Green House is my go to indoor play area. Probably because it’s the closest to me, but also because it’s the cheapest (to my knowledge – but PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong!). Children over 6 months are $5 a piece. The play area is shoe-free and there is a nice area to hang coats and cubbies for shoes. If it’s summer, remember to pack a pair of socks! There is a good selection of healthy snacks to purchase for kids and parents alike. Coffee is $1.60/cup with FREE REFILLS!

Another reason I love the Little Green House is because you can sit in one place and see the whole play area. In my mind, this is a major plus, especially if you have more than one kid with you! This also makes it a great place for meeting a friend because it’s small enough that you can sit together and talk, while still being able to see your children at all times.

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The Little Green House is open Monday through Friday from 9-4. Occasionally, I find these hours to be a bummer. Two reasons: 1. I OFTEN need to kill time between the hours of 3 and 5 PM. I would LOVE to take my kids here at this time, when they’re up from quiet time and naps, and when they’ve spent the whole day in the house and are ready for a change of scenery. 2. There have been many a rainy/cold Saturday morning that I have considered going here or even asked a friend to meet me and then remembered they aren’t open. They do reserve Saturdays and Sundays for special events and birthday parties. I’m sure they have their reasons for closing at 4 PM, but that’s just my two cents and something to be aware of when you’re planning.

My kids love this place first and foremost for the fire truck!

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There’s a small “town” with activities inside each building – an animal clinic, a house, the fire station and a grocery store. There’s also a fun slide that’s perfect for younger kids.

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Most kids (mine included) seem to love pushing around the shopping carts. There is play food and play money and a cash register that is also popular. There are also toys that are geared towards babies, if you happen to be bringing along a younger, less mobile sibling! There’s truly something for everyone in the under-school-aged crowd!

Off to the side, but still in view of the activity, is a seating area for eating. You can bring your own lunch or purchase something to eat. We packed a lunch today. Everyone else cleared out at 12:00, we stayed to eat our lunch, played a few minutes and then went home for naptime.

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There is a parking lot, but since it is shared with a couple other businesses, it can be full at times. You should know that it’s okay to park in the sections of the parking lot that used to be a drive thru. I was unclear about this the first couple of times I visited, but have since come to utilize some of these spaces.

The Little Green house is connected to Bellwether Kitchen, which provides meals for the affiliated daycares AND take home meals that you can order ahead of time. It always smells good in there when we’re playing!

Today’s outing to The Little Green House saved my sanity! My kids were melting down on the kitchen floor, screaming their heads off before we left! Within minutes of arriving they were playing happily and independently! Now that is a win!

Know Before You Go:

Hours: M-F 9-4

Cost: $5 per child over 6 mo

Contact Info:

808 Grandview Ave.
Grandview, OH 43215
lghplaycafe@gmail.com
614.732.5328

Also:  Bring socks, it is a “shoe-free zone”, outside food is allowed.

 

If you’ve been to the Little Green House, can you offer any other tips for first-timers?


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