This list of free things to do in Columbus, Ohio will keep you and the kids busy and cabin-fever free this Winter!
Winter is tough with kids. I’m sure some of you die hards will disagree, but for me it takes so much more effort to get out of the house: coats, gloves, hats, taking off coats for carseats, defrosting the car. And the list goes on. But I’ve put together a list of free kid-friendly things to do around Columbus that will make all the effort worth it! Good luck! 🙂
25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter:
1. Watch planes take off at Ohio State University Airport.
2. Tour Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory. Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the winter. (I consider this free because at the end you get to use your admission price ($2 for adults and $1 for kids) towards a purchase of candy in the gift shop! 😉 ).
3. Play at The Naz indoor play area in Grove City. This one’s open until 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM on weekdays!
4. See the Living Stream at Battelle Darby Metro Park.
5. Look for the bison at Battelle Darby Metro Park. (A brisk .5 mile walk from the Nature Center!)
6. Attend a story time at Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Story times are typically Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:00 AM. Afterwards play in the free indoor play area!
7. Check out a free “culture pass” to Franklin Park Conseratory, Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio History Center at a participating Columbus Metropolitan Library branch for free access. Participating libraries include Driving Park, Martin Luther King, Shepard, Karl Road, Linden, Northern Lights, Northside and Whetstone. Call 614-645-2275 to check for availability.
8. Go to Columbus Museum of Art on a Sunday. Admission is free on Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
9. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Days (the first Sunday of each month). Residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus get in free with valid ID during regular operating hours (10:00 AM – 5:00 PM).
10. Get a free cup of coffee or glass of milk when you buy a cookie at Sassafras Bakery during Milk and Cookie Happy Hour.
11. Play in the kids area at Coffee Connections in Hilliard. (After you buy a cup of coffee, of course!)
12. Visit the totally cute Story Garden at Northwest Library in Worthington.
13. Play in Småland, the awesome indoor childcare area for free for one hour at IKEA. IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders) get an extra half hour (and free coffee)! Kids must be between the ages of 4 and 10 and potty trained!
14. Watch for birds at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park Nature Center.
15. Play at Central Park at Westerville Christian Church. Check the link for hours because they are very specific!
16. Attend KidX at Polaris Fashion Place! This monthly event features free activities for kids!
17. Participate in the Winter Reading Challenge at Columbus Library. Kids get a pencil and bookmark just for signing up!
18. Look for fairies on the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.
19. Play free arcade games at Old North Arcade (with the purchase of a drink or food)! Old North Arcade is kid-friendly until 8:00 PM. (You might want to cover their eyes to avoid seeing some of the writing inside the bathroom stalls – don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
20. Look at art at Pizzuti Collection on Sundays – Pizzuti Collection is now part of Columbus Museum of Art, meaning admission is also free here on Sundays as well! The details have changed a bit, but you can get an idea of what to expect from our visit a few years ago.
21. Attend one of these story times. The Cheryl’s Cookies story time includes a free mini cookie!
22. Read 5 books and get a free kid’s meal at Rusty Bucket. (Check the link for a whole list of Kids Eat Free options!)
23. Go on a Winter Hike with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. Hot drinks and food provided afterwards!
24. Visit the dinosaur at Orton Hall. Click the link for a list of things to do with your kids on the campus of The Ohio State University! Read more about this in my list of free indoor activities for kids in Columbus!
25. Visit the fish (and other interesting sea creatures) at Aquarium Adventure in Hilliard! There’s even a hands-on pool!
Need more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio
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*Please be aware, information is gathered from multiple community sources. Times, dates and locations are subject to change. Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities. Enjoy what you do today!*
Tuesday 8th of December 2020
This is very nice and informative post. This visit help a lot for the kids. Thank for the post.