What Should We Do This Weekend? Jan 29-31, 2016

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Here are five things you can do with your kids this weekend!

1.  Carpe Diem’s Free Family Concerts

Date: Sunday, January 31, 2016
Location: McConnell Arts Center
Hours: Sunday 1-1:45 p.m.
Address: 777 Evening Street, Worthington, 43085
Phone: 614-431-0329, 614-205-8160

Carpe Diem String Quartet’s free Sunday concerts for families are fun, hands on, and entertaining! All ages are welcome!

2.  Family Fun at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: Songbirds

Date: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Admission: $13 (free for members)
Address: 1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Make a colorful paper songbird to brighten up your winter day. Free with admission.

3.  Family Friday Night at COSI

COSI offers extended hours (open until 9PM!) and price reduced admission to families so you can visit, learn, and play late! General admission is only $11 after 5pm and includes all of COSI’s permanent exhibitions. (Free for members.)

4.  Pre-K Storytime at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Join one of our dynamic volunteers for Preschool Story Time at 10am on Thursday and Saturday mornings. Enjoy a nature based story in our beautiful library and bird viewing room. After the story your little ones can romp and play in the Forest Room where they can dress up like birds, play with puppets and climb into the tree tops in our forest.

These are drop-in programs, registration is not required.

Place: Grange Insurance Audubon Center
505 W. Whittier St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Date:  Saturday, January 30, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM
Fee: Free
Age Range:  3-5

5.  Saturday Story Stomp!

Date: Saturday January 30, 2016
Time: 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Location: Karl Road Library, 5590 Karl Rd., Columbus, OH 43229

Age Group: 2-6 years
An active storytime with plenty of books, music and movement for children ages 2-6 and their families


*Please be aware that most information has been taken from the websites of these organizations and is subject to change.  Please call ahead to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

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The Little Green House

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{Updated: The Little Green House is closed as of 10/21/17}

The Little Green House is my go to indoor play area. Probably because it’s the closest to me, but also because it’s the cheapest (to my knowledge – but PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong!). Children over 6 months are $5 a piece. The play area is shoe-free and there is a nice area to hang coats and cubbies for shoes. If it’s summer, remember to pack a pair of socks! There is a good selection of healthy snacks to purchase for kids and parents alike. Coffee is $1.60/cup with FREE REFILLS!

Another reason I love the Little Green House is because you can sit in one place and see the whole play area. In my mind, this is a major plus, especially if you have more than one kid with you! This also makes it a great place for meeting a friend because it’s small enough that you can sit together and talk, while still being able to see your children at all times.


The Little Green House is open Monday through Friday from 9-4. Occasionally, I find these hours to be a bummer. Two reasons: 1. I OFTEN need to kill time between the hours of 3 and 5 PM. I would LOVE to take my kids here at this time, when they’re up from quiet time and naps, and when they’ve spent the whole day in the house and are ready for a change of scenery. 2. There have been many a rainy/cold Saturday morning that I have considered going here or even asked a friend to meet me and then remembered they aren’t open. They do reserve Saturdays and Sundays for special events and birthday parties. I’m sure they have their reasons for closing at 4 PM, but that’s just my two cents and something to be aware of when you’re planning.

My kids love this place first and foremost for the fire truck!


There’s a small “town” with activities inside each building – an animal clinic, a house, the fire station and a grocery store. There’s also a fun slide that’s perfect for younger kids.












Most kids (mine included) seem to love pushing around the shopping carts. There is play food and play money and a cash register that is also popular. There are also toys that are geared towards babies, if you happen to be bringing along a younger, less mobile sibling! There’s truly something for everyone in the under-school-aged crowd!

Off to the side, but still in view of the activity, is a seating area for eating. You can bring your own lunch or purchase something to eat. We packed a lunch today. Everyone else cleared out at 12:00, we stayed to eat our lunch, played a few minutes and then went home for naptime.


There is a parking lot, but since it is shared with a couple other businesses, it can be full at times. You should know that it’s okay to park in the sections of the parking lot that used to be a drive thru. I was unclear about this the first couple of times I visited, but have since come to utilize some of these spaces.

The Little Green house is connected to Bellwether Kitchen, which provides meals for the affiliated daycares AND take home meals that you can order ahead of time. It always smells good in there when we’re playing!

Today’s outing to The Little Green House saved my sanity! My kids were melting down on the kitchen floor, screaming their heads off before we left! Within minutes of arriving they were playing happily and independently! Now that is a win!

Know Before You Go:

Hours: M-F 9-4

Cost: $5 per child over 6 mo

Contact Info:

808 Grandview Ave.
Grandview, OH 43215

Also:  Bring socks, it is a “shoe-free zone”, outside food is allowed.


If you’ve been to the Little Green House, can you offer any other tips for first-timers?

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Aquarium Adventure

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Yesterday we took a trip to Aquarium Adventure.  You know, I used to feel kind of weird for taking Jaden here until I saw that Aquarium Adventure posted an ad in Columbus Parent telling parents to bring their kids here to look at fish!  Permission granted!

I stumbled upon Aquarium Adventure a few years ago out of curiosity.  I’m sure, as parents, we’ve all spent more than our fair share of time in the shopping plaza anchored by Babies ‘R Us off Sawmill Road.  As your bump turns into a baby, you probably, like me, travelled down the plaza to Carter’s and then, eventually, to Michael’s to entertain the thought that, one day, you might once again have time to do something crafty (hence the bag of unused crochet needles and yarn in my closet – I had a 6 month old, WHAT WAS I THINKING?).  Then, when the euphoria wore off, you realized the kid’s craft section is fun entertainment for your preschooler.  Eventually you end up at the other end of the strip:  Aquarium Adventure.

This place is pretty awesome.  As you can see from these pictures, it’s pretty large, has a ton of different fish, and even caters to visiting children.  (I’m just going to interrupt here to say that since I am not an underwater expert, I am going to refer to most of the living creatures we saw here as “fish”, though I do realize that might not be the correct term!)  What is especially entertaining is the large tanks they have with bigger fish . . . and this time, a stingray!


There used to be a creepy looking fish in the large tank that Jaden was afraid of.  It has since been replaced by a stingray – with caution tape advising you to stay behind the line while viewing!  My kids circled this tank, coming back and forth to it many times.  They also loved the turtles – the real ones and the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety!



We got to see one of the workers feed the piranhas – she invited my kids to watch, which I thought was pretty nice.  There is also a “Touch Me Tidepool” complete with towels for wiping wet hands.  Jaden was cautious when I read off the list of things you could touch and he heard the word “crabs”.  There was no way he was putting his hand in that pool!  Though to be honest, I didn’t see any crabs!  Mayson probably would have dove in head first, so I didn’t call too much attention to this opportunity.




As with most of my daily outings, I combined a legitimate errand on my part with something fun for my kids to do. They could have stayed at Aquarium Adventure all morning! We were probably there for at least 30 minutes as it was, but I was on a mission to Whole Foods to pick up a few groceries, which leads me to part two of the morning.

Whole Foods itself can be a fun experience for kids, but I find that my kids, like the food, have an expiration date in grocery stores. Grocery shopping is a race against the clock for me, and it can quickly decompensate into a seriously stressful experience. Whole Foods often helps stretch the time by offering samples of food and the promise of time in the play area if they can hold it together long enough for me to compare labels on the nitrate-free bacon.

On this trip, I’ll admit, I also picked up two chocolate chip muffins to sweeten the trip.


After checking out, we made our way to the play area so I could sit and stare into space (every parent’s dream) and the kids could play while we ate our muffins.  The play area at the Whole Foods on Sawmill is nice in that it is pretty closed off, is close to the bathroom and has a lot of nice seating in the area.  In my opinion, it is not the cleanest and that is a drawback.  Maybe this is a stereotype, but my expectations are a little higher for Whole Foods.  But I let them play anyway, and they had a lot of fun.


Overall, this was a good morning for us.  It was a happy combination of fun things for the kids and mom accomplishing a goal.  This outing took about 2.5 hours for us, including drive time.  At 18 months old, Mayson loved seeing the fish and was tall enough to see into enough fish tanks to make it worth it.  You could easily combine this trip with lunch at Whole Foods, and if it was warm, you could potentially walk between the two locations (because I am all about reducing the amount of times you have to get kids in and out of the car!).  Has anyone else checked it out?


Know before you go:

Location: 3632 W Dublin Granville Rd, Columbus, OH 43235

Cost:  Free

Parking:  Large parking lot in front of store

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