marcus theatres columbus ohio

Affordable (and Free!) Summer Fun at Local Marcus Theatres 

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Want to beat the heat or get out of the rain? Keep the kids entertained this summer with one of these fun, affordable family-friendly movie options at Marcus Theatres!

Thanks to Marcus Theatres for sponsoring this post!

Affordable (and Free!) Summer Fun at Local Marcus Theatres

two children at Marcus Theatres Columbus Ohio

Ah summer…no school, warm days and long nights. Although the list of potential activities seems never ending, it’s always a good idea to have a fool-proof plan in your back pocket for those days when the kids say “I’m bored,” the rain ruins your outing or you just want to kick up your feet and RELAX!

That’s where Marcus Theatres comes to the rescue.  With two local theatres, the Marcus Crosswoods Cinema in Columbus and the Marcus Pickerington Cinema in Pickerington, there is plenty of affordable (and free!) family fun on tap all summer long. Both theatres also feature comfortable DreamLounger recliners, premium large format screens and two great dining options — the Take Five Lounge and Zaffiro’s Express — for a convenient outing all under one roof.

Kids Dream Summer Film Series (Crosswoods and Pickerington Cinemas)

The Kids Dream Summer Film Series presented by American Family Insurance brings recent family favorites back to the big screen for an admission price of just $3 per person. Better yet, popcorn and fountain drinks are only $2.75 each! All films will play now through August 14 on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. 

You can save even more by visiting an American Family Insurance agency owner or the Kids Dream website to receive two FREE tickets courtesy of American Family Insurance. Visit to get yours! 

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Kids Dream films:

kids at Marcus Theatres Columbus Ohio

Free Family Parties (Crosswoods Cinema)

Heads to the Crosswoods Cinema for free family parties to celebrate the opening of this summer’s biggest films. Pro tip: they are come as you please and a great way to burn off extra energy before or after the movie! 

Mark your calendar for these upcoming parties:

  • July 20 and 21: “The Lion King” Free Family Parties from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    • Get your picture taken in the photo booth; make-your-own paper plate lion mask, lion origami and animal scratch art; and enjoy free snacks! 
    • Stay for the movie! Film admission sold separately. Click here for showtimes.
  • August 17 and 18: “The Angry Birds Movie 2” Free Family Parties from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    • Partygoers will enjoy a variety of crafts, snacks and more — more details and showtimes will be available soon at
    • Stay for the movie! Film admission sold separately.The Lion King movie shown at Marcus Theatres Columbus Ohio

Value Days (Select Locations)

From “Toy Story 4” to “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” (opening August 9), it’s no secret that this summer’s line-up is packed with plenty of amazing movies for families — and with value days at Marcus Theatres a trip to the theatre doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out these great offerings:

  • $5 Movie Tuesday (both theatres): Every movie is just $5, plus Magical Movie Rewards (MMR) loyalty members receive free complimentary-size popcorn! (Not a MMR member? You can sign-up for free online or in theatre.)
  • Student Thursday* (Crosswoods Cinema): Every Thursday, students and faculty can enjoy a movie for $6, plus receive free complimentary-size popcorn. Simply show your student or faculty ID to receive this great deal!
*Ticket prices are subject to tax where applicable. An additional charge applies for 3D, SuperScreen DLX and UltraScreen DLX showings.

The next time you’re in the market for a fun and affordable summer activity, make sure to head to your nearest Marcus Theatre!


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Related: 35 FREE Things to do with Your Kids This Summer in Columbus

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Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains

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These Central Ohio and Columbus splash pads are easy ways to cool off in the summer and a safer alternative for young kids who don’t yet know how to swim!

All of these splash pads are free to enter and most are open Memorial Day through Labor Day. It’s always a good idea to check the link for dates and hours of operation! You may want to read: 25 Things to Pack for a Successful Trip to the Splash Pad before you go!

Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains:

1. Bicentennial Park

233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

fountain at Bicentennial Park

Bicentennial Park on the Scioto Mile

2. North Bank Park

311 W. Long St., Columbus, OH 43215

  • The splash pad is behind the pavilion at the end of Neil Ave.

3. Hilliard’s Station Park

4021 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026

Splash pad at Hilliard's Station Park

Hilliard’s Station Park

4. Easton Town Center Fountains

160 Easton Square Pl, Columbus, OH 43219

Fountain at Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center

5. Grove City Splash Pad

3600 Discovery Dr., Grove City, OH 43123

Splash Pad at Fryer Park in Grove City, Ohio

Fryer Park Splash Pad

6. Ballantrae Community Park Spray Fountains

6350 Woerner Temple Rd., Dublin, OH 43016

Fountains at Ballantrae Park in Dublin, Ohio

Ballantrae Park

7. Powell Splash Pad

47 Hall St., Powell, OH 43065

Splash Pad in Powell, Ohio

Powell Splash Pad

8. Hanby Park

115 E Park St., Westerville, OH 43081

9. Fountain at Polaris Fashion Place

1500 Polaris Pkwy., Columbus, OH 43240

fountain at Polaris Fashion Place

Polaris Fashion Place

10. Partners Park

125 E 6th St., Marysville, OH 43040here

11. Spray and Play at Veterans Park

1121 South Houk Rd., Delaware, OH 43015

Spray and Play at Veteran's Park in Delaware

Veteran’s Park

12. Fountain Plaza at Dorrian Green

50 South Belle St., Columbus, Ohio 43215



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35 FREE Things to do with Your Kids This Summer in Columbus

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Summer is the best time to get out and explore lots of fun things with the kids! Luckily for us, Columbus is full of lots of FREE things to do this summer! If you need some inspiration, here are 35 things you can do for free around town!

35 Free Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus:

train car in Hilliard, ohio columbus, ohio

1. Climb aboard the train at Homestead Metro Park.

westgate farmer's market in columbus, ohio

2. Check out a farmer’s market. See this list from Columbus Moms Blog, listed by day of the week!

3. Watch an outdoor movie. See this list from 614 Mom.

kids splashing in fountains at polaris fashion place, columbus, ohio

4. Have fun at KidX at Polaris Fashion Place.

Columbus Commons Park in Columbus, Ohio

5. Play at Commons for Kids every Friday.

tree house at Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio

6. Climb into the tree house at Inniswood Metro Park.

7. Win prizes in a Summer Reading Club. Register at your local library or take advantage of one of these national programs listed by Mission to Save.

8. Try out one of Columbus’ many festivals. Check out this list of festivals around Columbus from Columbus Underground!

park in gahanna, ohio

9. Try out a new park. I have some ideas here and here!

10. Follow the path of the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.

kids at a splash pad in columbus, ohio

11. Get wet at a local splash pad! See my list of Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains!

12.. Bowl for free with the Kids Bowl Free program! There are 3 locations in the Columbus area!

hilltop bean dinner meal in columbus, ohio

13. Attend the Hilltop Bean Dinner commemorating the role the Hilltop played in the Civil War! Admission is free and there is a huge car show, food vendors, arts and crafts and more!

14. Shop 100 local vendors at the Powell Street Market.

kid getting a book from a little free library in columbus, ohio

15. Visit a Little Free Library to borrow or donate books.

16. Attend one of the Cap City Nights Festivals hosted by Columbus Recreation and Parks! (2019 info not yet released.)

kids participating in free metro park program in columbus, ohio

17. Learn about nature at one of the Preschool Programs at Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks.

18. Enjoy some music at Polaris Live every Thursday night beginning June 13, 2019. Also see Summer Nights in Columbus: Concerts, Movies and More for Every Night of the Week!

kid at story time at chic fil a on sawmill, columbus, ohio

19. Hear a story or two at the Storytime at Chic Fil A on Sawmill.

celebration at the station in hilliard, ohio

20. Enjoy a free concert at Celebration at the Station at Hilliard’s Station Park – Thursdays at 6:00 PM beginning June 6, 2019.

kid at IKEA smaland

21. Explore IKEA and get free childcare and free coffee for IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders).

22. Get artistic at Arts in Uptown on the Second Friday of each month!

23. Watch a free movie at Gateway Film Center! Admission to their Book to Film series is free with your library card!

kid climbing in the natural play area at Blendon Woods Metro Park in Columbus, ohio

24. Explore the Blendon Woods Natural Play Area where kids can build forts, swing through the woods on a wooden swing, go creeking and more!

arches in the short north in columbus, Ohio

25. Attend Gallery Hop in the Short North on the first Saturday night of each month from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM! Enjoy street performers, special deals and treats and the shops stay open late!

26. Watch a movie and have fun at Bexley Main Event.

27. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Day – the first Sunday of each month when Columbus and Franklin County residents (with valid ID) get in free! Make sure to play in the Children’s Garden!

28. Stop to smell the roses at Columbus Park of Roses.

play for free at the columbus museum of art on Sundays!

29. Explore Columbus Museum of Art when admission is free on Sundays! Don’t miss The Wonder Room, an area just for kids!

30. Explore an ancient burial mound, Shrum Mound.

kids riding the CBUS in Columbus, Ohio

31. Take a ride on the CBUS. All rides are free and the buses go in a loop around the Short North, downtown, Brewery District and German Village.

32. Take a ride on the Smart Circuit – a self driving shuttle that will take you around the Scioto Mile!

free indoor play area in columbus ohio

33. Beat the heat with a free indoor play area.

hoot family film series free this summer in columbus ohio

34. Enjoy music, activities and movies at Hoot Family Film Series – free with a non-perishable donation to the Open Shelter.

35. Do a craft, hear a story and listen to jazz music at PBJ & Jazz.

Feel free to share what kind of free activities your family likes to do around Columbus in the comments!


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35 Free Things to do this summer in Columbus, Ohio


More Fun with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

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