5 on Friday: Kid-Friendly Coffee Shops

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As a freelance and contract worker, my husband spends most of his days in some kind of coffee shop setting. When I told him I was putting together a list of kid-friendly coffee shops, he said, “There is such a thing?” The fact that my own husband said such a thing is proof enough this post is needed. 😉 Coffee is a big part of my life, so the kids are gonna have to come along. Here are 5 best-bets for the times when you need to bring the kids:

1. Coffee Connections of Hilliard, Hilliard

This spot has to win the most kid-friendly coffee shop, hands down! Coffee Connections of Hilliard has two buildings. In the front (on Main St.) there is a full-sized coffee shop with two floors of seating areas and in a separate building in the back there is a community room with a play area just for kids upstairs! My kids were so entertained here recently that my husband and I had a nearly uninterrupted coffee date with friends! There is a changing table and even an area for babies to play!

4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026

2, Grandview Grind, Grandview Heights

Grandview Grind has a large seating area and, in the back, there is a couch with a book shelf full of books, games and crayons! I was there recently with my two year old and he even found an Elmo book! There is a large drink menu and treats for sale as well.

1423 A Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

3. Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op, Franklinton

Bottoms Up is a new coffee shop/co-working space in Franklinton. I have been known to stop by this coffee shop with two kids when we’re on our way to somewhere else just to get the Canary Island (an espresso drink made with condensed milk!). You don’t just “stop by” coffee shops with kids, getting them in and out of car seats just for fun, unless the reward is worth it! Also, they have a cute little table where kids can color and great food options!

1069 W.Broad St., Columbus, OH 43222

4. The Bexley Coffee Shop, Bexley

Bexley Coffee Shop is another safe bet for taking the kids! The coffee shop is a pretty good size and there are yummy treats like the chocolate chip coffee cake (pictured above). My 2 year old said, “this is the best chocolate chip cake in the whole galaxy!” so that must be saying something! I like their fun selection of local handmade items and during the summer they have a story time for kids hosted by Bexley Public Library!

492 N. Cassady Ave., Columbus, OH 43209

5. Espresso 22, Powell

If you’re wandering around downtown Powell and you need a pick-me-up, stop in at Espresso 22! They serve One Line Coffee and every day they have a fresh selection of Der Dutchman donuts!  There is a good amount of seating here and it’s very open. These are two things I associate with being kid-friendly! Last time I was there they had a Nutella Latte on the menu. Just sayin’

22 Liberty St., Powell, OH 43065

What coffee shops have you braved with the kids in tow?

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ICYMI: Countdown to Spring: 20 Days to Celebrate in Columbus


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Exploring Dayton with Kids: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Oregon District

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Hi Everyone! I feel like I should make a major disclaimer before you read this post! There aren’t going to be a lot of technical details provided about what you see here, no (or few) historical facts offered to describe the pictures. Not only am I NOT an airplane expert, I also visited this museum with a 2 year old and a 5 year old (along with my husband!). There was not a lot of stopping to read signage or taking of notes. Nope, there was just a lot of running from one thing to see to another! And boy, oh boy, was there a lot to see! I think if you’ve had small children, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So with that in mind, I’m going to give you an overview of what there is to see and how to manage your time with kids at the Air Force Museum!

The first thing you should know about the museum is that it’s free! FREE! 🙂 Okay, now on to the rest!

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There are 4 large buildings that make up the museum. It was my instinct to go in chronological order, starting with the earliest planes and ending with the newest. But as we headed in that direction, a staff member advised us to actually start at the back with the last building, take a snack break at the Refueling Cafe, and continue through towards the front of the museum and end with lunch at the restaurant. His advice was wise, and I pass it on to you!

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Space Shuttle replica

As I mentioned, we started in the 4th building, where there is a Space Gallery. There is a large Space Shuttle replica. There were several simulators where you could attempt to fly the Space Shuttle! It didn’t seem easy, as you can imagine. 😉

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Also in the 4th building is the the Presidential Gallery, where there were several former Air Force One planes. Those were really interesting, as you could walk through a good number of them and many artifacts were left intact!

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The walk-through areas of the planes are completely covered with plexiglass.  A warning: many of the spaces are very narrow to get through! The one shown below was actually one of the wider walkways.

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Between the 4th and 3rd buildings is a Missile Gallery and above it is the Refueling Cafe. By the time we had arrived at the museum, around 11:00 AM, and walked to the back, we were ready for lunch after touring the 4th building – and thankful for the advice we had received from the staff person! The Refueling Cafe offers wraps, salads, pizza, hot dogs and snacks like yogurt, cookies, chips, drinks, and granola bars. We ended up eating lunch here. (It’s worth noting here that no food or drink is allowed to be brought into the museum!) There’s nothing gourmet about the food at the Refueling Cafe, but it is what you would probably consider “kid friendly” and the prices are reasonable. We didn’t check out the Valkyrie Cafe, but it seems pretty kid-friendly, as well, according to the menu.

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Let me stop here to say that we didn’t bring in our stroller. What were we thinking? Well, we were thinking that our newly 2 year old doesn’t want to ride in a stroller anymore, so why bring it? Well, by the end of the first building, we had acquired strollers for both kids! The museum offers them for free and since there is so much ground to cover, the strollers saved us from carrying tired kids!

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The 3rd Building covers the Cold War, the 2nd Building covers the Korean War and Southeast Asia War and the 1st building covers World War II and the Early Years. Here is my non-technical list of just a few of things you can see and do: life-sized depictions of historical moments, airplanes you can sit in, photo galleries, videos to watch, and miniature airplane exhibits. A few examples of these things . . .

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Some of the things we didn’t do include a theater, which shows 3D movies (you can see a list of shows that are being shown at the theater here), and the flight simulators. The flight simulators are $10 a person. There is also a museum store for souvenirs and official Air Force gear!

All in all, I would estimate we spent about 4 hours at the museum. There is so much to see, you have to manage your expectations with young kids. With older kids who are really interested in planes, you could easily spend the whole day!

So, we had a two year old who hadn’t napped yet on our hands, but I had read this article from Columbus Underground a few YEARS ago and I had been wanting to check out the Oregon District ever since. We needed coffee anyway, so we decided to take a chance on a tired kids and check it out!

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This section of town is home to a funky selection of restaurants, galleries, shops, [adult entertainment stores!] and a coffee shop. It’s a fun area for lunch or dinner and to spend an hour or so browsing through shops.

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Our main stop was at Press Coffee Bar for a pick me up for the drive home! Mayson fell asleep in the stroller and slept through his donut opportunity! (Don’t tell!)

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If you stop in the Oregon District, make sure to get your picture here!

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Overall, a really fun day! The trip to the museum was just about an hour for us and the fact that it’s free makes it a great day trip! You could pack a lunch to eat outside the museum, but the food there is also pretty affordable. I would just keep in mind that it’s a lot of walking for little kids, and manage your expectations accordingly! 😉

Know Before You Go:

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
Phone: 937-253-4629
Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Press Coffee Bar

257 Wayne Ave., Dayton, OH 45402
Monday – Thursday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Friday: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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ICYMI: Scenes from the New Albany Classic


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Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield

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With a carousel and children’s museum, downtown Mansfield, Ohio makes for a fun day trip from Columbus!

A few weeks ago, I shared in depth about our trip to Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.  This week I’m going to give you the details on how we spent the whole day in downtown Mansfield, also known as the Carrousel District. If you’re looking for a fun road trip this summer, I think this outing is worth the drive – which is only about an hour from downtown Columbus.

4 Things to do with Kids in Downtown Mansfield, Ohio:

1. Coney Island Diner

Address: 98 N Main St, Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-526-2669

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 6:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM

We started out with lunch at Coney Island Diner. a fun, colorful diner that traces its roots back to 1919!

coney island diner, mansfield ohio

coney island diner in Mansfield Ohio

There’s lots to look at on the walls and a very reasonably priced kids menu (the kids meals were served in fun dinosaur plates!). We made it for an early lunch and beat the rush (it got really busy around noon). If you wanted to make it earlier, they have a decent sized breakfast menu as well. You can view the whole menu here. The kids had fun sitting at the counter (of course they all fought over who got to sit by Grandma)!

kids at Coney Island Diner

2. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

Address: 44 West Fourth St., Mansfield, OH, 44902
Phone: 419-522-2332

Summer Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

After lunch, we walked over to the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, which is where we spent the bulk of our day. The museum is 2 floors full of opportunities for imaginative play for your kids. Designed for ages 12 and under, the museum was a hit with my kids and my nephews!

kids looking at car at Little Buckeye Museum

water table at Little Buckeye Children's Museum in Mansfield

child playing with train track at Little Buckeye Children's Museum

digging for dinosaurs at Little Buckeye Museum in Mansfield Ohio

Much of the museum is set up like a town with areas to play like an auto repair shop, grocery store, hair salon, school house, and more. There is also an area for water play, vehicles to ride on, a baby area and space for birthday parties. You can read in depth about our visit to the museum here.

3. Relax it’s Just Coffee

Address: 105 North Main St., Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-522-1521

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM –5:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

After 3 hours at the museum, a few of us adults had to make a stop at Relax it’s Just Coffee for our afternoon pick me up! There was a good looking selection of baked goods (one of my weaknesses) and a definite artsy vibe.

Relax It's Just Coffee in downtown Mansfield, Ohio

inside Relax it's Just Coffee in Mansfield

father and son in downtown Mansfield Ohio

If we were kid-free I would have loved to spend more time here – you know, actually sit down at a table and leisurely drink my coffee, but we all know that is not how coffee is consumed once you become a parent.

4. Richland Carrousel Park

Address: 75 N. Main Street, Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-522-4223

Summer Hours (through Labor Day):
Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Monday – Thursday 10 AM – 5 PM
Labor Day through Memorial Day:  Monday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Richland Carrousel Park, Mansfield Ohio

Coffee in hand, we headed down the street to the carrousel. This carrousel was built in 1991 and has 52 figures to ride on, including a couple of chariots to sit in if your kids are too little or afraid to ride by themselves. There are also several rocking chairs to sit in around the carrousel for those who just want to observe. 

Tickets to ride the carrousel are purchased inside the gift shop where there are also concessions available. Ages 2 and under are free and all others are $1 per ride or 6 rides for $5. I don’t think you can go to the Carrousel District without stopping for a ride on the carrousel. It just wouldn’t be right, would it?

carousel in mansfield ohio

kids on the carrousel in mansfield ohio

Some of us ended up back at Coney Island Diner for hand dipped ice cream. (That would be those of us who didn’t partake in the caffeine break a few minutes earlier – if only I had known! (Ice cream is my first weakness).)

Here’s what I love about this day trip to downtown Mansfield – you can park in one spot and walk to all of these places. I really hate dislike getting my kids in and out of the car a million times during an outing.

There is a public parking lot at the corner of Main St. and Fourth St. You can park there for 3 hours. That might not be long enough to do all of these things, so if you’re lucky enough to have another adult with you, send them to move the car. 😉 There is also metered parking on the street and street parking is free on the weekends!

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