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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. Food Court Play Area at Polaris Fashion Place

boy at polaris fashion place play area columbus ohio

Tips: In the Food Court, there are several vehicles kids can play on or ride for $.75. The area is mostly fenced in and has a large seating area around it so you can eat or have a seat while the kids play.

7. 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!

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? August 19-21, 2016

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1. Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

This week’s Commons for Kids includes putt-putt golf, a bubble play zone and music from Columbus Folk Music Society! This is the next to last Commons for Kids of the summer! (Also Saturday night, there will be a free showing of The Good Dinosaur at Columbus Commons!)

2. Movie Night at Blacklick Woods

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Beech Maple Lodge, 6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-508-8111

During this program, kids can learn about beavers and then watch Leave it to Beavers, a movie. There will be free popcorn!

3. Great Columbus Duck Race at Creekside, Gahanna

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: Begins at 8:00 AM
Location: 101 Mill St., Gahanna, OH 43230

Races, family friendly activities, prizes, live music and a humongous duck race are all part of an event that supports the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital! See the link for info on how to register and/or purchase a duck for the Duck Race! Online purchasing ends Thursday night at 11:59 PM.

4. Back to School Party at Buffalo Wings & Rings

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 6325 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43213
Phone: 614-856-9464

Kick off the new school year with a bounce house, balloon animals, a magician and more! Other activities include a corn hole tournament, dance off, and karaoke!

5. BrickUniverse at Columbus Convention Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Hall E, 400 N High St., Columbus, OH 43215

See amazing Lego creations, enter building challenges, participate in free-building and enjoy all things Lego! There is also a Duplo building area for the younger kids! Tickets often sell out and can be bought online.

6. Grove City Eco Fest at Henceroth Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 2075 Mallow Lane, Grove City, OH 43123

This festival is all about healthy living and sustainability! Activities include touring a tiny house, a family bike tour with Mayor Ike, planting trees, an Art Zone, a Kids Zone, a Zoo Tent and more!

7. International Fun Festival at Grace Polaris Church

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 8225 Worthington Galena Rd, Westerville, Ohio 43081

This free outdoor party with an international theme celebrates unity in diversity! The event features food trucks, live entertainment, activity stations, bounce houses, crafts and more!

8. Family Fun Day at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 7227 N High St, Worthington, Ohio 43085

This free event includes a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, crafts, games and prizes!

9. Origami: Puppets at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Origami artists from Ohio Paper Folders will be on site to teach families how to fold origami puppets and toys. This event is free with admission or membership.

10. Hit Like an iGirl at Title Boxing

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:15 AM
Location: 955 W. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Girls ages 9-17 can attend a boxing session with iGirl and Title Boxing! iGirl is an organization “committed to providing young women with a safe place to discover and reach their full potential through self-awareness, self-confidence and personal goals.” Cost is $10 which includes wraps the girls can keep. Gloves are provided and so is lunch! Moms can also attend when accompanying a girl ages 9-17! Must register in advance.

11. I Spy Nature Challenge at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: meet at Schrock Lake Restrooms, 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111
Families can pick up an Adventure Backpack and take the I-Spy Nature Challenge for a chance to win a prize.

12. Clintonville Quest

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Begins at the Quest Booth at Crest Fest, corner of Tulane and Calumet

Want to explore Clintonville for a good cause? The Clintonville Quest is a scavenger hunt in the style of Amazing Race! Earn points and complete challenges as you discover various checkpoints around Clintonville. The money raised supports the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center! If you want to do this event as a family with young kids, consider entering the Quest Mini, which is open to all ages but contains fewer checkpoints and a shorter distance to cover! Adults can save $10 by registering by 10:00 PM on Friday. The race ends at Crest Fest, a neighborhood festival including food trucks, live music and a kids’ activity zone!

13. Lego Build Event at Barnes and Noble

When: Saturday August 20, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: your local Barnes and Noble

Kids age 6 and older can build with Legos at this free event!

14. Glow in the Dark Trail Run for Kids at Grove City YMCA

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 8:30 PM
Location: 3600 Discovery Dr, Grove City, Ohio 43123
Phone: 614-384-2295

This fun run supports cancer survivors  in the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program! Ages 5-17 are welcome to participate and glow sticks and s’mores will be provided! Register here.

15. Back to School Bash with the Hilliard Arts Council at Hilliard’s Station Park

When: Sunday, August 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: 4021 Main St, Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Another opportunity to kick off the back to school season with kid-friendly musical performances, pop-up art, face painting, a food truck and more!

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ICYMI: Exploring Downtown Powell with Kids

*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? July 29-31, 2016

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1. Ohio State Fair 

When: Wednesday, July 27 – Sunday, August 7, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Location: Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

Concerts, rides, roving entertainment, food, educational exhibits, animals, shopping and LOTS of events make up the Ohio State Fair!

2. Preschoolers: Creek Adventures at Battelle Darby Metro Park

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: 1775 Darby Creek Dr., Galloway, OH 43119
Phone: 614-508-8111

Your preschoolers can wade in the creek and meet little creatures that live there!

3. Book to Film at Gateway Film Center

When: Friday, July 29 – Thursday, August 4, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Location: 1550 North High St., Columbus, Ohio 43201
Phone: 614-247-4433

Watch the movie Coraline free with your library card at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM screenings. This is also the weekend for the Hoot Film Series.

4. Tram and Campfire at Glacier Ridge

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Red Oak Trailhead, 9801 Hyland Croy Rd., Plain City, OH 43064
Phone: 614-971-5211, Chrissy Hoff

Take a tram ride through the park and have s’mores at the campfire! Tram rides are offered every 45 minutes from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. S’mores will be provided by Metro Parks along with roasting sticks and you are free to bring your own food to roast over the campfire! All ages are welcome!

5. Paddington at Topiary Park

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: 480 East Town St., Columbus. Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-645-0197

Come watch a movie in Topiary Park! The movie starts at dusk but there will be food trucks, crafts and more before hand! Bring a blanket!

6. Drive-In Movie at Zoombezi Bay

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3550

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip from the Wild Tides Wave Pool! There will be activities before the movie, as well.

7. Bugstravaganza at Walnut Woods

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: Buckeye Area, 6716 Lithopolis Rd., Groveport, OH 43125
Phone: 614-508-8111

All ages are invited to celebrate bugs, insects, butterflies and more! Learn about pollinators, see these insects close up and participate in crafts and games!

8. Drop In: Ocean Adventure at Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library

When: Saturday July 30, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 4772 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-645-2275

All ages are welcome to stop in to explore the wonders of the ocean!

9. Crafts for Kids at Slate Farm

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Farmhouse, 1375 State Route 674 N., Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Phone: 614-508-8111

Come to Slate Farm to make and take some old-fashioned crafts!

10. Gahanna’s Great Outdoors “Throwback” Parks and Rec Party at Friendship Park

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Location: 150 Oklahoma Ave., Gahanna, OH 43230

Gahanna Parks and Rec celebrates National Parks and Recreation Month with games from the 70’s and beyond! Participate in activities like Olympic themed track and field events, lulling chickens to sleep, stickball, music and crafts, canoeing, hiking and more! There will also be a campfire and food trucks! The evening ends with the movie Swiss Family Robinson.

11. Harry Potter Release Party at Barnes and Noble

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: your local Barnes and Noble

Join other Harry Potter Fans for the countdown to the midnight release of the eighth Harry Potter book!

12. Powell Street Market

When: Sunday, July 31, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Powell

The streets of downtown Powell will be lined with vendors selling arts and crafts, edibles, jewelry and more! There will also be food trucks on site and pony rides! Admission and parking are free!

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ICYMI: 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer

*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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