Winter Break in Columbus Part 1: December 23-29, 2019

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This handy list of special events and activities will help keep your kiddos entertained during Winter Break in Columbus!

If you’re looking for What Should We Do This Weekend? this is the list for this week and weekend! Scroll to the end for events happening during the weekend! Otherwise, this list will help you find something to do every day of this week during Winter Break in Columbus! (See Week 2 here!)

WonderLIght's Christmas in Ohio

WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio

Ongoing events in Columbus for every day this week:

Holiday Bricktacular at Legoland Discovery Center Columbus – from December 7 – January 5 when you visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center you can take part in special activities like meeting LEGO Santa, creating holiday builds, special additions to MINILAND and more! All special actives are included in admission. 

Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

Think Outside the Brick is on display through January 17, 2020 at Columbus Museum of Art! This LEGO set up shouldn’t be missed and would make a great weekend outing! Don’t forget the museum is free on Sundays! (Closed 12/24 and 12/15.)

Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt at Blendon Woods Metro Park – through January 5th, search for winter creatures hidden around the Nature Center. All ages welcome.

Visit the Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Library downtown!

School Days Off at Hilltop YMCA – kids on Winter Break can swim, play games, do crafts and more each day! $30/child if you preregister. $40 day of.

Christmas Corner at State Auto – State Auto’s Christmas Corner is lighted each night from 5:00 PM – 11:30 PM and until 12:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Each Friday and Saturday night there are live performances from local choirs and musicians. Free hot chocolate is available (donations accepted)!

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Wildlights takes place at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020 from 5:00 PM to close and features millions of LED lights, animated light shows, Rudolph and Friends, Santa, a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 4-D theater short and much more! (Closed 12/24 and 12/15.)

Display at Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory

Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory – visit the Conservatory decorated for the holidays! This year is the biggest show yet and extends into the Children’s Garden and the Grand Mallway! Visit The Pool in the Grand Mallway for an interactive art display! This nightly event runs from November 15, 2019 to January 5, 2020 from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. There is a special engagement rate for this event and members receive 50% off. Closed on 12/25 and closes at 5:00 PM on 12/24.

WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio at National Trail Raceway – this new event features a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! The show happens rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5 from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

Light display at Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds – Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights is celebrating 20 years with 30 new displays this year! This drive through light show is 3 miles long and features 160 light displays! The show runs rain or shine, November 15, 2019 – January 1, 2020 from 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM Sunday – Thursday and 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM Friday and Saturday.

Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – take a ride through Town Center in a horse drawn carriage. Cost is $10/person, children under 15 ride for free with a paying adult. Beginning today, these rides will be available Fridays 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Saturdays 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Sundays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Available 12/23, 27, 28 and 29.

The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre – watch a traditional performance of The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre through Saturday, December 28, 2019. This performances has two acts with a 20 minute intermission. (No performances Christmas Day.)


A BIG thank you to WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio for sponsoring this post!

Santa’s not the only one coming to town!! “WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio”, a drive-through Christmas light show, will be coming to National Trail Raceway in Hebron this holiday season!

This family-friendly event will feature a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! Giant Christmas trees, floating snowflakes, shooting stars, dancing candy canes, and (a favorite of children of all ages) three enchanting tunnels of light will illuminate the night! Guests will be able to watch the lights dance around them to traditional and newer, rocking Christmas music from the warmth of their own vehicle.

This dazzling Christmas display will be offered rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5! The cost of admission is affordable at $7 per person and children 3 years old and under are FREE! You can also purchase a “Carload Pass” for vehicles with up to seven passengers for just $30!

Learn more at www.christmasinohio.com!


Road Trip Ideas for Winter Break:

Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights! at Landoll’s Mohican Castle features over 100,000 lights, a Christmas tree, holiday music and visits from Santa! This event will be $8.00 per car on Friday & Saturday nights, free Sunday-Thursday nights. This event goes on through January 5, 2020.

Winterfest opens at Kings Island on November 22 and operates select nights through December 31. . It includes ice skating, holiday characters, millions of lights, holiday shows, carolers, and the park will included 10 winter wonderlands to visit.

Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden features 3 million LED lights, a black-light puppet show, a train ride, Fiona’s Fairyland and more. Closed Christmas Eve evening and Christmas Day. The event runs through January 4, 2020.

Christmas at Kingwood at Kingwood Center Gardens is $5/person. Kids 12 and under are free and it is open on Thursdays through Sundays from 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM through January 5, 2020. There will be a Trail of Lights, a Community Tree Walk, a greenhouse display and other festive events. 


Things to do on Winter Break (December 23 – 29, 2019):

holiday train at Main Library

Holiday Train at Main Library

Monday, December 23, 2019

8:00 AM – Mommy and Me – Candyland & Gingerbread Men Christmas Party at Sunny Street Café (Sawmill) – this event features $1 Dino Pancakes and toppings bar, games, crafts and Christmas treats!

9:00 AM – Photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place – get your photo taken with Santa during mall hours.

9:30 AM – Our Village: Polar Express Themed Class & PJ Party at Amelita Mirolo Barn – join FIT4MOM UA for a special Polar Express themed class and PJ party! Kids will watch the movie while the moms work out! Afterwards there will be holiday crafts, “hot” chocolate milk and other holiday goodies. Your first class is free!

10:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – this is one of your last chances to get a family photo with Santa for $5 or take your own photo! Reservations are full but you can still wait in line for your turn!

10:00 AM – Family Gingerbread House Decorating at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – build a gingerbread house together! All supplies will be included. Reservations are required.

11:00 AM – Messy Monday Afternoon at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus – messy, sensory play will be available in the party room for kids to explore! This is included in the cost of open play! 

2:00 PM – Author Visit: Heather Shumaker at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers – this award-winning author will visit Cover to Cover Bookstore to read from her book “The Griffins of Castle Cary” – a book for kids ages 8-12. 

2:00 PM – Open Play at KSM Sports Facility – kids can run around and get out excess energy with various sports, activities, games, toys and more! $10/person.


Christmas Corner in Columbus Ohio

State Auto’s Christmas Corner

Tuesday, December 24, 2019, Christmas Eve

6:00 AM – $5 Tuesdays at Marcus Theatres – every Tuesday (including Christmas Eve) movies are just $5 and if you’re a Magical Rewards member you can get a free complimentary-size popcorn.

8:00 AM – Mommy and Me – Candyland & Gingerbread Men Christmas Party at Sunny Street Café (Polaris) – this event features $1 Dino Pancakes and toppings bar, games, crafts and Christmas treats!

10:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – get a family photo with Santa for $5 or take your own photo!

9:00 AM – Photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place – get your photo taken with Santa during mall hours.

3:00 PM – Christmas Eve Ceremony at Christmas Corner – the Christmas Eve ceremony includes a live performance by Alan Tyson and placing baby Jesus into the life-sized nativity.


lighted tree at Christmas in Ohio

WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio

Wednesday, December 25, 2019, Christmas Day 

10:00 AM – Holiday Bricktacular at Legoland Discovery Center Columbus – from December 7 – January 5 when you visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center you can take part in special activities like meeting LEGO Santa, creating holiday builds, special additions to MINILAND and more! All special actives are included in admission. 

5:30 PM – WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio at National Trail Raceway – this new event features a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! The show happens rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5 from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

5:30 PM – Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds – Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights is celebrating 20 years with 30 new displays this year! This drive through light show is 3 miles long and features 160 light displays! The show runs rain or shine, November 15, 2019 – January 1, 2020 from 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM Sunday – Thursday and 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM Friday and Saturday.


Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Theatre

Thursday, December 26, 2019

10:00 AM – Little Tykes Open Play at KSM Sports Facility –  kids ages 6 months to 5 years old can play in the soft play area, with balls and games and burn off energy running around the large indoor play area. $6/kids, $3 for siblings.

11:00 AM – My First Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre – this is a kid-friendly, general admission event that will be performed with the lights dimmed and last for one hour. This is perfect for younger kids and kids who would prefer a sensory-friendly environment! There will be crafts in the lobby area and a quiet area on the second floor. 


lights at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Friday, December 27, 2019

9:00 AM – Our Village: Stroller Strides Pajama Party! at Polaris Fashion Place – join FIT4MOM Columbus North for a pajama party workout and coffee date at Starbucks afterwards! Kids are welcome and your first class is free! 

10:00 AM – Toddler Open Gym at Thompson Recreation Center – drop in for a free Open Gym time at the rec center!

2:00 PM – For Families: Backyard Birds at Homestead Metro Park – make a bird feeder to take home and learn how to attract birds to your own backyard.

2:00 PM – Open Play at KSM Sports Facility – kids can run around and get out excess energy with various sports, activities, games, toys and more! $10/person.

4:00 PM – Family Night Fridays at Tree of Life Play + Cafe – for $30 enjoy a family pass to the play area and a large 1 tipping pizza and a drink pitcher.

6:00 PM – Night at the Nature Center at Battelle Darby Nature Center – come to the Nature center to see what animals awaken after dark in the living stream!

7:00 PM – Friday Nights Unlimited Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71 – family skate is available from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM for $10/person. That includes admission, skate rental and unlimited cheese pizza!


lights at Franklin Park Conservatory's Conservatory Aglow

Conservatory Aglow – Franklin Park Conservatory

Saturday, December 28, 2019

9:00 AM – Inclusion Saturdays! at Get Air Pickerington – private hours are available on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month for children with special needs to play!

9:30 AM – Sensory Friendly Storytime at Barnes & Noble Easton – come before the store opens for a sensory activity geared towards kids on the autism spectrum or who needs a less overwhelming story time. An RSVP on Facebook is preferred.

11:00 AM – Disney Movie Saturday at Westland Area Library – watch the movie Tangled and get a free treat. Kids 12 and under welcome.

11:30 AM – Free MEALS for KIDS! at Hilltop YMCA – free meals will be available for kids until 12:30 PM.

1:00 PM – LEGO Design Challenge Day at Columbus Museum of Art – compete in fast-paced challenges using LEGO bricks! There will be prizes for each winning team! Included in general admission!

2:00 PM – Snow Day! (Kraft-n-Play/Stay-N-Play/Drop-n-Go) at Dublin Toy Emporium – there are several crafting options at this special event with varying levels of parent involvement, including drop off opportunities. Free hot chocolate and prizes! See link for pricing.


holiday lights at Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons

Sunday, December 29, 2019

9:00 AM – Toddler Time! at Get Air Pickerington – kids under 46 inches are welcome to jump during these special hours (9:00 AM – 11:00 AM).

11:00 AM – Baby & Me Storytime at Barnes & Noble Dublin – this story time is perfect for kids ages 0-2 and their care giver. There will be a story and sensory activities. Adults will receive a coupon for the cafe!

1:00 PM – Harlem Globetrotters at The Schottenstein Center – watch the original Harlem Globetrotters at The Schottenstein Center.

4:30 PM – Families in the Kitchen at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – kids and adults can create recipes together. All ages welcome. $25/person. Register in advance.


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*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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93 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus

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Looking for things to do in Columbus around Thanksgiving? If you have family in town and/or a few days off of work and are looking for something to do, check out this list of 93 events and things to do Thanksgiving week in Columbus!

93 Things to do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus:

If there’s a chance you’ll need to walk (or skate) off an extra piece of pie (or two) or get bickering family members out of the house….tuck this list away! And have a happy week of thankfulness! (As always, please double check the link for exact details, dates and times!) There will not be an additional What Should We Do This Weekend? post this week. This is the list! 🙂

Things to Do Any Time Thanksgiving Week:

Light Tunnel at Conservatory Aglow

Tunnel of Light at Franklin Park Conservatory.

1. Conservatory Aglow is happening at Franklin Park Conservatory! While you’re there, check out the Gingerbread Competition.

2. Wildlights is in full swing all weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium!

3. Visit LEGOLAND Columbus Discovery Center at Easton Town Center. LEGOLAND is open 365 days a year. Thanksgiving Hours are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and the last admission is at 3:00 PM.

Light Tunnel at WonderLight's Christmas in Ohio in Hebron, Ohio

Drive Through Tunnel at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

4. Drive through WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio in Hebron, Ohio to see over 1 million synchronized LED lights! Open every night from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

5. Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights! at Landoll’s Mohican Castle features over 100,000 lights, a Christmas tree, holiday music and visits from Santa! This event will be $8.00 per car on Friday & Saturday nights, free Sunday-Thursday nights.

Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights, Alum Creek Campground

Drive Through Lights at Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights!

6. Drive through Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights, a holiday light display at Alum Creek Park Campground any night through January 1st, 5:30 PM – 9:30, until 10:30 on Friday and Saturday.

7. Take a road trip to visit the PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

8. Drop a letter in Santa’s Mailbox in Pickerington beginning Wednesday.

9. Check out the Thanksgiving Weekend special at Ten Pin Alley. Each day beginning Wednesday and running through Sunday there are different deals including $3 laser tag, half off arcade games, kids eat free and more! (Check the link for each day’s deals.)

10. For many people this is the week to get their Christmas Tree! Pick a farm or tree lot from this list of Christmas Tree Farms in Columbus and Beyond!

11. Friday through Sunday you can take a Holiday Carriage Ride at Easton Town Center!

12. Sign up for a Family Gingerbread House Decorating class at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna.

13. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is playing this Friday, Saturday and Sunday only at Ohio Theatre!

Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library

Holiday Train at Main Library, Columbus.

14. Visit the Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Library downtown! Or check out one of these 5 Holiday Trains Around Columbus!

15. Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

Think Outside the Brick LEGO Exhibit at Columbus Museum of Art.

Think Outside the Brick LEGO Exhibit at Columbus Museum of Art.

16. Think Outside the Brick is now on display at Columbus Museum of Art! This LEGO set up shouldn’t be missed and would make a great weekend outing! Don’t forget the museum is free on Sundays!

17. Drive through the Fairfield County Festival of Lights at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. This light display goes on opens Thanksgiving Day and runs through Christmas Day!

18. Winterfest opens at Kings Island on November 22 and operates select nights through December 31. . It includes ice skating, holiday characters, millions of lights, holiday shows, carolers, and the park will included 10 winter wonderlands to visit.

boy standing in Mall at Tuttle Crossing looking down on Santa.

Santa at his post at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing.

19. Take photos with Santa at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing. Check the link for times.

20. Take photos with Santa at Easton Town Center. Check the link for times.

21. Take photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place. Check the link for times.

22. Drop a letter to Santa in Grandview Heights and get a letter back!

23. Visit Bubbles the Elf at Grandview Heights Public Library for a free activity each day!

24. Play with Purpose at Tree of Life Play + Cafe: bring in a donation of new hats, gloves or scarves for the Good Tidings Winter Wear store at SON Ministries through December 6 and get 50% off regular priced admission to Tree of Life Play + Cafe.


A BIG thank you to WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio for sponsoring this post!

Santa’s not the only one coming to town!! “WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio”, a drive-through Christmas light show, will be coming to National Trail Raceway in Hebron this holiday season!

This family-friendly event will feature a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! Giant Christmas trees, floating snowflakes, shooting stars, dancing candy canes, and (a favorite of children of all ages) three enchanting tunnels of light will illuminate the night! Guests will be able to watch the lights dance around them to traditional and newer, rocking Christmas music from the warmth of their own vehicle.

This dazzling Christmas display will be offered rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5! The cost of admission is affordable at $7 per person and children 3 years old and under are FREE! You can also purchase a “Carload Pass” for vehicles with up to seven passengers for just $30!

Learn more at www.christmasinohio.com!


Holiday Lights in Bicentennial Park, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Lights in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, November 25, 2019:

25. Play with Purpose at Tree of Life Play + Cafe!

26. Attend a Turkey Handprint Play Date at The Shops at Worthington Place.

27. Spend a Messy Monday Afternoon at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus.

28. Do Thanksgiving Crafts at Highbanks Metro Park.

29. Attend a second Turkey Handprint Play Date at The Shops at Worthington Place.

Christmas tree made of lights at WonderLight's Christmas in Ohio

Lights at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019:

30. Go to Farm & Forest School at Sunbury Urban Farm.

31. Celebrate Taco Tuesday at The Kitchen!

32. Watch Elf (Free Screening) at Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

33. Play Family Fun and Games at Homestead Metro Park.

hanging holiday decor at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Decor at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019: 

34. Go to Farm & Forest School at Sunbury Urban Farm.

35. Skate and Bounce at Skate Zone 71.

36. Play Family Fun and Games at Homestead Metro Park.

37. Take advantage of Cheap Skate Wednesdays at United Skates of America – Refugee Rd.

38. Make Cedar Wood Creations at Creative Art Bar Hilliard.

39. Thanksgiving Eve Glow Skate at Skate Zone 71.

40. Leave the kids at home for Thanksgiving Adult Skates at Skate Zone 71.

Blendon Woods Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio

Blendon Woods Metro Park

Thursday, November 28, 2019, THANKSGIVING DAY:

Happy Thanksgiving! Lots of chances to burn off that extra piece of pie (not that you need to …..)

41. Run the Chase Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Upper Arlington – use the code “esff” for $6 off your registration!

42. Turkey Trot! in Blendon Woods Metro Park.

43. Another chance for Thanksgiving Adult Skates at Skate Zone 71.

44. Family Thanksgiving Skate at United Skates of America – Refugee Rd.

Trees at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Friday, November 29, 2019:

Black Friday doesn’t have to mean shopping! Check out these fun things to do!

45. Visit Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm.

46. Take a Black Friday Hike at Clear Creek Metro Park (this one is a bit intense).

47. Run around at Toddler Open Gym at Thompson Recreation Center.

48. Go Black Friday Rollerskating at Skate Zone 71. (3 different times today!)

49. Learn about Ohioans in sports at Thanksgiving Family Friday at Ohio History Center.

50. Drop off the kids for Kids Sew, Parents Go! at The Sewing Hive!

51. Opt Outside: Hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

52. Attend Toddler Time with Fine Motor Friday at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus.

53. Enjoy Indoor Amusements at Slate Run Metro Park and Living Historical Farm!

54. Find your tree at the Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Saint Mary School German Village.

55. Black Friday Rollerskating again at Skate Zone 71.

56. Check out the Dazzling Christmas Lights First Night in Westerville.

57. See the 71st Annual Lighting of The Licking County Courthouse.

58. Pizza Skate with the Trolls at Skate Zone 71.

59. Watch the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena.

60. See the 2nd Annual LDP Lighting Event! at Lucy Depp Park, a drive through light experience!

61. Tired of turkey? How about Friday Nights Unlimited Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71?

62. Have Hot Cocoa with Queen Elsa! at Susie’s Bistro & Bakery.

Christmas Trees at HTH Farm Market, Columbus, Ohio

HTH Farm Market

Saturday, November 30, 2019:

63. Take a Fall Bird Walk at Deer Haven Park.

62. Shop Small Business Saturday in Grove City

63. Santa is Coming to Sunny Street Cafe!

64. Run the Columbus Hungry Turkey 5k/10k in Genoa Park.

65. Shop Small Business Saturday at Gramercy Books!

66. Take part in Moonlight Madness at Tanger Outlets.

67. Attend a Sensory Friendly Storytime at Barnes & Noble – Easton.

68. Check out the Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Saint Mary School German Village.

69. Attend Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm.

70. Shop Small Business Saturday with Natterdoodle!

71. Attend a Saturday Storytime at Barnes & Noble – Dublin.

72. Get Free MEALS for KIDS! at Hilltop YMCA.

73. Shop the Holiday Bazaar at Vertical Adventures.

74. Do Gingerbread House Decorating with Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies.

75. Enjoy Indoor Amusements at Slate Run Metro Park and Living Historical Farm

76. Take part in Family Turkey Talk at Blendon Woods Metro Park

77. Watch Ohio Roller Derby’s Halloween vs. Christmas game: The Skatemare Before Christmas in the Lausche Building!

78. Head south for the Ashville Christmas Parade!

The word "Rejoice" in lights at Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights in Columbus, Ohio

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Sunday, December 1, 2019:

79. Take the kids to Toddler Time! at Get Air Pickerington.

80. Relax with Kids Yoga & Storytime – GoYoga + Cover to Cover at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers

81. Another chance for the Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Saint Mary School German Village.

82. Celebrate Christmas in the Gardens at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center.

83. Shop Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm.

84. Shop Moonlight Madness at Tanger Outlets.

85. Attend the Holiday Bazaar & Tree Lighting in the Short North Arts District.

86. Create Holiday Stack-ables at Creative Art Bar Hilliard.

87. Visit the 10th-Annual HolidayVille in Clintonville.

88. Shop the Holiday Artisan Market at 3060 ARTWORKS.

89. Attend the Holiday Open House in Old Worthington!

90. Send Letters to Santa in Hilliard!

91. Visit Seldom Seen Glaciers in Battelle Darby Metro Park (ages 13 and up!).

92. Attend a Disney Junior Holiday Party! at the Palace Theatre.

93. Watch the Hilliard Tree Lighting in Hilliard’s Station Park.

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. 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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93 Things to do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus, Ohio


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4 Magical Places to See Santa in Columbus

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Where are the best places in Columbus to see Santa? Thanks to Tam Luu, now we know! In this guest post, she’s sharing 4 of her favorite places to take her kids to see Santa in Columbus – and they are magical!

Christmas has quickly become my favorite holiday now that I have kids. It’s such a magical time of year and it’s so fun to see the joy and excitement it brings to them. Growing up, we really didn’t celebrate Christmas, or any holiday for that matter, so I think I may be over compensating now that I have my own kids. Haha! 

Boy in front of Christmas tree in Columbus, Ohio

It has become an annual tradition for me and my family to take the kids to see as many Santas as possible! Well, at least for my son Zayn, who LOVES the big guy. Last year was Zoë’s first time meeting him and she was NOT a fan… picture lots of crying and flailing!

Here are my top 4 favorite Santa’s in Columbus:


1. Snowflake Castle

Everal Barn and Homestead
60 N. Cleveland Avenue
Westerville, Ohio 43082

Dates: Dec 2 – 8, 2019

Snowflake Castle sells out so quickly! Residents of Westerville get first dibs on tickets before they open up to non-residents the next day. It is the cutest event!

Tickets are only $10/child and include a toy, activity, and a printed photo with Santa & Mrs. Claus. You can also take your own pics with your phone or camera!

The event is held at the Everal Barn and Homestead in Westerville, Ohio. The walk up to the barn is always festive and decorated in holiday decor. Upon entering, there is a small shop with lots of craft/handmade goods and a train display for kids to watch while parents check in at the desk.

Tickets are sold for specific time slots, so it’s never too crowded and the lines are never too long! (Suggestion: do not bring a stroller unless you really need it… the areas are kind of small and there’s not a lot of extra room for strollers)

Kids at the Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio

Once checked in, it’s a short two flights up stairs to Santa’s workshop (not sure if they call it that, but that’s what it reminds me of). There is a stage with a snow globe backdrop set up for taking your own photos, a place to hang your coats, and Christmas trees all around. They also blow fake snow every few minutes to make the room even more magical!

Once you’re done taking everything in, and snapping some of your own photos, you can get into the queue to pick your wooden toy to make with Santa’s helper. There’s a lot of options, but my kids have chosen different parts of a train each year!

woman helping a chid build her castle at Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio

It is so cute to watch (and record) your kids helping to build their toy! After it’s built, you can opt to let them paint their creations or just move on to the next building where Santa awaits. They provide aprons for those worried about getting their clothes dirty and then have helpers to properly label and bag them up wet.

child building a toy at the Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio

You then need to put your coats back on for a short stroll over to Santa. There is a Christmas decorated shed on the way with a big sleigh you can sit in to take pictures and a spot with bales of hay and reindeer wooden cutouts to grab some cute group photos (or attempt to lol)!

Kids outside the Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio

family in a sleigh at Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio

Santa is located in a cute little house. There usually is a small line inside while people visit with Santa. In the middle of the line is a table filled with puzzles, coloring pages and crayons to keep kids occupied.

kids doing crafts at the Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio
 
Once it’s your turn to meet Santa, you enter the room and he is sitting on a big throne bench with Mrs. Claus. Kids can spend a few minutes talking with them and photographers are there to capture the moment. You’re allowed to take your own pics as well. After exiting that room, there is a person who will present you with your printed photo.
 
kids with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Snowflake Castle in Westerville, Ohio
This event has become a tradition for us and we will be returning year after year. It is recommended for children 10 and under.

2. Lazarus Santa’s Workshop

Lazarus Building
50 W. Town Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Date: Dec 7, 2019 12-6pm

mom and chid visiting Santa in Columbus, Ohio

This is probably my favorite Santa set up in Columbus and it is FREE!!! Santa awaits in a covered outdoor area that is so beautifully decorated! There is no photographer but there are helpers who will take your photos with your phone.
 
Costumed characters at the Lazarus Building in Columbus, Ohio
 
Santa even gives the kids a free toy. Behind the Santa is a beautiful tree, and there are stations for face painting, balloon animals, and crafts. Costumed characters also roam up and down the line to entertain the children.

Child crying on Santa's Lap at the Lazarus Building in Columbus, Ohio

Child on Santa's lap at the Lazarus Building in Columbus, Ohio

Once you head inside, there are festively decorated spots to take photos and then a room full of craft stations! Last year there was even a stand giving away free cookies and orange juice!

Family at The Lazarus Building in Columbus, Ohio
 
Participants can also head over to Columbus Commons afterwards to see their 400,000+ LED light display starting at 5pm and enjoy free carousel rides, hot chocolate and holiday music!

3. Cabela’s Santa’s Wonderland

Takes place at your local Cabela’s

Dates: Nov 16 – Dec 24, 2019

child visiting santa at Cabela's in Columbus, Ohio

Check the online schedule for daily times and activities! Free 4×6 photo with Bass Pass. The Santa set up is always great and my kids love seeing the aquarium and animals on “The Mountain.”
 
Check the website to see specific activities for your location but I noticed they added a ton of new things this year! Kids can also write a letter and mail it to Santa! We usually go on a weekday so it’s not too busy.
 
Child coloring a picture at Cabela's in Columbus, Ohio

4. Easton Town Center Santa

160 New Bond Street
Columbus, Ohio 43219
Level 2, Easton Station Building

Dates: Nov 22 – Dec 24, 2019

Kids on Santa's lap at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio

Easton does a great job with their Santa set up! I always try to take my kids early, on a weekday to avoid lines… and also to get a little extra face time with Santa! Don’t hesitate! Get your visit in early!

child on Santa's lap at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio

Easton makes it easy with online reservations (not required). The first 5×7 photo is only $5 and you are allowed to take photos with your own phone or camera!

man and child standing by a Nutcracker at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio
 
mother and child standing in Christmas scene at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio

I would love to hear where YOUR favorite Columbus Santas are!

family Christmas photo in Columbus, Ohio

Hi! I’m Tam. I’m a mama of two toddlers, my son Zayn (3yrs old) and my daughter Zoë (1.5yrs old). I’m engaged to, and work with, Carl Z., toy entrepreneur and owner of Nowstalgic Toys, Inc., who’s also famous for being the first non-celebrity to be drawn into an episode of The Simpsons. Ever heard of Squirmles aka “Worm on a string?” That’s one of our products! Now that we have kids, I’m always on the search for fun things to do and you can catch our adventures on my Instagram page @Tamstargram. Additional profiles are @ZaynZealer @Zoe_Zealer and @CarlZealer,

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