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$2 Tuesdays: Recreations Outlet, Columbus Zoo and Tacos!

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I know, this is crazy, right? Who does two full-fledged outings in one day, let alone one morning? But hear me out, because I think you might want to, too!

You know what else is crazy? I actually arrived at Recreations Outlet around 9:15 AM! Usually, it’s a good day if I’m getting out of the house at 10:15! It’s amazing how much that extra hour adds to your day – enough time that you would actually consider going to the zoo afterwards!

I heard about Recreations Outlet last year, but I just felt that my newly one year old was not a good fit for large playground equipment. Then summer rolled around and we spent a lot of time exploring outdoor parks. When the temperatures dropped, and my now 2 year old was a steady-enough climber, I put it back on my list of places to visit. In full disclosure, my family received a pass to visit for free, but it was 100% coincidence that I already had the playdate on the calendar with a friend for the coming week! Serendipity!

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So what makes this a $2 Tuesday? On Tuesdays (AND Wednesdays and Thursdays) from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Recreations Outlet has charitable play, where admission is $2 per family (that includes up to 3 children). Additional children are $1 per child. Not only are you getting a major discount, but 50% of the price you pay gets donated to a charity chosen by Recreations Outlet! All other play times are $6 per child during the week, and $8 per child on the weekends.

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My kids LOVED it here!  My 5 yr old has asked to go back multiple times! It is a really great place for kids to run around and get out all of that extra energy! Besides the many sets of playground equipment, there are basketball hoops, soccer goals, trampolines and a log cabin!

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My kids are really into sports this year, so they especially liked playing in these areas!

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I’m pretty sure if kids dream of heaven, this is what it looks like!

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While our kids were playing, my friend Katie casually mentioned that it was $2 Tuesday at the Zoo. “Whaaatt is that?” I asked. When she listed off the food deals, my wheels started turning. I might have been out the door before 9:00 AM, but don’t trick yourself into thinking I had managed to have lunches packed (or the dishwasher emptied, or a load of laundry in the wash or dinner in the crock pot)! I was on time, but not SuperMom! 😉 Okay, actually, I was late for a 9:00 meet up. But I digress . . .

On to the zoo . . . Okay, $2 Tuesday only counts if you’re a member. But you’re a member, right? If you live in Columbus, the Zoo membership is a must have amiright? Also, the Zoo is 3.1 miles away from Recreations Outlet. (Actually, a lot closer than I realized, considering that I haven’t spent much too much time in downtown Powell, and I usually come to the Zoo from Sawmill Rd!) Oh! Wow, there it is!

What will $2 get you at the Zoo on Tuesday? A hot dog, or a bratwurst or a bag of popcorn (butter or kettle) or a pretzel! The three of us ate for $8! Yay! This deal is going on until December 13, 2016!

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What’s new at the Zoo this fall? Mums. Pumpkins. Boo at the Zoo. Christmas lights. I recently read on Facebook that it takes them 10 weeks to put up the lights for Wildlights! Normally I’m not a fan of Christmas decorations before Halloween, but I guess we’ll let it slide . . . 😉 It turned out that the lights were my 5 yr old’s favorite thing about the zoo that day! Maybe because Mighty Machines were involved in putting them up. (“Working for you doing mighty things . . ” (anyone, anyone?))

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Another thing we’ve been enjoying lately is taking the shuttle from the entrance to the Polar Frontier. Seriously, why has it taken me 5  years to do this? If you’re kids love the petting zoo and you don’t, this is a great way to avoid it. (cough, cough)

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You know what else is new at the zoo? Starbucks! (No, they don’t take the Starbucks Card. 🙁 I asked so you don’t have to.)

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A few more pics from our day:

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Yes, I do make my child wear a shirt that says, “My Mom’s the Bomb” – the years of picking out their clothes are short, we might as well make the most of them! 😉

Seriously, you can do this! The charitable play at Recreations Outlet ends at 11:00 AM, so you have to leave anyway. You might as well drive 3.1 miles to the zoo and have a hot dog!

Now I could just end this post right now, but there is one more way to spend $2 on Tuesday! TACOS!! Here’s a non-official short-list of places that have $2 Tacos on Tuesdays!

Local Cantina – $2 Tacos all day

Condados Tacos – Tacos are $1 off from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM, which makes most of them $2

Whole Foods – Easton and Dublin locations

Dos Hermanos – in the North Market

Balboa – Half off all Tacos

Hadley’s Bar and Kitchen – $2 Tacos

If you’re looking for more daily deals, you might enjoy my post Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week!

Know Before  You Go:

Recreations Outlet, 484 W. Olentangy/Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065, 614-792-3700
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
(Charitable Play: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065, 614-645-3400
Fall/Winter Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (special hours for Boo at the Zoo and Wildlights)

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

ICYMI: 3 Can’t Miss Pumpkin Patches Near Columbus

9 Things to Do With Your Kids this Fall in Columbus

*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!*


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3 Can’t-Miss Pumpkin Patches near Columbus

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These 3 Pumpkin Farms in Central Ohio were winners for us! So much fun for fall!

First of all, let’s just talk about last year. (Edit: this post was written in 2016. Please double check the links for updates and current pricing.)

Our only “pumpkin patch” experience involved waiting way too long in line at a location that will remain nameless (because I honestly can’t remember which one it was). We waited so long in fact, that the price we would have to pay became too much to spend for the time we had left! My friends and I had to bribe our kids with ice cream to get them out of line and give up on pumpkins.

Then, despite the fact that my son talked non stop about what he wanted to be for Halloween, it was too cold and/or rainy on trick-or-treat night and we were out of town for both weekends of Boo at the Zoo. So I just never told him when Halloween was and he managed to eventually forget about it. Major #momfail! Honestly, neither of our kids noticed or suffered any irreparable damage, as best I can tell, but I do still feel a little bit guilty that there will be no costume pictures from ages 1 and 4 of our kids’ lives.

Are you looking for pumpkin farms near Columbus that are a great value AND a ton of fun?

But this year? I actually feel like we hit the lottery! First of all, October has been beautiful! And, secondly, we’ve already done 3 “pumpkin patch” experiences that will definitely stay on the rotation for next year! I did my own cost-benefit analysis 😉 and I feel like somehow I managed to make the right choices! So let me save you the effort and tell you why these 3 experiences are a great deal!

1. Jacquemin Farms

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I chose Jacquemin Farms for 2 reasons: it’s open during the week and it’s very inexpensive! Where most of the pumpkin patches have “Fall Festival Weekends” – they’re just that, only open on the weekends! I totally understand why, but I was definitely in the market for some places to take my kids during the week when there would be smaller crowds!

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Before 3:00 PM on the weekdays, kids ages 3-10 can play in the straw maze and corn box for $2 each (ages 2 and under are free)! During the weekends and after 3:00 PM on weekdays, the farm has bouncy houses (which my kids aren’t huge fans of anyway) and the cost is $6 per kid.

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If you arrive early enough, there are pumpkin donuts for sale in the market! (Alas, we did not!) But we did enjoy apple cider slushies!

You can also go out into the field to pick your own pumpkin! When we visited, the pumpkin fields were very wet and muddy. They recommended that we not go out into the field (though we were welcome to if we chose to)! We picked out a couple of pumpkins to take home from inside the market.

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Know Before You Go:
7437 Hyland Croy Rd., Plain City, OH 43064, 614-873-5725
October Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 6:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

Related: Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals

2. DeMonye’s Haunted Greenhouse

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For years, I could see this green house from 670 and could not figure out where it was or how to get to it! I didn’t know the name of it, so there was no way to find out! When researching about different pumpkin patch options, I was able to connect the dots! There are two reasons the experience at deMonye’s is great, in my opinion! The cost is $8, but only per child (adults are free!) and what you get for $8 is a LOT!

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When the kids walk through the door, they get a goody bag with candy, pumpkin stickers and little Halloween trinkets. They each get to pick a pumpkin and can decorate it at one of the many tables they have within the greenhouse. There is unlimited popcorn and the kids each get a bottle of juice!

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Also included in the cost is…

Straw maze:

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Corn box:

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Basketball play area:

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Bean bag toss:

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Bouncy house:

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Planting a flower to take home:

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Dodge ball area:

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Petting zoo (well, more of a looking zoo):

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and the Haunted House:

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The haunted house was a bit scary for my kids. They made it through about 3/4 of the way and then got freaked out in a room full of spiders and it was kind of downhill from there. The truth is, you could do everything else and not even know this “haunted” area was there! We almost didn’t do it because, at first, I didn’t realize where it was (the back corner)!

My kids had a blast here! I felt like it was well worth $16 for both of them because there were so many things to do and the price included food AND a pumpkin!

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There are lots of Halloween decorations and other pumpkins and gourds for sale within the shop!

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Know Before You Go:
2500 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219, 614-252-6046
October Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Saturday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sunday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3. Freeman’s Farm

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As I mentioned earlier, my experience with pumpkin patches is pretty limited, but our experience at Freeman’s Farm was darn near idyllic.

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In my cost-benefit analysis, I noticed that most of the Fall Festival events were around $8 per person, not per child, and my kids are pretty young for some of the activities offered. The prices are not listed on the website for Freeman’s Farm, but I tracked them down in the comments of their Facebook page. I was serious about my research! 😉

Hay rides are $2 per person, the petting zoo is free (though you can buy feed for $.25 a handful) and the food prices are extremely reasonable!

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The hayride through the farm was about 20-25 minutes long and the property was beautiful!

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After the hayride, we were hungry, so we headed over to the campfire where you could buy and roast hotdogs ($2)!

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And buy your chili in a bag ($2.50)!

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I loved the communal campfire and roasting your own hot dogs! It felt like the real deal!

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The kids enjoyed feeding the miniature horses, donkeys and goats. There was a large pig too, but he was taking a nap!

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We also got kettle corn and met up with some scarecrows! You can stuff your own scarecrow for $20 – straw and all the necessary clothing were provided!

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Pumpkins were $.39/lb and were sold in the yard outside the market. There were tons of options! At this point in our pumpkin patch journey, we already have 6 pumpkins, so I vetoed taking any more home, despite the begging by my children!

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Know Before You Go:
6142 Lewis Center Rd., Galena, OH 43021, 740-548-7866
Farm Market is open Monday – Friday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
The Market is open and Fall Festival Activities are Saturday : 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

*Only cash is accepted at all of the activity stands, but you can use your credit card inside the market to purchase vouchers for food and hayrides.

*When I typed “Freeman’s Farm” into Google Maps, it landed us on a dead end cul-de-sac on the other side of the farm. However, when I manually typed in the (same) address, it got us there – I don’t know if it would happen to you, but I just thought I’d mention it in case! 😉

Need more ideas for fall? Check out 9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus or Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals! Happy Pumpkin Season!

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ICYMI: 9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus


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