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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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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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5 Columbus Parents Share . . . How they Exercise WITH their Kids

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Since I started blogging, I have learned about so many interesting and awesome things going on in Columbus! I really like to try them out personally before I share them with you, but sometimes that’s just an impossible goal! How to solve that problem? I’m going to let 5 Columbus parents take over the blog to tell you about these amazing opportunities going on in our great city! (Thanks SO much to them for sharing their stories!)

I don’t consider myself a fitness guru by any means, but it is important to me to exercise regularly. I can tell you that after each of my babies were born, I pretty much stopped exercising for the first year of their lives. It just gets harder. In the past few months, I have been introduced to the following organizations that make it possible to exercise WITH your kids! What I’ve discovered from hearing these stories, is that these opportunities offer a lot more than just a workout! Most of these parents have also found a community of support and friendship! Check them out!

Stroller Strides

by Terra Kubert

I moved to Columbus a year ago for my husband’s job.  We didn’t know anyone in the area.  I had an 18 month old and was 34 weeks pregnant.  I knew I would need to find a village of other moms with little ones as soon as possible.  I enjoy working out, but I don’t like having to leave my girls in the gym daycare, especially a newborn.  I had been apart of a group called FIT4MOM-Stroller Strides when we lived in Phoenix and thought I should see if there was one in Columbus.  I was excited to see there was, and quickly contacted the owner after my 6 week check up.  Right from the start, I knew it was a great fit.  All of the moms were so welcoming and made me feel like I had known them forever.  During the workouts, the instructor gave multiple levels, so I wasn’t intimidated to slowly work my way back into exercising.

I was still adjusting to having two kids under two, but the moms were there for me with words of encouragement and advice on those days I didn’t know if I could make it. Now that it’s been almost a year since joining Stroller Strides, I can see how important this village is for my two little girls and me.  My oldest is counting and singing the songs she hears, during class and even when we are at home.  She asks, “Are we going to stroller strides today, Mommy? Will I get to see my friends today?“ It’s great to see, that not only am I getting in my hour workout and forming friendships, but my daughter is learning and building friendships with the other kids during class and at the play dates following my workouts. She has recently started telling Daddy to “do push ups or burpees with me” when he gets home from work!

Additionally, FIT4MOM has monthly Mom’s Night Out events.  I have found this to be important to me because I can leave my girls at home, go out with just friends and have some ‘me’ time.  For me, FIT4MOM has everything I am looking for, a workout, play dates for my daughters to interact with other kids, and support and friendship with the other moms, before, during, after class, and at MNOs.  Everything I need to have a healthy family and lifestyle.  I am thankful to have found FIT4MOM for all of these things! I’m not sure I would have survived with out it!

How to Join:

Fit4Mom Columbus North
Visit their: Facebook Page, Website, or email Melanie
Fit4Mom Dublin
Visit their: Facebook Page, Website, or email Amber

Hike it Baby

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by Chris Beha

For the past 11 months, my family has taken advantage of the awesome opportunity to explore the outdoors with a fun and supportive group of families through the Columbus OH branch of Hike it Baby.  Hike it Baby is a parents group dedicated to getting families together and out into nature with children from birth to school age.  My husband, my 18 month old son and I have found the families involved with Hike it Baby to be an amazing support group. We have learned so much from families with older kids not only about how to enjoy the outdoors with our son, but also that the struggles we were going through as first time parents were normal.

The variety of outdoor events offered, combined with the variety of kids ages, makes for a unique group of parents who are willing to share their successes (and failures) for everyone to learn from. Hike it Baby truly has something for everyone: from hikes through the trails of Hocking Hills to local coffee strolls in the neighborhood to toddler led hikes to park and play events at local parks. Initially, we were hesitant to join a “hiking” group when the Columbus OH branch of Hike it Baby started, especially with a 7 month old child at the time, but because of the welcoming environment of the group, Hike it Baby’s “no hiker left behind” values and the support of all the other families, all our fears were quickly replaced with a sense of community.  Now we host hikes as a family and have made so many friends within the Hike it Baby group that it has truly become one of our favorite family activities.

How to Join:

Visit their Website for hikes in your area!

Yoga on High

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By Alissa Jackson

As a mom and a woman who is interested in self care, I am always on the lookout for ways to accomplish that and instill these habits in my children. So when I saw that Yoga on High was offering a kids yoga class and hot flow class with the amazingly energetic Michele Vinbury simultaneously, my heart leap with joy. In our house we call Sundays, “Sunday Fundays”. It’s a time to tap into nature, be healthy and/or exploring our area. This yoga class is at a later time beginning at 10:30am on Sundays which is nice. If you have AM commitments like church, then it is still doable to add into your day and if you don’t, then what a fantastic way to start a Sunday. It is so close to many other great kid friendly restaurants and parks.

The kids yoga teachers at YoH are so knowledgeable and have helped my sons develop a healthy outlook regarding their bodies, minds and little spirits. How great that while all that is happening for my kiddos that I also can be practicing the same mindful awareness in the room next door. What a wonderful way to be generous to yourself and your family!

How to Join:

Visit their Facebook Page, Website or call 614-291-4444 to inquire about the Kids Yoga class


SuperMoms

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By Jennifer Drabek

After 2 kids, I decided it was time to get back into shape. I started on a weight loss journey last summer. The first class I went to was at a park in Gahanna. Mark was the trainer and lots of mamas were there with their kids. I thought,  I can do this if I can bring my kids! It was a great, intensive, yet fun workout. I have been hooked ever since.

The “SuperMoms” class is amazing! I have really gained a new appreciation for the beauty of working out with kids. No excuses, they can come with you. There is always stuff to do for the kids, they make friends, and you can keep your eye on them, or more than likely they can keep their eye on you, lol.

I have met so many new friends, ran my first 5k with them and have been getting in shape the entire time. Mark is a great trainer. He has high but reasonable expectations and he is always willing to work hard to keep you on pace with your goals.

If you are looking for something fun and healthy to do today, I suggest it be the SuperMoms class with Mark the Spot Fitness. I promise you won’t regret it!

How to Join:

Visit their Website, Facebook Page or email Mark


Ohio Health HOOFit

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By Leslie Catlett

If you’re looking for a fun and fit family activity, look no further than OhioHealth HOOFit walks at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Take a short “walk on the wild side” as you see various animal exhibits while walking and talking to an OhioHealth doctor and Zoo expert. The program offers education on different health related topics to improve your health.

This program is free with your paid admission or membership. It’s a great way to inspire better health for yourself and your family. Big or small, EVERY step counts! It’s so much fun, that your children won’t even realize they’re “working out”. Definitely a win-win situation for busy moms that don’t have the time for a structured workout routine.

How to Join:

Preregister and see schedule here, walks begin at 9:30 AM and the last one for this summer is this Thursday, September 15, 2016!


Need more ideas? Worthington Parks and Recreation has The Baby Wearing Workout, Piccadilly has Tots and Squats and occasionally, peapod play cafe has Mommy and Me Yoga! If you know of another, send me a message and I’ll add it here!

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ICYMI: Plain City Apple Picking Adventures


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Five Go-To Places You Need to Know About if You’re a New (or New-to-Columbus) Parent

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There are some places I go with my kids that I shrug off writing about because I think, “everybody knows about that!”  But based on some positive feedback I’ve received since starting this blog, I’m beginning to think that might not necessarily be true.  When my first son was born, I had only lived in Columbus for 3 years.  I’d spent a lot of time exploring Columbus as a person without kids, but I had never really needed to find out what there was to do with kids . . . until I had one in my possession!  Once I became a mom, it was a whole new world.  Places I used to go seemed too ambitious when toting around a diaper bag and pushing a stroller, and some were certainly not kid friendly (why is everything around me suddenly breakable??)!  I relied on other mom friends to give me the low down on what to do with this little bundle of joy that was holding me hostage in my house!

So this post is for you if you are a first time parent or new to Columbus!  Let me be that other mother who gives you the skinny on where we’re all taking our kids when we (I mean they) need to get out of the house!

zootext1.  The Columbus Zoo.  The Zoo is a great place to have a membership.  Even if your little one is just a babe, it’s a great place for you to get out and get some exercise while the little one naps in the stroller.  There’s lots for you to see, even if your little one doesn’t yet care about animals . . . take advantage of this time because once they do care, your zoo trips will become a lot more narrow.  You might think you’re going to see animals, but then you find yourself spending your whole trip to the zoo at the playground and the gift shop.  This is why having a membership is great.  You can go to the zoo without the pressure of feeling like you have to see the whole thing in one trip.  You can go one week and spend an hour at the Africa exhibit and go home, then come again the next week and play at a new playground.  If you just had a baby, you might not even know the zoo has playgrounds.  When we were kid-less, my husband and I took my niece and nephew to the zoo.  We were really excited for our first trip to the zoo since moving to Columbus and all they wanted to do was go to the playground.  Consider yourself warned!  🙂 kidspace

2.  COSI.  Everyone knows about COSI, right?  I remembered visiting COSI as a child.  I had vivid memories of rat basketball and that static electricity ball, but as an adult, I had no idea they had an extensive little kidspace for the Kindergarten and under crowd!  It would take all my fingers and toes and then some to count the number of times I have gone to COSI and ONLY gone to little kidspace.  As a Columbus parent this is another must have membership, even if you only have a toddler.  For an average of about $10/month, cheaper than one adult visit to COSI, you can have access to one of the best indoor play places in Columbus.  Not only are there plenty of areas for free play, there are water tables, an art studio for painting and other crafty things, baby-specific areas for soft play and a private nursing room!library

3.  Libraries.  When you become a parent, you probably envision taking your child to the library, picking out books, and going to story time.  In Columbus, it’s one of our greatest resources as parents, in my opinion.  All libraries have story time for all ages, but you might not know that most libraries have some kind of baby lap time.  I took my first son to Baby Games at Grandview Library when he was 5 weeks old.  Okay, so he slept through the whole thing, but I got to sit next to another mommy friend of mine and socialize with another adult!  These baby times are usually grouped by age 0-18 months and 18-36 months.  It’s a great way to start your introduction to the kid’s area of your local library!

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4.  Barnes and Noble.  Before you had kids, you may have had very little reason to spend much time in the kid’s area at Barnes and Noble.  We live about a mile from a Barnes and Noble and loved going there as kid-less adults.  Of course, once you take kids with you, gone are the days of sitting down reading a magazine and sipping coffee.  So adjust your expectations accordingly!  But the kids areas have a train table, books to read (duh!) and a stage area where story times are held – usually on Saturday mornings.  It starts out like this:  you take your toddler to the kids area, hoping they will just stay there and play with the train while you sip your coffee and read People Magazine.  But they run, because they are 14 months old and have the attention span of a fly.  They take down every baby book off the shelf, all the stuffed animals and every Thomas train.  They get older, and you just start to be able to sit in one place for about 5 minutes looking at your book, aaaannndddd then you have another baby.  Sleeping baby will sit with you at B&N for a few months and then they’re on the run again . . . and by the time baby #2 feels like staying at the train table to play, child #1 just wants to look at the LEGOS – which are in a different section, of course.  Oh wait, I’m supposed to be helping you here . . . Seriously though, it’s free and there is the possibility that you will be able to drink coffee.polaris

5.  Polaris Fashion Place.  Malls are great for pushing sleeping babies around in strollers.  Also for exercising with your baby in a stroller.  All area malls have play areas for children.  I’m specifically going to talk about Polaris because it has a few more options you might not know about as a new parent or a parent new to Columbus.  Polaris has a great, shoe-free play area for kids.  It’s sponsored by the Columbus Zoo and the kids can crawl around on life-sized rubber animals or in a treehouse.  I’m going to be  honest here – my oldest never wants to go in there.  He has a thing about having to take his shoes off (??) and he’s a bit reserved so I think the fact that it’s usually pretty busy is overwhelming for him.  So here’s where we spend our time:  Pottery Barn Kids.  PBK has toys out for kids to play with.  My oldest son LOVES to go here.  There’s a girl’s side usually with a kitchen and/or doll house and a boy’s side with the Bat Cave and vehicles.  My kids love to play on both sides.  🙂  There is also a train table in the kid’s clothing section at the department store, Von Maur (which also has a great nursing mother’s room, by the way).  When I had a 3 year old and a baby and I really wanted to get out of the house, I came here a lot because I knew I would have a place to nurse and my older son would be entertained.  Near the train table at Von Maur, there are also puzzles on the wall and a TV that is usually playing Sesame Street.  The third place for kids to play at Polaris is in the food court by Chic Fil A.  This area is relatively fenced in and there are a lot of ride-on vehicles that kids can play in – putting money in them is optional.  My reserved child doesn’t like it when they actually move, so I figure that I’ve saved myself an above average number of quarters in this area.

So these are the “regular” places we have gone quite often since becoming parents.  Don’t keep them to yourselves – use the share buttons below to share the love with your new-parent friends who are just barely keeping their heads above water about now . . . they’ll thank you later, after they’ve started getting at least 4 consecutive hours of sleep . . .


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