Two MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids

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As I promised a few weeks ago, when I shared Two Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids, I’m sharing two MORE fun local libraries with you this week! If you’re tired of the same old, same old, these are some great options for a new outing with the kids!

1. Westerville Public Library

126 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-882-7277

I love the trees in the Children’s Place!

The little kid’s area has a school bus . . .

a kitchen, puzzles . . .

a police car . . .

and a great view of the new Northstar! A visit to the library and a double chocolate cookie from Northstar sounds like a fun outing we need to put on the calendar! 😉

The Westerville Library has Drop-In Preschool Storytime, Rhyme Time, Yoga Tales and more! See the whole list of events for kids and families here!

2. Worthington Libraries, Northwest Library

2280 Hard Rd., Columbus, OH 43235, 614-807-2626

Northwest Library offers a unique area for kids called Story Garden! Around the children’s area, well known children’s stories are depicted in 3D!

It’s worth a trip to this library just to view this amazing artwork! Their website lists all of the stories depicted, including the author and a brief description of each story! Looking at the website, I see so many I missed on our visit!

Inside an area called Three Bears Cottage, there is a space for play for young children with lots of toys and seating!

Northwest Library currently has some kind of programming for children every weekday and at least one night a week! See the full calendar here.

What’s your favorite local library?


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ICYMI: 5 on Friday: Columbus Donuts

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9 Things to Do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon

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The Scioto Audubon is a really awesome Metro Park as far as kids are concerned – you should definitely take your kids there! I had been there a few times for work events in my past life, but I had never explored the park with kids until this past spring! I was missing out!


Here are 9 things you can do there with your kids! (I don’t necessarily recommend doing them all in one day, we did a lot of them and were pretty worn out!) We’ve since been back a few times just to play in the sandbox and have a much more relaxed morning, and that’s just as great, too!

1. Attend a Story Time




We arrived in time for the Pre-K Storytime on a Thursday morning. These story times take place at 10:00 AM on Thursdays and Saturdays in the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. The library area was full of children’s books and there was a tee pee to play in, as well as scientific equipment to investigate. The story time was laid back and fun for small kids. There was a wide age range of kids there and I felt that the volunteer was very understanding of their varying levels of concentration!

2. Visit with Live Animals




After the story time, a volunteer took us down the hall to visit with frogs, turtles and other water creatures. I wouldn’t have known about this room if it wasn’t for our friendly story time leader!

3. Check Out the Play Room





I had no idea that there was a play area inside the Center. I would have been coming here during the winter, that’s for sure! There are puppets in a cave-like play area and a climbing structure! There were also really cute animal costumes for dressing up. Inside the same room were animal pelts and skulls the kids could touch.

4. Play in the Sand Box




Just outside the Audubon Center, there is a sand box to play in. My kids could have stayed here all day! There were already sand toys in the area, so we did not have to bring our own. There’s a chalkboard for drawing on and several paths for the kids to walk on in the area.

5. Walk the Boardwalk




We took a walk out the back of the Audubon Center, down the path that leads to the rock climbing wall and playground. It’s a good hike, but still doable with small children. We didn’t actually see any animals, but we heard frogs croaking! This spot was a little scary for me with an almost 2 year old peering over the boardwalk. If you can trust your kids not to dive in, it’s worth doing! I wished I could enjoy it a little more but I was trying not to have a heart attack every time they walked close to the edge. 😉

6. Check out the River Overlook




The park has a river overlook, out over the Scioto River. There are binoculars available for long distance viewing!

7. Play on the Playground





You can walk down the boardwalk to the playground, or park in the parking lot right next to it. We walked down after already having a full morning playing, so the walk back up was a bit tiring. I might recommend driving down so you can leave from the park. There is a play area for older and younger kids and a mister for really hot days! There are several picnic tables with umbrellas overhead. For older kids, there is a rock climbing wall and an obstacle course nearby. I love the gorgeous views of downtown from the park!

8. Go Bird Watching



Well, this should be obvious at an audubon center, I guess, but there are a lot of bird watching opportunities. 😉 If you can get your kids to stay still enough (definitely a challenge for me!) the birds will congregate at the feeders around the building. We saw quite a few from the windows in the library, and we were able to walk by the feeders on the outside decks (which are also on my list of places to come WITHOUT kids)! There are lots of opportunities to learn about birds inside the center, too!

9. Climb the Water Tower



Or more accurately, climb two stories of the water tower! 😉 And this is a bonus tip because we didn’t actually do it! If I thought it wasn’t going to mean carrying a toddler up and down the steps, I would have totally done this for the awesome view, but I was pushing the limit as it was! I imagine it would be fun to eat a packed lunch up there!

Know Before You Go:

Scioto Audubon Metro Park, 400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43215, 614-202-5197
Park Hours:
6:30 AM to 10:00 PM April through September
6:30 AM to 8:00 PM October through March

Grange Insurance Audubon Center, 505 W. Whittier St., Columbus OH 43215, 614-545-5475
Spring/Summer Hours:
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM


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ICYMI: Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week

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North, South, East and West: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 1

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We all have our favorite, local library, but what about branching out for something new?  Today I’m featuring libraries with great children’s areas!  These are libraries where not only can you come home with a bag full of books, but you can easily pass a morning with all the other things they have to offer!  Today’s post features libraries on the North side and the West side.

Hilliard Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

EDITED July 11, 2018: The Hilliard Branch has relocated to a renovated location at 4500 Hickory Chase Way, Hilliard, OH 43026

A few years ago – yes, years – a friend of mine told me this was a great library.  But it took me a long time to get here.  I was so pleasantly surprised when we finally did visit, that I wished we had come sooner!  The children’s area here has a nice, natural separation from the rest of the library, which means that your little wanders won’t easily escape!



This is also one of the few libraries I can think of with a train table – always a plus in my boys’ book!



There is a puppet stand, interactive toys for toddlers and a lot of nice seating for reading together.  On this visit, we arrived too late for story time, but they do offer it frequently for all ages.  See here.  This library opens at 9AM, too, which might be especially good for early risers!  (Though my kids wake up WAY too early and I still can’t seem to get out of the house before 10AM!)IMG_8931

Location: 4500 Hickory Chase Way, Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-645-2275

Mon-Thur: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Karl Road Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

This is a great library for Pre-Kindergarten activities!  The children’s area is especially geared toward Kindergarten readiness.  There are special activities designed around letters, numbers, writing, and obviously, learning to read.



There are cubbies filled with games , toys, puzzles and coloring activities designed to help your child learn to read.

There are story times for different ages on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Their weekly schedule is always listed here.  On this visit, we coincided with baby lap time for ages 0-18 months. I squeaked in with my 19 month old!  🙂  After a series of songs, rhymes and books there was an interactive playtime at the end.  (Jaden, though he tried to play it “too cool for the babies,” couldn’t resist free play!)


One of my favorite things about this library is the bus:


Inside the bus are seats for reading together.  I know one addition to this bus that my kids would love would be a steering wheel.  But I suppose that might cause too many fights!  😉


There’s a lot of great seating here, too, and this is another place where there is a good separation between the children’s area and the rest of the library.  As Jaden has gotten older, he has wanted to sit and read books at the library (imagine that!).  But it is really nice to be able to keep an eye on my little 19-month-old wanderer when he wants to play.

Location: 5590 Karl Rd., Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-645-2275

Mon-Thur: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Feel free to comment below to tell me about another library you love, and stay tuned for Part 2 featuring more fun libraries great for reading AND playing!

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