Over 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

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20+ Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus, Ohio to help you and your kids avoid cabin fever when it’s cold or rainy!

I hate to say it, but those days are coming . . . you know what I’m talking about: cold . . . winter . . . snow. 🙁 Luckily for us, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to play in Columbus, Ohio, and when it comes to playing inside, there are a lot of FREE options! This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Make Note of these 20 + Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus for cold and rainy days!

If you need to pass a morning inside but you also need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, keep this list of indoor playgrounds handy! You may also want to check out The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes  or 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus for more indoor ideas!

1. Blendon Woods Metro Park

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metro park nature center in Columbus, Ohio

4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081, 614-895-6221

Hours:
April to September: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
October to March: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Inside the Nature Center there are puzzles, activities and books for kids. See more about what to do at the Nature Center in Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

2. Westerville Community Center

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free indoor play area at westerville rec center

350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43082, 614-901-6500

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 5:45 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: The Westerville Community Center offers an indoor playground for kids as well as indoor programing during the fall and winter months for young children. See more details here.

3. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

free indoor play area at scioto audubon

505 W. Whittier St., Columbus OH 43215, 614-545-5475

Hours:
(These are Summer hours, check the website or call to double check!)
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Tips: The indoor play area here also includes a “cave” to play in and there are also weekly story times for the preschool age! See more to do at the Audubon Center in 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon. Also see: 2 MORE Great Metro Park Natures Centers for Columbus Kids!

4. Scoops and Chutes Playground at Graeter’s Ice Cream

indoor play area at graeter's ice cream bethel rd.

2136 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220 614-442-7622

Hours:
(These hours may be seasonal, double check the website or call before visiting!)
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Tips: Socks are required to play on the indoor playground and can be bought for $1 if you forget! I included this play area in one of my Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week!

Polaris Fashion Place:

1500 Polaris Parkway , Columbus, OH 43240, 614-846-1500

Hours:
Monday – Thursday 10:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

This mall is home to a few different options for indoor play listed here:

5. Zoo Play Area at Polaris Fashion Place

free indoor play area at Polaris Fashion Place, Columbus, Ohio

Tips: Shoes must be removed to play. The area has recently been redone and only has one exit/entrance which is great for keeping an eye on wandering toddlers!

6. Pottery Barn Kids at Polaris Fashion Place

boys at free indoor play area at pottery barn kids

Tips: PBK usually has toys out for play on both sides of the store (boys and girls) and my kids love them all! There is a story time on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM!

7. Bexley Public Library

2411 E Main St., Columbus, OH 43209

Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM–9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9AM–6PM
Sunday 1–5PM

Tips: Bexley Public Library has an amazing play area for kids! One of the most spacious kids areas around town, this space offers educational and imaginative play activities for kids!

8. Battelle Darby Nature Center

free indoor play area at battelle darby creek metro park area

1775 Darby Creek Dr Galloway, OH 43119, 614-878-7106

Hours:
April to May: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
June to August: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
September to October: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
November to March: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Tips: The nature center has a living stream as well as a small kids’ area to play in.  There are preschool programs inside the center on Tuesdays! See 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids.

9. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries

free indoor play area at columbus metropolitan library

Main Library: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Hours vary by library and can be found here.

Tips: So many of the branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library have great areas for indoor play! I shared my favorites here and here! Of course, many other area libraries have areas for play too! Check out the locations for Worthington, Westerville, Delaware County, Grove City, and Upper Arlington! You may also want to check out: 2 Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids and 2 MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids!

10. Grandview Heights Public Library

free indoor play at grandview public library

1685 W. 1st Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: I included Grandview’s library separately because they have a really good area for toddlers and preschoolers to play that includes a train table and Duplos! They also have a lot of story times! See the schedule here.

11. Whole Foods, Dublin

free indoor play area at Whole Foods

3670 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., ColumbusOH 43235, 614-760-5556
 
Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
 
Tips: This indoor play area is close to the restrooms and surrounded by tables that are convenient for watching your kids play!

12. Whole Foods, Upper Arlington

free indoor play area at whole foods upper arlington

1555 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Tips: This small play area is near the front and has books, play food, cars and more! Lots of seating nearby. EDITED July 11, 2018: A lot of the toys  have been removed from this area recently. There is still a kid-sized table but I don’t know if the toys will be returning! 🙁

13. United Art and Education

free indoor play area at united arts and education

3622 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-527-8508

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: First of all, this is a GREAT store for fun and educational kid products! There is a little play area tucked into the front corner of the store with a surprising amount of things to do! Blocks, play groceries, magnets, Calico Critters, and more!

14. Barnes and Noble

free indoor play area at Barnes and Noble

See the Columbus locations here!

Tips: Barnes and Noble is a hit for kids who love train tables and there are always lots of books to read! There are also story times on Saturdays!

15. The Naz Playplace

free indoor play area at The Naz, Grove City Columbus

4770 Hoover Rd, Grove City, OH 43123, 614-305-2034

Hours:
Sun: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMam – 2pm
Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed and socks worn inside this large indoor playground in Grove City! Socks can be purchased for $1 if you forget. There is a story time with crafts on Tuesday mornings! You can also register online before your first visit to save time. Outside the play area there is a cafe where you can purchase food (coffee is only $1!) and lots of seating!

16. Central Park at Westerville Christian Church

free indoor play area, Westerville Ohio

471 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-891-6842

Hours:

Open Play Hours September 18, 2018 – May 2019:
1st & 3rd Tuesday of the Month: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Every Thursday: 10:00 AM – 11:30AM
1st, 2nd & 3rd Saturday of the Month: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play in the play area. There is also a rock climbing area here! This cute indoor playground follows all Westerville City Schools closing and delays.

17. The Shops at Worthington Place

free indoor play area at the shops at worthington place

7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play in the fenced in playground area. If it’s warm enough, there is also an outdoor play area just outside the exit close to the indoor play area!

18. The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

free indoor play area at tuttle mall

5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Dublin, OH 43016, 614-717-9300

Hours:
Monday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: This indoor play area in Dublin has a STEAM theme: Science, Technology, Arts and Music. Lots of hands-on, fine motor activity here! My kids particularly loved the Magna-Tiles! (There is also an area with coin-operated vehicles in the food court area!) You can read more about this indoor play area here: NEW! Children’s Play Area at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

19. Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

Wonder Room at columbus museum of art

480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215, 614-221-6801

Hours:
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: This is a area for art and exploration just for kids on the bottom floor of the Art Museum. The Columbus Museum of Art (and this kids’ area) is free on Sundays only!

20. LEGO Store at Easton Town Center

free indoor play at the LEGO store, Columbus, Ohio

4004 Gramercy St., Columbus OH 43219, 614-342-2710

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Tips: Most of the time there is a table set up for building with LEGOs and/or Duplos inside the store!

21. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

free indoor play area at Coffee Connections, hilliard Ohio

4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-664-3993

Hours:
Monday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Tips: Coffee Connections is a coffee shop in Hilliard with a community space and an indoor play area in the back building. This play area is fun for preschoolers and younger and is totally free! (Though, you should probably buy a cup of coffee. 😉 ) See more pictures here.

22. Play Cafe at New Life Church, Gahanna Campus

indoor play area at New Life Gahanna Church

3690 N. Styler Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230, 614-475-8500

Hours:
Every Wednesday, Friday and First Saturday of the month: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Tips: This is a fun little indoor play area for kids ages 6 and under with toys to play with and coffee for the adults!

23. Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

free indoor play area for kids at two dollar radio

1124 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206

Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Tips: This is a coffee shop/book store with a small area with a kids focus! If you’re looking to have a coffee date while your kids play, this is a great spot! This is a vegan cafe serving, coffee, meals, drinks and special offerings throughout the week.

24. Naturally Curious Kids

free indoor play are at naturally curious kids, westerville, Ohio

13 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-568-8590 

Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM 

Tips: This is a sweet little toy store with two floors of fun! So many unique toys are available along with many of your favorites! There is a house to play in, a train table and other toys on rotation. 

I hope this list of indoor play areas in Columbus gets you through the winter! I know we will be making use of many of these free indoor play places as the weather gets cold and I get cabin fever! 🙂

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Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio


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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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What Should We Do This Weekend? April 29 – May 1, 2016

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I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the weekend!  Here are 7 things you can do with your kids!  Enjoy!

1. Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA of Central Ohio

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Times vary by location)
Location: Your Local YMCA

Healthy Kids Day is celebrated at 11 local branches of the YMCA! The goal of this day of activity is to improve the health and well-being of families! Activities vary by location, so check the link for the schedules at each individual YMCA. Examples of featured activities include family zumba, Touch a Truck, rock climbing, swim evaluations, free bike helmets, lego table, obstacle course, bounce houses and much more! And it’s FREE!

2. Powell Street Market in Downtown Powell

When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Powell, OH

This downtown market only happens 3 times a year and features a wide selection of vendors selling hand-made treasures, food, jewelry and more! Food trucks will be on site and there will be pony rides for the kids! Admission and parking is free!

3. Hoot Family Film Series at Gateway Film Center

When: Saturday, April 30. 2016
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201
Phone: 614-247-4433

Music, crafts, dancing and a live performance by the Shazzbots accompany child-friendly short films! This month’s theme is wind!

4. Dive Under the Sea with ProMusica at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Karl Road Branch

When: Saturday April 30, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:55 AM
Location: 5590 Karl Road, Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-645-2275

All ages are welcome to explore music inspired by the ocean! This concert by ProMuscia is free and family-friendly!

5. Free Crafts for Kids at Lakeshore Learning Store

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 2148 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-846-1710

Make a free “Thanks-A-Bunch Bouquet” of flowers at the Polaris store!

6. Free Admission at Columbus Museum of Art

When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-221-6801

Just in case you don’t know, every Sunday is free at Columbus Museum of Art!

7. Family Days at Pizzuti Collection

When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 632 N Park St, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-280-4004

Free admission to the Pizzuti Collection will be offered on the first Sunday of each month through December! These special days include guided children’s tours at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM and a scavenger hunt. Each child will also be given their own sketchbook!

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ICYMI: Saturday Morning in the Short North


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