Indoor Fun Around Columbus: 6 Things to Do Before Spring!

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Here are some indoor activities to do around Columbus before it gets warm! Though the winter has been pretty mild, I’m still counting down until park days, evening walks and no more winter coats! If you’re getting stir crazy in the house, pick one of these ideas for a fun outing with the kids!

1. Brick of Dreams

  • UPDATE: Brick of Dreams closed in the Fall of 2017
  • 6190 Shamrock Ct., Suite C, Dublin, OH 43016

Brick of Dreams is a fun way to spend an hour or two free-building with LEGO and DUPLO blocks! You pay per kid, per hour to have full access to the thousands of LEGO bricks available! Around the room are shelves full of containers filled with LEGOs, pick one out, sit at one of the many tables and go to town! There are also DUPLO blocks for the younger crowd and a race track for your creations with wheels! I took my 5 year old for an hour one morning and it flew by! Keep an eye out for the President’s Day special – $5/hour/kid. (Regular cost is $7/hour/kid).

2. Mindbender Mansion and Amazing Mazes at COSI

  • 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

COSI has a new exhibit going on until April 30, 2017. It’s on the second floor and it’s filled with illusions, mazes and mysteries! Kids can create their own mazes, solve mysteries, try to figure out optical illusions and wind their way through mazes themselves! (To be honest, it’s pretty fun for adults, too!) This exhibit is free with admission or membership. We were recently hosted by COSI and invited to try the new Bean Sprouts menu in the Atomic Café. The menu offers healthy options for kids (and adults!) The P-moji Pizza and Chicken Presto Chango sandwich were really good!

3. Milk and Cookie Happy Hour at Sassafras Bakery

I know, I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but cookies are always worth mentioning again, in my book! 😉 I often find the hardest hour of the day to pass is from 4:00 – 5:00 PM. So if you need a little cheer to get you through the last part of the afternoon, head to Sassafras Bakery for Milk and Cookie Happy Hour from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. You get a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with each cookie purchased. (Most cookies are $2).

4. Gramercy Books

  • 2424 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209

Gramercy Books is a new independent bookstore in Bexley. There is a great selection of children’s books! If your kids love books and reading, they will love it here! On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, they will host Sunday Storytime for kids at 12:00 PM. Attached to the bookstore is Kittie’s, a wonderful little coffee shop and bakery! Put the two together and you have a perfect outing!

5. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

  • 4004 Main St, Hilliard, OH 43026

Coffee Connections is a coffee shop with a mission to build community. Located in Old Hilliard, the shop has two buildings. The front (on Main St.) is where the coffee is made and served and in the back building, on the second floor, there is a play area for kids! As long as you’ve got coffee in hand, this play area is free! It is geared toward the younger crowd, I’d say 5 and under, but there is a lot of space to sit and catch up with a friend while your kids play!

6. Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

  • 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

There are just a few more weeks to see Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art.The exhibit is on display until February 26, 2017 and is included in admission or membership. Also, remember that admission is free on Sundays! Along with the large LEGO display, there are bricks for free building, and a LEGO Pokemon scavenger hunt!

If you’re looking for more fun {INDOOR} ideas, check out 20 FREE Indoor Play Areas in Columbus or my post for Columbus Moms Blog: 5 FREE Kid-Friendly Columbus Outings!

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ICYMI: Save Money on LEGO Sets with BrickSmarts

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MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

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My kids love trains! I have been to *almost* every place on this list! When Jaden was 3, he could have gone to Barnes and Noble every single day to play with Thomas. This list isn’t so much for your kids as it is for you! Of course your kids will love these places, but this list is to keep YOU from going insane from doing the same thing every day! 😉 A good number of these things are special events that are only available for a short time! So check the list and mark your calendars because many of those are coming up this month! You, too, can be a really useful engine! 😉

1. Paul Busse Model Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory, downtown Columbus

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The train in the picture below is up nearly year round, but the one above makes a special appearance during the holidays! Check the link for info on Merry and Bright!

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2. Grandview Library, Grandview Heights

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One great library with a train table!

3. Huntington Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library, downtown Columbus

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The Huntington Holiday Train arrives in mid-November and the Main Library hosts an Open House on November 30th, which will include hot chocolate and cookies, crafts and the lighting of Topiary Park! For even more trains, keep an eye on the Hilliard and Gahanna branches which will offer Polar Express programs this year!

4. Ohio Railway Museum, Worthington

The museum has been working on repairing the tracks so no train rides are available as of today, but they hope to be up and running for the holidays!

5. The Train Station, Clintonville

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Model trains are for sale here and they also have a small play area for kids!

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6. Moody Street Trains, Clintonville

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Model trains are for sale here and there is a train table for playing. On Saturday, December 3, 2016, they will host the 2nd Annual National Lionel Train Day which will feature prizes, face painting and a visit from Santa!

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7. Model Railroad Days at COSI, downtown Columbus

Model Railroad Days are November 16-20, 2016 this year and large model train sets are available for viewing and there are also trains to play with! During the weekend you can watch the movie Rocky Mountain Express in the theater. At Christmastime, The Polar Express is shown as well! (p.s. there is also a train to play with in the little kidspace at COSI!)

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8. Barnes and Noble, various locations

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Barnes and Noble offers the hope that your children will play with trains while you quietly sip coffee and read a magazine.

9. Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard

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The Hilliard Branch is a fun library for kids and has a Chuggington train table.

10. Von Maur, Polaris Fashion Place

In the children’s section of the store, there is a train that runs along the wall and a train table for playing!

11. Easton Express Railway, Easton Town Center

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This outdoor train track is always decorated for whatever season it happens to be and is a big hit with the kids!

12. BrickUniverse, Columbus Convention Center

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There are lots of working LEGO trains at this once-a-year LEGO Expo!

13. Delaware County Model Railroaders’ Open Houses, Delaware

Model railroads are set up on these special open-house dates!

14. Great Train Show at Ohio Expo Center

This expo is coming January 14-15, 2017 and includes model railroads, train dealers, hands-on exhibits and more!

15. Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville

We stumbled upon this train track behind the offices at Inniswood. I couldn’t find any info on if/when it is used, but if you know, please leave a comment below!

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16. Holiday Train Display at Ohio History Center

This special train is on exhibit during the holiday season! It will be on display November 28, 2016 – January 4, 2017.

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There are other trains on the grounds of the Ohio History Center year round, including one inside the building that can be sat in, and the one seen below that sits outside.

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17. Schiller Park in German Village

This is a great park with a train that can be played on!

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18. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

This park is affectionately known as “the train park” – and aptly so!

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19. Henceroth Park, Grove City

This park offers lots of vehicles to play on including a jeep, boat and this wooden train!

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20. North America Train Ride at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

For $1 per person, you can ride a train around the North American exhibit at the zoo!

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21. Christmas Time Open House at Central Ohio Model Railroad Club

For 4 weekends in December, the club puts on an open house featuring giant model railroad layouts, an interactive Thomas the Tank Engine display and more! Admission is free!

22. Open Garden Tour by the members of Columbus Garden Railway Society

On the second Sunday in September, members of the Columbus Garden Railway Society open their houses (gardens!) for a tour of their own Garden Railroads!

BEYOND COLUMBUS . . .

23. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, Mansfield

One of the larger exhibits at the Little Buckeye Museum is the model train display and nearby train tables for playing!

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24. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, Bellevue

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There are tons of trains on display here, may of which you can climb aboard! This museum has indoor and outdoor components and the gift shop has a train table for playing!

25. Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc., Findlay

This organization offers train rides and holiday events (including the North Pole Express), a museum, gift shop and model train displays!

26. The Buckeye Express Diner, Bellville

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Eat dinner in an OSU-themed train car! There is a train playground outside too!

27. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison

This museum has a railroad car just for kids, model trains and a scavenger hunt just for kids!

 28. Lodi Station Outlets, Lodi

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This outlet mall is built with a train theme! You can purchase tickets to take a train ride around the property!

29. EnterTAINment Junction, West Chester

This venue offers displays, a museum, seasonal rides and a funhouse!

30. Day Out with Thomas, various locations

These special days only happen a few times a year at Ohio locations and include a 25-minute train ride, kids activities, live music and more!

31. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Northeast Ohio

The trains here run mainly on the weekends and there are several events scheduled throughout the year, including a Christmas Tree Adventure!

32. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville

This railway offers special trips throughout the year including a Santa Train on December 18, 2016. Tickets are limited.

33. LM & M Railroad, Lebanon, Lebanon

This historic railroad offers special events including the Day out with Thomas and North Pole Express!

34. Train-O-Rama, Marblehead

One of Ohio’s largest multi-gauge model railroad displays open to the public! Trains are for sale in the gift shop as well!

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ICYMI: 5 Moms of Nationwide Share their Favorite Places to take their Kids in Columbus


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What Should We Do This Weekend? September 9-11, 2016

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1. Marion Popcorn Festival

When: Thursday – Saturday, September 8 – 10, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Location: Downtown Marion
Phone: 740-387-3378

Did you know Marion, Ohio is one of the top popcorn producers in the country? If you’re up for a road trip this weekend, you can celebrate popcorn with live musical acts like Kellie Pickler, rides, a parade, contests, a 5K, talent show and more!

2. Pearl Market

When: Friday, September 9, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: Pearl Alley, between Gay and Broad Streets
Phone: 614-591-4559

Visit Columbus’ downtown Farmer’s and Merchant’s Market for lots of fall goodies! The market runs through October 14, so you only have a few more weeks to do so!

3. Shekinah Festival and Auction at Shekinah Christian School

When: Friday & Saturday, September 9 & 10, 2016
Time: Friday: 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Saturday: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 10040 Lafayette-Plain City Rd, OH 43064
Phone: 614-504-3066

The “Biggest Little Festival in Ohio” includes BBQ, homemade ice cream, hot air balloons (including rides), live entertainment, crafts and baked goods for sale and a silent auction! Admission is free! If you attend, check out more things to do in Plain City!

4. The Main Event in Bexley

When: Friday, September 9, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Location: Capital University Lawn, 2242 E Main St., Columbus, OH 43209
Phone: 614-559-4200

Check out the Bexley’s Got Talent Show, play games and do crafts!  The movie Inside Out will be shown at 8:00 PM! Food options include Hot Chicken Takeover and Johnson’s Real Ice Cream!

5. Grand Reopening at Driving Park Community Center

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 1100 Rhoads Ave., Columbus, OH 43206

Celebrate the Grand Reopening with a ribbon cutting ceremony, food, and activities like a bounce house, climbing wall, live entertainment and a showing of the OSU game! See more information here.

6. Old Hilliardfest

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Location: Main St., downtown Hilliard

This street fair is full of fun including live music, food, carnival rides, games and activities for kids, a sunflower show, a Kids Fair and a car show, just to name a few!

7. Touch at Truck at the Columbus Zoo

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Jungle Jack’s Landing, 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

See emergency vehicles, utility trucks, safari vehicles and more up close while visiting the zoo!

8. Community Rock Climbing Festival at Scioto Audubon

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Climbing Wall, 400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43206

The events for the day include yoga, a climbing competition, visits from local mascots, volleyball, music, sumo wrestling and climbing clinics! This festival is open to families and all ages can climb! The day will end with a showing of the movie Everest! While you’re there, check out what else there is to do with kids at Scioto Audubon!

9. Columbus Toy and Collectable Show at Ohio Expo Center

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: Laushe Building, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

This family-friendly toy show may very well be a walk down memory lane for us parents! Click here for information on how to dress up to be entered into a drawing for door prizes! Kids under 12 are free!

10. Daniel Tiger Brunch at Skate Zone 71

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 4900 Evanswood Dr, Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-846-5626

Meet Daniel Tiger at this brunch buffet with roller skating afterwards! Tickets are $15 per adult and $10 per child over 2. You MUST have reservations for this event – call the number above for tickets!

11. Cops and Kids Day at Westerville Sports Complex

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 325 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-901-6893

This special day aims to allow children to learn about the vehicles, equipment, and technology used by law enforcement officers as well as meet officers in person! There will also be crafts, inflatables, and a “dunk-a-cop” tank! The 1st 1,000 children in attendance receive a free bag and water bottle. Admission and refreshments are free! Cops and Kids Day is part of Community Day, which also includes The Great Westerville Food Truck Fest and the 9/11 Memorial Observation. Here are some more ideas for things to do in Uptown Westerville.

12. Young Chef’s Academy Open House

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 425 Beecher Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230
Phone: 614-933-9700

Check out Young Chef’s Academy for cooking demonstrations, sample recipes, door prizes and special deals! Register online!

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ICYMI: Plain City Apple Picking Adventures

*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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