COSI in the Evenings

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If you’re a stay at home parent, then you probably avoid going places with your kids on Saturday. Honestly, the thought of taking my kids to COSI on a Saturday ranks right up there with grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon. (Hey – I have an idea, let’s do something 6000 of your closest friends and neighbors are also doing!) Stay at home parents and (from what friends tell me) homeschooling parents are pretty much spoiled when it comes to having large institutions to themselves and pretty much dread summer break, winter break, spring break and school field trips when “their” beloved locations are, well, busy.

But if you work outside the home, you don’t have a lot of choice in this area. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are times when parents who work traditional 9-5 schedules can find less busy times to visit locations that can otherwise feel like navigating the aisles of Target the Saturday before Christmas. (I tried to avoid it this year but I did not succeed!)


This blog post is specifically about COSI during winter break. On January 2nd, my entire family decided to go to COSI on Saturday night. During winter break this year, COSI was open until 9 PM. There was practically no line for members and parking was free! How was parking free, you ask? The meters outside COSI shut off at 6 pm. This is pretty much the only time I can think of that you can get free parking at COSI. The foot traffic at COSI was manageable and even the LEGO exhibit was easy to get around and my kids got to take their turn at every thing they wanted to try. We stayed for just about an hour or so, killing that dreaded hour between dinner and bedtime in which the clock usually moves backwards, am I right?!?

If it’s not winter break, (you know, the other 50 weeks of the year), I have also been to Family Friday Night at COSI, which happens on the last Friday of every month and I can attest that it is not super packed on those nights either.

The LEGO exhibit at COSI is around until May 8, 2016. If you have kids who love LEGOs, this is your year. There are LEGO exhibits at COSI, The Columbus Museum of Art and The Ohio History Center this winter. And if you read my blog post about memberships, then you, my friend, know that you can make these visits often and nearly free. 😉

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Okay, if you’re a parent in Columbus, chances are you are a member of COSI and the Zoo. (And if not, you should be!) Being a member to these two places really can pay for itself in as little as two visits. If you’re like me, you don’t wake up thinking, “gee, how can I spend $40 today?” I wake up thinking, “What can we do today that will be fun – and FREE?” So a membership is not technically free, but after a few visits, it really is! Being a member eliminates the added dimension of figuring in cost to your daily outing. I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but just in case I’m not: It’s worth it.

So, let’s go beyond COSI and the Zoo. (Which are WONDERFUL and will no doubt get their own posts one day). I have recently realized (thanks to a wonderful staff person at the Columbus Museum of Art) that with young children, individual memberships are a cost effective option! Take for instance the art museum. A “Friend” membership is good for you plus one additional adult and children age 5 and under are free. This membership costs $60. A one time visit for one adult costs $14. If my husband and I go twice, the membership is pretty much paid for. If your kids are over 5, the “Household” membership is only $15 more – or just about the cost of one visit. Anyway…. with both of my children being under 5, the “Friend” membership became a no-brainer, especially with a Lego Exhibit underway!

Another museum where an individual membership is the way to go is the Ohio History Center. One adult entrance is $10. An “Basic Individual” membership is only $35 and it also gets in one unnamed guest! This is another case where children 5 and under are free.

I say take advantage of these individual memberships while your kids are young! And you’ll have somewhere to go in the dead of winter when cabin fever is raging!


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