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Columbus Christmas Staycation 2016

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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!

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ICYMI: 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt


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MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

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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


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Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield

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A few weeks ago, I shared in depth about our trip to Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.  This week I’m going to give you the details on how we spent the whole day in downtown Mansfield, also known as the Carrousel District. If you’re looking for a fun road trip this summer, I think this outing is worth the drive – which is only about an hour from downtown Columbus.

We started out with lunch at Coney Island Diner. a fun, colorful diner that traces its roots back to 1919!

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There’s lots to look at on the walls and a very reasonably priced kids menu (the kids meals were served in fun dinosaur plates!). We made it for an early lunch and beat the rush (it got really busy around noon). If you wanted to make it earlier, they have a decent sized breakfast menu as well. You can view the whole menu here. The kids had fun sitting at the counter (of course they all fought over who got to sit by Grandma)!

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After lunch, we walked over to the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, which is where we spent the bulk of our day. The museum is 2 floors full of opportunities for imaginative play for your kids. Designed for ages 12 and under, the museum was a hit with my kids and my nephews!

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Much of the museum is set up like a town with areas to play like an auto repair shop, grocery store, hair salon, school house, and more. There is also an area for water play, vehicles to ride on, a baby area and space for birthday parties. You can read in depth about our visit to the museum here.

After 3 hours at the museum, a few of us adults had to make a stop at Relax it’s Just Coffee for our afternoon pick me up! There was a good looking selection of baked goods (one of my weaknesses) and a definite artsy vibe.

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If we were kid-free I would have loved to spend more time here – you know, actually sit down at a table and leisurely drink my coffee, but we all know that is not how coffee is consumed once you become a parent.

Coffee in hand, we headed down the street to the carrousel. This carrousel was built in 1991 and has 52 figures to ride on, including a couple of chariots to sit in if your kids are too little or afraid to ride by themselves. There are also several rocking chairs to sit in around the carrousel for those who just want to observe. Tickets to ride the carrousel are purchased inside the gift shop where there are also concessions available. Ages 2 and under are free and all others are $1 per ride or 6 rides for $5. I don’t think you can go to the Carrousel District without stopping for a ride on the carrousel. It just wouldn’t be right, would it?carouselbldg

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Some of us ended up back at Coney Island Diner for hand dipped ice cream. (That would be those of us who didn’t partake in the caffeine break a few minutes earlier – if only I had known! (Ice cream is my first weakness).)

Here’s what I love about this day trip to downtown Mansfield – you can park in one spot and walk to all of these places. I really hate dislike getting my kids in and out of the car a million times during an outing. There is a public parking lot at the corner of Main St. and Fourth St. You can park there for 3 hours. That might not be long enough to do all of these things, so if you’re lucky enough to have another adult with you, send them to move the car. 😉 There is also metered parking on the street and street parking is free on the weekends!

Know Before You Go:

Coney Island Diner
Address: 98 N Main St, Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-526-2669

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 6:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum
Address: 44 West Fourth St., Mansfield, OH, 44902
Phone: 419-522-2332

Summer Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Relax It’s Just Coffee
Address: 105 North Main St., Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-522-1521

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM –5:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Richland Carrousel Park
Address: 75 N. Main Street, Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-522-4223

Summer Hours (through Labor Day):
Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Monday – Thursday 10 AM – 5 PM
Labor Day through Memorial Day:  Monday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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ICYMI: Pizzuti Collection + Le Chocoholique


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