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5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus PART 2

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Last month I shared with you 5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus and this is my second round of “things we’ve actually done”! 😉 I hope you enjoy exploring Columbus with your kids! Here are 5 more things to do together this summer:

1. Attend Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

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Columbus Commons is a great downtown park and on Fridays there are all kinds of special FREE activities for kids like bounce houses, story time, crafts, sports activities and special visitors. One of the weeks we attended there was a show by Ronald McDonald and the Columbus Zoo brought live animals to see and touch. Carrousel rides (normally $1) are free during this time and there is a parking garage right across the street if you can’t snag a meter.

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Tortilla is open for lunch at the park and there is also Jeni’s ice cream on site! Commons for kids lasts from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Check their schedule here for what is going on each week.

2. Make Origami Art at the Franklin Park Conservatory

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The latest exhibit at the Conservatory is Origami in the Garden. On display are several works of origami art and there are related family activities going on during the exhibit. On Saturdays, kids can learn how to fold an origami crane from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

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In the children’s area there are tables set up with paper and instructional booklets about how to fold different things like cranes, airplanes, boats and more. Throughout the Conservatory, Japenese Garden is the theme! Outdoors, there are origami sculptures as well. During the summer, the Franklin Park Conservatory is open until 9:00 PM on Wednesdays (through August 31st). See the full listing of family activities here.

3. Try Out a New Splash Pad

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So far, my kids aren’t big fans of splash pads! We’ve tried out Ballantrae Park/Bunny Fountains in Dublin, the fountains at Easton, FountainSide at Bicentennial Park, and the fountains at Polaris Mall and my kids still are unsure about getting water splashed in their faces at unpredictable times. I feel like I might be reaching the limit of how many times I should try this activity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! 😉 Here’s a list of 8 Columbus Splash Pads from Columbus Moms Blog!

4. Visit a Brand New Library

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I can’t go without mentioning the new Main Library! It’s a must visit this summer! Enjoy the remodeled Children’s Department and then take a walk through the outdoor reading room to Topiary Park. There are PBJ&Jazz concerts in the park on the second Saturday of each month this summer (which happens to be this weekend, July 9!). We were able to catch a little bit of the first one which took place at the Grand Opening Celebration of Main Library in June.

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Main Library is not the only new library opened this year! The Parson’s Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library (seen above) opened earlier this summer and it has a open area for story times and a Ready For Kindergarten area that has fun, educational toys. We’re also keeping an eye on the new Grove City Library, slated to open sometime late this summer or early fall! Summer is also a great time to try out a new-to-you library! Here are a few of my recommendations: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 1 and Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 2. Make sure to join the Summer Reading Clubs available at most libraries around the Columbus area and win prizes just for reading!

5. Play on the “Little” Big Machines at COSI

Hopefully you got to see the Big Machines exhibit a few weeks ago, but if not, these “little” big machines are on display for driving and climbing for the rest of the summer! Inside the little kidspace there is a special construction area with pretend tools for lots of fun play!

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COSI is open every day during the summer and until 9:00 PM on the last Friday of each month. They do close down for most of September for their yearly cleaning, so make sure you get to see this exhibit before summer ends! Mark your calendars for August 10-14, 2016 for the next outdoor exhibit at COSI, Farm Days! There are plenty of big machines at this one, too (mostly in the form of tractors)!

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We’re having a lot of fun this summer and I hope you are, too! Columbus has so many things to do and places to explore! In fact, I’ve already started on a Part 3 to this post, so check back soon! 🙂

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ICYMI: 5 Things to do at Stratford Ecological Center


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Your #newmain Library: Sneak Peek

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Yesterday, I attended the Media Preview of the soon-to-open new Main Library! The transformation inside is pretty amazing! It’s almost hard to imagine that it is the same place! Don’t get me wrong, I thought the old library was pretty awesome, but this renovation has turned Main Library into a totally new place. Columbus Metropolitan Library has a vision for the library that is evident, intentional and actually unfolding before our eyes. (See the pictures from my hard hat tour in May at: 10 Things to be Excited About at New Main Library.)IMG_7233When you visit, you’ll see that the focus has shifted from “collections” to “connections”. Main Library has been literally opened up to foster transparency and community.  A lot of thought has been put into how “young minds” will move through the library as they grow into tweens, teens and finally adults. Through the actual, physical set up of the library, they are encouraged to envision themselves as a productive part of the Columbus community.

The library officially opens to the public on Saturday, June 25th with the dedication and ribbon cutting beginning at 12:00 noon. A celebration follows that includes entertainment, activities, an art show, and a concert and movie in Topiary Park! Sunday features an Author Talk with David Baldacci at 2:00 PM. See this link for all the details!

There is something new for everyone at Main Library. Enjoy this “sneak peek” of your #newmain library!

For Kids:

IMG_7359A separate (smaller) entrance for the kids into the Children’s Department!

IMG_7307Open space for reading and playing.

IMG_7305Lots of space for books, of course!

IMG_7298The Children’s Department focuses on getting kids Ready For Kindergarten. It also offers a space for Reading Buddies to help prepare kids to pass the 3rd grade reading test.

Storytimes and public programs will happen in this open space!Storytimes and public programs will happen in this open space!

IMG_7325Little kids can actually climb into these holes to work on computers!

For Tweens:

IMG_7333Under these cool lights is the Homework Help Center where tweens have their own entrance (you know, away from those little kids! 😉 ) and their own area to explore and develop.

For Teens:

IMG_7242The breathtaking view of downtown from these computers, which are exclusively for teens, is meant to inspire teens to dream about their futures here in Columbus. Behind them is a board room with glass walls that offer teens a view of an adult life that can soon be theirs.

IMG_7249This is the “collaboration couch” for teens to work together in groups and have a safe space to hang out.

For Adults:

IMG_7214Each floor offers a Discovery Board with an interactive map. All meeting rooms have iPads outside the doors displaying the daily schedule.

IMG_7294The Reading Room, with lots of natural light and views of Topiary Park!

IMG_7259Space for reading and collaborating.

IMG_7369An outdoor reading room with access to Topiary Park and free Wi-Fi!

IMG_7197More open seating for reading and connecting!

IMG_7208The Carnegie Cafe, a spot for our caffeine fix!

IMG_7262Libraries all over have shifted their focus as technology changes. Columbus Metropolitan Library is committed to offering access to technology for those who might not have access otherwise.  There are 72 public computers on the 2nd floor. The library will offer free faxing and scanning. There will be the option for mobile printing from your cell phone, or even from your home computer to be picked up at the library!

IMG_7291Lest you think the library is no longer focused on books, yesterday we learned that when Main Library reopens, half of the collection will be brand new! There will be check outs on each floor of the library, 7 meeting rooms (which can be reserved online), 7 quiet study rooms and “15-minute computers” that can be used for a quick email check or print job.

I think you’ll find Main Library to be bright, welcoming and an extremely valuable resource for our community. I expect to spend most of my time in the Children’s Department, but after my visit yesterday, I will be secretly trying to figure out how I can get there alone to spend time sitting and reading in the other amazing areas of the library! See you there!

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ICYMI: 5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus


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10 Things to be Excited About at New Main Library!

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It would be hard to overstate exactly how excited I was to be invited to take a hard hat tour of the new Main Library (or #newmain as all the cool kids are calling it – seriously, though, search the hashtag and you’ll get a great look at its progress over time!).  But let’s just say I semi-purposely scheduled the tour on my birthday because I thought it would be an awesome thing to do!  Since the two libraries closest to me are under renovation (or completely demolished) I am currently without library. Main Library was my go-to, so I am counting down the days until June 25th!  Here are 10 things we have to look forward to at Main Library:

1. These Fun Doors

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The children’s area is in the same location as it was before, only when you enter, there will be a big door for the adults and a small door for the kids.  (That’s the reddish, metal structures you see in the picture).  How fun is that?

2. Open Area for Story Times

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Gone is the room with the sea creatures on the walls where many of us have attended story time and special events. Now story times will be done in the open, in the middle of the children’s area so no one misses out!

3. A Mother’s Room

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New Main has a Mother’s Room!  Three cheers for this one!  Though I don’t plan on nursing any new babies (sorry, Mom), this is a total win for moms!  I know from my experience, just knowing a Mother’s Room is available relieves a lot of stress when planning outings with babies.  This isn’t a picture of the Mother’s Room, but it is facing the children’s area and is a great view of the 3 floors of Main Library.

4. Access to the Historic Carnegie Building From Upstairs

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Previously, it was not possible to access the Carnegie portion of the library from the upper floors of the newer building.  If you wanted to access the galleries on the second floor of the Carnegie building, you had to go downstairs, over to the historic Carnegie building and back up again on the other side. When the library reopens, there will be walkways connecting the Carnegie building to the second floor of the newer portion of the library.

5. Carnegie Cafe

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The cafe has been given a new name and moved further inside the first floor of the library. Carnegie Cafe will sell snacks, coffee and other drinks.  There will be a nice open seating area and opposite will be the new Friends of the Library store.

6. Teen Space

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Older kids will have their own space that is no longer attached to the Children’s area – in fact it’s on a separate floor!  This special teen space will be on the 2nd floor.  I think this distinction is a great thing for both the teens and the younger kids!

7. Open Reading Room

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Part of the 3rd floor was taken down to open up this area and make it into a large space for comfortable seating and reading, as well as for special events and speakers.

8. Awesome View of Downtown

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The facade of the building was taken down and replaced by windows and now you have an amazing view of downtown!  I think I could sit here all day!

9. Outdoor Reading Room

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Okay, this might be my favorite one on the list! I’m super excited about the outdoor reading room with free Wi-fi and and opening to Topiary Park.

10. Access to Topiary Park from the Library

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I remember nervously walking my kids past the entrance and exit of the library parking garage to get from the library to Topiary park.  Now all you need to do is just walk through the outdoor reading room!  Another huge win for parents!

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Grand Opening Celebration on June 25th!  The ribbon cutting ceremony happens at 12:00 PM!  Following that, there will be tours, entertainment and time to explore the library.  There will be a special PBJ & Jazz concert at 2:00 in Topiary Park and the movie, The Lorax, will be shown outdoors at dusk.  On Sunday, June 26th, author David Baldacci will speak.  These events are free, but the Sunday event will require registration.  See this link for information on the Grand Opening Celebration. I’m really looking forward to this downtown institution being reopened with all the new things it has to offer!  See you there!


If you’re looking for a library to visit in the meantime, check out my posts about 4 great branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library: North, South, East and West: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing, Part 1 and North, South, East and West: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing, Part 2.

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