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What Should We Do This Weekend? February 24-26, 2017

1. Alice in Wonderland at Marcus Theatres

When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, February 24-26, 2017
Time: Showtimes vary by location
Location: Ohio Locations of Marcus Theatres

As part of the Disney Enchanted Tales series at Marcus Theatres, you can watch Alice in Wonderland for just $5/ticket.

2. Imagination Station at Bexley Library

When: Friday, February 24, 2017
Time:  3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Youth Services Dept., 2411 E. Main Street, Bexley, OH 43209
Phone: 614-231-2793

There will be open ended creativity at the art supply and LEGO stations every Friday afternoon at Bexley Public Library!

3. Family Friday Night at COSI

When: Friday, February 24, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

General admission is reduced to $11 after 5:00 PM on Family Friday Night and that includes a movie on the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater!

4. A Breakfast with Characters at Dublin Recreation Center

When: Saturday, February 24, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 5600 Post Rd., Dublin, OH 43017

Your kids can have breakfast with superheroes, princesses, fairytale favorites, Brutus Buckeye and more! The ticket cost includes meet and greet and activities. All proceeds benefit the Junior League of Columbus Adopt-a-Backpack for Children (ABC) project. Must register in advance!

5. HOOT Family Film Series at Gateway Film Center

When: Saturday, February 24, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location:1550 N High St., Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: 614-545-2255

Watch family-friendly short films (this month’s theme is “Love”), hear music from the Shazzbots and enjoy dancing and other activities! (Helen shared about this activity in her guest post here.)

6. Central Ohio STEM Expo at COSI

When: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

The 4th annual Central Ohio STEM Expo serves to provide students in grades K-8 with fun activities to encourage engagement in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math! Tickets include reduced-price admission to COSI and there will be goody bags while supplies last!

7. Family Fun with American Girl at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

American Girl Easton will be visiting Franklin Park Conservatory! Bring your doll for crafts and giveaways! Free with admission.

8. Magic Key Story Hour at Westland Area Library

When: When: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: 4740 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43228
Phone: 614-878-1301

The Westland High School Key Club hosts this imaginative story time for ages 7 and under!

9. Play it Forward at Coffee Connections of Hilliard

When: When: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: 4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-664-3993

Have family fun at this open board game time at Coffee Connections!

10. Night at the Museum at Ohio History Center

When: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM (6:00-7:00 PM is for members only)
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH 43211
Phone: 1-800-686-1541

The museum comes to life after dark at this special event! Special guests from the past will be in attendance and kids can collect their autographs throughout the evening! Advance tickets are required.

11. KidX: Mardis Gras Celebration at Polaris Fashion Place

When: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: 1500 Polaris Pkwy., Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-846-1500

Mardi Gras celebration at KidX will include a parade with the SupaFun Band, an appearance from the Frog Princess and the opportunity to create your own Mardi Gras mask!

12. Camp & Activities Expo at The Shops at Worthington Place

When: When: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

There will be nearly 30 exhibitors offering information about summer camps and other summer activity options for your kids at this expo! There will also be a bounce house, games, balloon artist, live entertainment and more!

13. Urban Strings Concert at Main Library

When: Sunday February 26, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM
Location: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus OH 43215
Phone: 614-645-2275

Urban Strings Columbus will be featuring the music of African-American composers at this concert in the atrium! The youth ensemble will play selections from Pharrell Williams, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince and more! The concert is free!

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*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!*

20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

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! 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 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

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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

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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

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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. 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.

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 trains! At some locations there are Duplo blocks for playing and, of course, 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

Hours:
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Saturdays 9:30 AM – 11:30AM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play. There is also a rock climbing area here!

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! (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 Lego table set up for play inside the store!

**I’ve updated this list to include more free play areas as we find them! Yay!

21. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

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.

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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What Should We Do This Weekend? August 19-21, 2016

1. Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

This week’s Commons for Kids includes putt-putt golf, a bubble play zone and music from Columbus Folk Music Society! This is the next to last Commons for Kids of the summer! (Also Saturday night, there will be a free showing of The Good Dinosaur at Columbus Commons!)

2. Movie Night at Blacklick Woods

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Beech Maple Lodge, 6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-508-8111

During this program, kids can learn about beavers and then watch Leave it to Beavers, a movie. There will be free popcorn!

3. Great Columbus Duck Race at Creekside, Gahanna

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: Begins at 8:00 AM
Location: 101 Mill St., Gahanna, OH 43230

Races, family friendly activities, prizes, live music and a humongous duck race are all part of an event that supports the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital! See the link for info on how to register and/or purchase a duck for the Duck Race! Online purchasing ends Thursday night at 11:59 PM.

4. Back to School Party at Buffalo Wings & Rings

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 6325 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43213
Phone: 614-856-9464

Kick off the new school year with a bounce house, balloon animals, a magician and more! Other activities include a corn hole tournament, dance off, and karaoke!

5. BrickUniverse at Columbus Convention Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Hall E, 400 N High St., Columbus, OH 43215

See amazing Lego creations, enter building challenges, participate in free-building and enjoy all things Lego! There is also a Duplo building area for the younger kids! Tickets often sell out and can be bought online.

6. Grove City Eco Fest at Henceroth Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 2075 Mallow Lane, Grove City, OH 43123

This festival is all about healthy living and sustainability! Activities include touring a tiny house, a family bike tour with Mayor Ike, planting trees, an Art Zone, a Kids Zone, a Zoo Tent and more!

7. International Fun Festival at Grace Polaris Church

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 8225 Worthington Galena Rd, Westerville, Ohio 43081

This free outdoor party with an international theme celebrates unity in diversity! The event features food trucks, live entertainment, activity stations, bounce houses, crafts and more!

8. Family Fun Day at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 7227 N High St, Worthington, Ohio 43085

This free event includes a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, crafts, games and prizes!

9. Origami: Puppets at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Origami artists from Ohio Paper Folders will be on site to teach families how to fold origami puppets and toys. This event is free with admission or membership.

10. Hit Like an iGirl at Title Boxing

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:15 AM
Location: 955 W. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Girls ages 9-17 can attend a boxing session with iGirl and Title Boxing! iGirl is an organization “committed to providing young women with a safe place to discover and reach their full potential through self-awareness, self-confidence and personal goals.” Cost is $10 which includes wraps the girls can keep. Gloves are provided and so is lunch! Moms can also attend when accompanying a girl ages 9-17! Must register in advance.

11. I Spy Nature Challenge at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: meet at Schrock Lake Restrooms, 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111
Families can pick up an Adventure Backpack and take the I-Spy Nature Challenge for a chance to win a prize.

12. Clintonville Quest

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Begins at the Quest Booth at Crest Fest, corner of Tulane and Calumet

Want to explore Clintonville for a good cause? The Clintonville Quest is a scavenger hunt in the style of Amazing Race! Earn points and complete challenges as you discover various checkpoints around Clintonville. The money raised supports the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center! If you want to do this event as a family with young kids, consider entering the Quest Mini, which is open to all ages but contains fewer checkpoints and a shorter distance to cover! Adults can save $10 by registering by 10:00 PM on Friday. The race ends at Crest Fest, a neighborhood festival including food trucks, live music and a kids’ activity zone!

13. Lego Build Event at Barnes and Noble

When: Saturday August 20, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: your local Barnes and Noble

Kids age 6 and older can build with Legos at this free event!

14. Glow in the Dark Trail Run for Kids at Grove City YMCA

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 8:30 PM
Location: 3600 Discovery Dr, Grove City, Ohio 43123
Phone: 614-384-2295

This fun run supports cancer survivors  in the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program! Ages 5-17 are welcome to participate and glow sticks and s’mores will be provided! Register here.

15. Back to School Bash with the Hilliard Arts Council at Hilliard’s Station Park

When: Sunday, August 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: 4021 Main St, Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Another opportunity to kick off the back to school season with kid-friendly musical performances, pop-up art, face painting, a food truck and more!

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*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!*