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5 Magical Children’s Bookstores You Must Visit in Central Ohio

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These beautiful children’s bookstores in Ohio will transport you to another world! Check out one of these independent children’s bookstores in Central Ohio for books, gifts and goodies for the kids in your life!

boys looking at books at Cover to Cover Bookstore in Ohio for children.

Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

Bookstores are some of the best places, don’t you agree? I could spend all day in a bookstore with a cup of coffee. Maybe visiting bookstores with kids isn’t quite as relaxing as that! But either way, when you visit one of these magical children’s bookstores in Central Ohio, it will come pretty darn close!

Plan Your Visit to one of These 5 Amazing Children’s Bookstores in Ohio:

1. Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers

  • 2116 Arlington Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43221

boy standing in the Cover to Cover bookstore in Upper Arlington, Ohio

Speaking of being transported to another world, when you step inside Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers in Upper Arlington, Ohio, you might never want to return to reality! This adorable bookstore just for kids is a gem.

Cover to Cover was originally opened by a teacher in Clintonville. The store was bought by another teacher and moved to Upper Arlington in 2018. The store hosts special events and story times with authors on a regular basis.

seating area inside Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers in Ohio

With books for kids of all ages and stages, you can find everything you need for school projects, gifts or leisure reading. Online ordering is also available on the website!

2. Beanbag Books

  • 25 W Winter St., Delaware, Ohio 43015

inside the bookstore Beanbag Books in Delaware, Ohio

Beanbag Books began as a teacher supply store and has been in downtown Delaware for over 30 years. This store is full of books for kids of all ages and is a place you must visit with your kids when you’re in Delaware, Ohio!

Beyond books, you can also shop for toys, games and craft kits to keep your kids busy throughout the year!

Inside Beanbag Books, a children's bookstore in Ohio

Stop into Beanbag Books as part of a fun day in Delaware, Ohio with your kids!

3. The Fun Company

  • 136 S Main St., Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311, 937-599-2993 

Couch inside a Children's Bookstore in Bellefontaine, Ohio

This is a magical toy store in Bellefontaine, Ohio with a cozy book section that will make you want to plop down on a comfy couch and stay a while. This is an amazing hidden gem just outside of Columbus that I didn’t know existed until just a few years ago!

I loved how The Fun Company has little nooks and crannies for playing and reading. It is impossible not to fall in love with how cheery and fun this place is!

bookstore in Bellefontaine, Ohio called The Fun Station.

Even if you don’t live close enough to pop over to this children’s bookstore, you can order online and have books (and toys) shipped to your house! If you DO live close enough, there are a lot of fun things to do in Bellefontaine with your kids when you visit!

4. Gramercy Books

  • 2424 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209

The picture book area at Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio

The children’s section at Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio is delightful! This is a place I love to take my kids. And it doesn’t hurt that the bookstore is attacked to Kittie’s Cakes where they sell my favorite chocolate chip cookie in Columbus!

Though the entire bookstore is not dedicated to kids, the children’s space is it’s own little world with fun and colorful displays, enticing toys and a great selection of books for children.

a boy in the children's book area at Gramercy Books

This classy bookstore is an asset to Central Ohio with it’s great selection, author events and commitment to diversity in its offerings

5. The Book Loft

  • 631 South Third St., Columbus, OH 43206

The Book Loft bookstore in German Village in Columbus, Ohio

Quite possibly the most famous bookstore in Ohio, The Book Loft offers a maze of 32 rooms of books of all subjects and topics – including it’s own children’s book section consisting of 5 rooms!

There are so many books at the Book Loft, they often spill out onto the porch and sidewalk! Make sure to allow plenty of time to visit (and potentially get lost)! The store does provide maps and if it’s your first time visiting this bookstore in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, I suggest picking one up!

inside the children's book area at The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio.

On of my favorite parts of The Book Loft is that they play different CD’s in different sections and you can alway look around to find the display of what music is “now playing”!

Additionally, the children’s section is large and full of fun finds for all ages! Online ordering is also available!

Plan a visit to one of these magical children’s bookstores in Columbus and Central Ohio and you will not be disappointed! These local gems are some of our favorite places to take our kids! Which one is your favorite?

Children's Bookstores in Central Ohio

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Children's Bookstores in Ohio


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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Kids in Central Ohio

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These Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your kids from women-owned businesses in Central Ohio are fun, sweet, and, most importantly, delicious!

Guest Post by: Katie Sorokas

Valentine’s Day is all about loving on special people in your life and your little ones, tweens, and teens are no exception! Kids and teens alike will love chocolate, candy, a special shirt or craft, or bath bomb as a Valentine’s Day gift. And shopping local means loving on local business women and mamas as well!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Are you the type of person who goes all in on a family celebration with cupids, chocolate, and hearts? Or lets this holiday go by without a ton of effort and might pick up some discounted chocolate on February 15th? Maybe somewhere in-between with a dinner date for the grownups and pizza night for the kiddos?

While Valentine’s Day card and candy exchanges at schools may look different this year, you may be inspired to treat your kiddos to a fun and special celebration at home.

My little guy is just big enough to be talking about Valentine’s Day at preschool, and he is all about the red hearts and, most importantly, chocolate. We are always looking for an excuse to bake a cake in our house so we will be all forks into a decadently decorated cake on Valentine’s Day – and maybe a little treat yo self for the kiddos too! 

Rather than scoop up something from the Dollar Spot at Target this year, I am intentionally buying gifts and treats from local, women-owned businesses in Central Ohio.

Investing our dollars in our local economy, and especially to women-owned businesses, helps to grow both these entrepreneurs’ small businesses and keeps a workin’ mama’s dream alive another season. These dollars also stay in the local economy longer than a dollar spent at Target. 

Heads up – You may have to plan a bit more shopping local than you might at a big box store. These stores and shops are striving to make shopping local easy as pie (or cake!) with online orders and contactless pick up. Even if just a small part of your Valentine’s Day is full of small business love, you are rocking it by supporting a local mama and family. 

I hope these spotlighted businesses help you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little more love and fun this year! We could all use a sweet holiday filled with chocolate this season <3 

Valentine’s Gift Ideas For Tummies of All Ages:

Donna’s Delicious Dozen (Gahanna)

Checkout the yummy specials on Valentine’s Day donuts or (my favorite!) a DIY donut kit so you and your littles can decorate together!

Mara Bakes (Columbus)

Let Timmura, an award-winning baker with a home-based bakery business, make your Valentine’s Day a smashing success with a “smash heart” or paint-your-own cookie kit! She is also offering up cocoa bombs and tea bombs! Check out her social media for more details!

The Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Company (Westerville)

The ladies at The Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Company will set you up with all you need to host a delightful and sweet (or delicious and rowdy depending on your crowd of tiny humans!) tea party. They have everything you need to sip and toast to a day of loving on the special ones in your life. 

Foraged & Sown (Online)

Foraged & Sown can supply you with some yummy locally grown tea as well to fill your cup!

Valentine’s Gift Ideas For the Younger Crowd:

Wild Cat Gift & Party Store (Columbus)

With a section called “All Pink Everything,” Wild Cat has your Valentine’s Day decorations covered! And pick up a DIY coral reef crystal growing kit or dinosaur model kit for your little one while you are there!

City Folk Farm Shop (Columbus)

This family-owned homestead and farm shop will set your kiddos up for a Valentine’s Day outdoor adventure on the nature trail or a sweet garden to grow with love. Get your little ones involved in growing their own food right in your backyard (or on your windowsill!). Seed packets featuring a variety of pink and red fruits and veggies will fit right in this season. 

Valentine’s Gift Ideas For Tweens & Teens:

Natterdoodle (Columbus & Online)

From sweet cards to fun stickers for those Hydroflask water bottles to whimsical workshops, Natterdoodle has you covered! Natalie, the owner, has a mission to “sprinkle positivity confetti” around the world, and her art and style will do just that with your teenager! The stickers are adorable and sassy – and the workshops will be a win with your teen! My fav is the Virtual Intro to Handlettering workshop! 

Originalitees (Online)

Show Ohio and your teen some love with an Ohio proud shirt from Originalitees! This Ohio-based business includes a variety of tees in men, women, and child sizes. 

Earth Elements

Treat yo kiddo to a spa day with bath bombs, face masks, aftershave lotion, and more from Earth Elements (and might as well pick up something for yourself)! Simple, natural skincare products and toiletries made in Columbus will shower both you and this small business with love! Check out their Valentine’s Day Gift Guide online for more gift ideas too. 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Katie Sorokas is a mama on a mission to raise up women-owned businesses in Ohio. Showcasing mamas workin’ their goals and chasin’ their dreams makes her heart grow almost as big as a giant box of chocolates. When she’s not having a dance party or on an outdoor adventure with her two little boys, she is writing at Realistically Aspirational and setting up her new Ohio mini-homestead. Follow her on Instagram at @Katie_Heartland and check out her musings on mamas chasin’ goals at www.realisticallyaspirational.com.


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MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

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My kids love trains! I have been to *almost* every place on this list! When Jaden was 3, he could have gone to Barnes and Noble every single day to play with Thomas. This list isn’t so much for your kids as it is for you! Of course your kids will love these places, but this list is to keep YOU from going insane from doing the same thing every day! 😉 A good number of these things are special events that are only available for a short time! So check the list and mark your calendars because many of those are coming up this month! You, too, can be a really useful engine! 😉

1. Paul Busse Model Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory, downtown Columbus

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The train in the picture below is up nearly year round, but the one above makes a special appearance during the holidays! Check the link for info on Merry and Bright!

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2. Grandview Library, Grandview Heights

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One great library with a train table!

3. Huntington Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library, downtown Columbus

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The Huntington Holiday Train arrives in mid-November and the Main Library hosts an Open House on November 30th, which will include hot chocolate and cookies, crafts and the lighting of Topiary Park! For even more trains, keep an eye on the Hilliard and Gahanna branches which will offer Polar Express programs this year!

4. Ohio Railway Museum, Worthington

The museum has been working on repairing the tracks so no train rides are available as of today, but they hope to be up and running for the holidays!

5. The Train Station, Clintonville

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Model trains are for sale here and they also have a small play area for kids!

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6. Moody Street Trains, Clintonville

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Model trains are for sale here and there is a train table for playing. On Saturday, December 3, 2016, they will host the 2nd Annual National Lionel Train Day which will feature prizes, face painting and a visit from Santa!

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7. Model Railroad Days at COSI, downtown Columbus

Model Railroad Days are November 16-20, 2016 this year and large model train sets are available for viewing and there are also trains to play with! During the weekend you can watch the movie Rocky Mountain Express in the theater. At Christmastime, The Polar Express is shown as well! (p.s. there is also a train to play with in the little kidspace at COSI!)

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8. Barnes and Noble, various locations

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Barnes and Noble offers the hope that your children will play with trains while you quietly sip coffee and read a magazine.

9. Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard

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The Hilliard Branch is a fun library for kids and has a Chuggington train table.

10. Von Maur, Polaris Fashion Place

In the children’s section of the store, there is a train that runs along the wall and a train table for playing!

11. Easton Express Railway, Easton Town Center

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This outdoor train track is always decorated for whatever season it happens to be and is a big hit with the kids!

12. BrickUniverse, Columbus Convention Center

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There are lots of working LEGO trains at this once-a-year LEGO Expo!

13. Delaware County Model Railroaders’ Open Houses, Delaware

Model railroads are set up on these special open-house dates!

14. Great Train Show at Ohio Expo Center

This expo is coming January 14-15, 2017 and includes model railroads, train dealers, hands-on exhibits and more!

15. Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville

We stumbled upon this train track behind the offices at Inniswood. I couldn’t find any info on if/when it is used, but if you know, please leave a comment below!

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16. Holiday Train Display at Ohio History Center

This special train is on exhibit during the holiday season! It will be on display November 28, 2016 – January 4, 2017.

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There are other trains on the grounds of the Ohio History Center year round, including one inside the building that can be sat in, and the one seen below that sits outside.

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17. Schiller Park in German Village

This is a great park with a train that can be played on!

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18. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

This park is affectionately known as “the train park” – and aptly so!

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19. Henceroth Park, Grove City

This park offers lots of vehicles to play on including a jeep, boat and this wooden train!

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20. North America Train Ride at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

For $1 per person, you can ride a train around the North American exhibit at the zoo!

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21. Christmas Time Open House at Central Ohio Model Railroad Club

For 4 weekends in December, the club puts on an open house featuring giant model railroad layouts, an interactive Thomas the Tank Engine display and more! Admission is free!

22. Open Garden Tour by the members of Columbus Garden Railway Society

On the second Sunday in September, members of the Columbus Garden Railway Society open their houses (gardens!) for a tour of their own Garden Railroads!

BEYOND COLUMBUS . . .

23. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, Mansfield

One of the larger exhibits at the Little Buckeye Museum is the model train display and nearby train tables for playing!

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24. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, Bellevue

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There are tons of trains on display here, may of which you can climb aboard! This museum has indoor and outdoor components and the gift shop has a train table for playing!

25. Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc., Findlay

This organization offers train rides and holiday events (including the North Pole Express), a museum, gift shop and model train displays!

26. The Buckeye Express Diner, Bellville

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Eat dinner in an OSU-themed train car! There is a train playground outside too!

27. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison

This museum has a railroad car just for kids, model trains and a scavenger hunt just for kids!

 28. Lodi Station Outlets, Lodi

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This outlet mall is built with a train theme! You can purchase tickets to take a train ride around the property!

29. EnterTAINment Junction, West Chester

This venue offers displays, a museum, seasonal rides and a funhouse!

30. Day Out with Thomas, various locations

These special days only happen a few times a year at Ohio locations and include a 25-minute train ride, kids activities, live music and more!

31. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Northeast Ohio

The trains here run mainly on the weekends and there are several events scheduled throughout the year, including a Christmas Tree Adventure!

32. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville

This railway offers special trips throughout the year including a Santa Train on December 18, 2016. Tickets are limited.

33. LM & M Railroad, Lebanon, Lebanon

This historic railroad offers special events including the Day out with Thomas and North Pole Express!

34. Train-O-Rama, Marblehead

One of Ohio’s largest multi-gauge model railroad displays open to the public! Trains are for sale in the gift shop as well!

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ICYMI: 5 Moms of Nationwide Share their Favorite Places to take their Kids in Columbus


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