3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Eryn Gilson

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus! Thanks to Eryn for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Cambridge Tea House

My oldest daughter and I love Cambridge Tea House.  It is our go to spot for mommy/daughter dates, lunch before our annual Christmas shopping trip, to celebrate good news, really any excuse to leave the boys at home and escape for some girl time. 🙂 The experience is everything, we have so much fun chatting  about Kindergarten over scones and tea. I hope we will be able to continue this tradition through her high school years and into adulthood.  You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu – my daughter loves the Princess Tea (complete with a tiara to wear during your time there), we both love the scones and they have THE BEST tea. I’m kind of a tea snob so I promise you’ll love it.  Note: They are closed on Mondays and I highly recommend making reservations.

2. Columbus Metro Parks – Prairie Oaks and Inniswood Are Our Current Favs

You can’t really go wrong with any of the wonderful Metro Parks in Columbus but I am just sharing my top two because I could talk for days about all of them. 🙂 Prairie Oaks is our go to for those moments we need to get out of the house, donut picnics on Saturday morning, or nature walks – it’s about 10 minutes from our house and even on the weekends there is a max of 4 other families there with us.  My kiddos love the playground and I love that I can see both of them even if one is playing on the jungle gym and one is climbing the hill to the slides.  We also really enjoy exploring the walking paths and the lakes.

Inniswood Metro Gardens is a favorite for family pictures, exploring, and nature walks. They offer GREAT summer programs which is a huge bonus. They offer so many educational programs year round but the summer programs are some of our favorites.  Inniswood is so beautiful, while walking around we talk about colors, bees, types of flowers, dirt, gardening, and so much more. It really opens up so many wonderful conversations with my kids.

3. North Market

I am passionate about sharing my love for shopping and eating local with my kids and The North Market is one of the best places for me to share that passion with them. From picking up fresh flowers or grabbing a bite to eat while we’re downtown, or heading to the Farmers Market there on Saturday morning, we can’t get enough.  We each have our favorite spots in The North Market but really you can’t go wrong.  I love Little Eater and Dos Hermanos, my husband is obsessed with Hot Chicken Takeover (but come on who isn’t?), my daughter goes back and forth between Destination Donuts and Taste of Belgium, and my son loves Sarafino’s.  We also love exploring the area using this scavenger hunt from one of my fav local bloggers. Make a day of it and head just a few steps away to explore Goodale Park or take your picture in front of the infamous teal and orange wall.

We are so lucky in Columbus to have so many amazing opportunities to explore, learn, and play.  My husband and I are passionate about showing our kids the world and giving them plenty of opportunities to explore. We are proud to live in a city that gives us the opportunities to do and share so much with our kids so effortlessly. When Julie asked me to write about our top three favorite places – I knew it would be a challenge because we love so many places but I think I’ve narrowed it down pretty well.  Above are our top 3 favorite places but it needs to be said we also love going out for ice cream, hiking, exploring art exhibits, attending the theatre, and so much more.  Make sure to follow along with me over at 614 Mom (Facebook and Instagram as well)  to learn more about the places we love.


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ICYMI: Peach Picking Fun at Branstool Orchards

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Peach Picking Fun at Branstool Orchards

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This post was written in partnership with Branstool Orchards.

Peaches at the grocery store are hit or miss, am I right? Mostly miss, in my opinion. I’m always afraid to buy them because they usually disappoint. There is nothing like a sweet, juicy peach, but they are just hard to come by at your local grocery store.

Did you know you could pick your own peaches in Central Ohio? I’ll be honest, I did not. I figured peaches had to come on a truck from Georgia, therefore they were picked early with a makeshift calculation for landing on the shelf at peak ripeness. (Can you tell I’m a little bitter about grocery store peaches?)

Little did I know, amazing, juicy, sweet peaches are yours to be had less than an hour down the road from downtown Columbus (Ohio, not Columbus, GA 😉 )! Branstool Orchards is a beautiful spot off Route 62 in Utica, OH where you can pick your own peaches! (And not just peaches! Apples and pears are available, too!)

Picking your own peaches at Branstool Orchards is a relaxing and family-friendly experience. Kids are encouraged to take part, dogs are welcome, and there are picnic tables throughout the orchard where you can stop and have a snack or a picnic! Branstool Orchards wants your family to have a good time when you visit! They want it to be an outing where your whole family is relaxed and enjoying the process, not just the end result!

You can pick up a wagon (for either your kids or your peaches) and stroll through the orchard. I think most kids LOVE this kind of thing! It’s so good for them to make the connection about where their food comes from, and I think they enjoy it more when they know they’ve hand-picked what they’re eating.

I don’t know many kids you have to convince to eat a peach, but mine can be weird about eating a lot of things I personally think are delicious, so you never know. I do know that being able to pick the peaches and eat them out in the orchard made my kids 100% willing to eat them at home – something that is never a given!

You guys, it’s beautiful! It’s relaxing and unpretentious. Are there farms that are pretentious? I don’t know, but that just feels like a good way to describe the orchard!

Peach season is typically July through September. This year things came a little early at the orchard, so they are expecting just 2-3 more weeks of peach availability! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on what peaches are currently available.

If you don’t have time to pick your own, no worries! Pre-picked peaches are available in the market.

Branstool Orchards handpicks their own peaches at the perfect point of ripeness and then employees hand sort them, picking out “seconds” that don’t meet their quality standards. We got to see this first hand, and you can too, as the workspace is visible from and attached to the market. Don’t worry, the “seconds” don’t go to waste, you can buy them at a reduced price for canning or jam!

Branstool Orchards is partnering with several local businesses: Columbus Brewing Company is using Branstool peaches for a peach beer! If you head down the road to Velvet Ice Cream Factory, you can get a peach sundae made from Branstool peaches!  Urban Spreads uses Branstool peaches in their jam, sold at the market! So many amazing ways to eat (or drink) a peach!

Another great thing about the produce grown at Branstool Orchards is their chemical-free initiatives. Over the past several years they have been reducing their use of chemical pesticides by using mating disruption and companion planting. You can read more about that here. They also polish their apples instead of using the wax you will find on your grocery store apples which is another bonus!

With the exception of just a few items, everything in the farm market is from Ohio. The produce that is not peaches, apples or pears is from local Amish farms, provided for your one-stop convenience, and (just so you know) there are also two options for cobbler topping available for purchase! 😉

If you can’t make it out for peaches, Apples will be available to pick until November! You can see the approximate ripening dates here and make a plan for this fall!

I hope you and your kids can carve out a day for peach picking before the season ends!

Know Before You Go:

Website: Branstool Orchards
Address: 5895 Johnstown-Utica Rd NE, Utica, OH 43080
Phone: 740-892-3989
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM-6:00PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

  • It is recommended that you allow at least 1 hour for U-Pick.
  • U-Pick peaches are $1.50/lb.
  • There is a $10 minimum for peach-picking.
  • Boxes are provided for picking.


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ICYMI: Your Kid’s First Swim Lesson at Goldfish Swim School: What to Expect

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Columbus Ohio

What Should We Do This Weekend? August 18-20, 2017

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1. Commons for Kids

When: Friday, August 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

Head down to Columbus Commons for a fun morning that includes free carousel rides, bounce houses, the Imagination Playground, crafts, games and more! This week’s guests include OSU Urban Arts Space, WeJoySing, Columbus Folk Music Society, Grange Insurance Audubon Center and Ronald McDonald Adventures!

2. KidX Club: Touch-A-Truck Preview at Polaris Fashion Place

When: Friday, August 18, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 1500 Polaris Pkwy, Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-846-1500

Preview the Polaris Fashion Place’s Touch-A-Truck event a day early by attending the KidX Club program! There will be trucks, treats, prizes and more! KidX Summer Series will be at the fountain in the outdoor part of the mall. Rain location will be inside at the play area. Bring a book to donate to Columbus Metropolitan Library and you can pick a prize from the treasure chest!

3. The 2017 Columbus Food Truck Festival at Bicentennial Park

When: Friday & Saturday, August 18 & 19, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Location: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

The 7th Annual Food Truck Festival has a new location this year: Bicentennial Park & Scioto Mile. The event includes over 50 food trucks, live performances, and a crafter and merchant area! Admission is free!

4. Movies in the Park – featuring SING at Westgate Park

When: Friday, August 18, 2017
Time:  8:30 PM – 10:35 PM
Location: 455 S. Westgate Ave., Columbus, OH 43204

Bring a blanket or chair to watch Sing in the park! Refreshments are available for purchase. In case of rain, the movie will moved inside the Westgate Recreaion Center.

5. Classic Movie Series at Everal Barn

When: Friday, August 19, 2017
Time: 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Location: 60 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081

Watch the movie Cars at Everal Barn starting at dusk! Bring blankets and chairs to this free event!

6. WAG! Dog Festival at Prairie Oaks Metro Park

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 2755 Amity Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026

The region’s largest dog festival is a free, family-friendly event that includes live entertainment, contests, and a marketplace!

7. MMA Insurance Family Fun Day in Victory Park

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 100 Lockville Rd, Pickerington, OH 43147

This free family fun day includes free food, inflatable bounce houses, face painting, prizes, and much more!

8. KidX: Touch-A-Truck at Polaris Fashion Place

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 1500 Polaris Pkwy, Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-846-1500

Big trucks will be on display in the outdoor area at Polaris Fashion Place including a school bus, The Chiller Zamboni, sheriff’s vehicles, fire trucks, dump truck and more!

9. U-Pick Zestar at The Orchard & Co.

When: Saturday & Sunday, August 19 & 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 7255 US HWY 42 S., Plain City, OH 43064
Phone: 614-873-0510

The first weekend of U-Pick opens on Saturday at The Orchard & Co! This weekend will be Zestar apples! While supplies last! See our trip to Orchard & Co. here.

10. End of Summer Luau at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 1125 N. Hamilton Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230

Columbus Moms Blog is hosting this End of Summer Luau with Fresh Thyme! Join this family-friendly event which includes a scavenger hunt, snacks, freshly squeezed juice giveaways and a visit from the Polynesian Princess! A Fresh Thyme dietitian will also be on site to discuss healthy meal ideas! The event is free but you must register online.

11. Grove City Eco Fest in Grove City Town Center

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Grove City Town Center, Park Street & Arbutus Ave.
Phone: 614-277-3050

This celebration of healthy and green living includes a Kids Zone which features soccer challenges, face painting, DIY workshops, COSI science stations and animals from the Columbus Zoo! Other activities include interactive family activities, food and merchandise vendors and more!

12. Books & Breakfast at 4th Street Farms

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 1377 N. 4th St., Columbus, OH 43201

Enjoy a story in the garden and pick fresh food!

13. Scratch Art Animal Masks at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone:  614-715-8000

Kids can make a scratch-away animal mask at this event! Free with admission or membership.

14. Sunbury Sizzle and Sounds at Sunbury Square

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Location: Sunbury Town Square

Sunbury’s 7th annual food and music festival includes live entertainment, food vendors, craft vendors, and a huge Kids Zone including a petting zoo, giant slide, bounce houses, small carnival rides, bull riding and more! All activities are free! (The Kids Zone is open from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.)

15. Sensory Friendly Films at Gateway Film Center

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 1550 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: 614-247-4433

The Ohio State University Nisonger Center and Gateway Film Center host a sensory friendly showing of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 with lower volume and lights kept up. Tickets are free!

16. Mill Run Free Summer Concert at Mill Run Amphiteather

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 3500 Mill Run Dr., Hilliard, OH 43026

This free, family-friendly concert features The British Invasion!

17. Family Fun Night at Rule 3

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: 650 Windmiller Dr., Pickerington, OH 43147
Phone: 614-864-7853

Family Fun Night includes face painting, bounce houses, corn hole, live music, bocce ball and photo ops with characters!

18. Book to Film Summer Movie Series in The Topiary Park

When: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: Movie starts at 8:00 PM
Location: 480 E. Town St., Columbus, OH 43215

This month’s movie is The Devil Wears Prada. The evening includes free popcorn and a food truck!

Need more? Make sure to check out Summer Nights in Columbus: Something to do Every Night of the Week!

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ICYMI: Your Kid’s First Swim Lesson at Goldfish Swim School: What to Expect

*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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