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Your #newmain Library: Sneak Peek

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Yesterday, I attended the Media Preview of the soon-to-open new Main Library! The transformation inside is pretty amazing! It’s almost hard to imagine that it is the same place! Don’t get me wrong, I thought the old library was pretty awesome, but this renovation has turned Main Library into a totally new place. Columbus Metropolitan Library has a vision for the library that is evident, intentional and actually unfolding before our eyes. (See the pictures from my hard hat tour in May at: 10 Things to be Excited About at New Main Library.)IMG_7233When you visit, you’ll see that the focus has shifted from “collections” to “connections”. Main Library has been literally opened up to foster transparency and community.  A lot of thought has been put into how “young minds” will move through the library as they grow into tweens, teens and finally adults. Through the actual, physical set up of the library, they are encouraged to envision themselves as a productive part of the Columbus community.

The library officially opens to the public on Saturday, June 25th with the dedication and ribbon cutting beginning at 12:00 noon. A celebration follows that includes entertainment, activities, an art show, and a concert and movie in Topiary Park! Sunday features an Author Talk with David Baldacci at 2:00 PM. See this link for all the details!

There is something new for everyone at Main Library. Enjoy this “sneak peek” of your #newmain library!

For Kids:

IMG_7359A separate (smaller) entrance for the kids into the Children’s Department!

IMG_7307Open space for reading and playing.

IMG_7305Lots of space for books, of course!

IMG_7298The Children’s Department focuses on getting kids Ready For Kindergarten. It also offers a space for Reading Buddies to help prepare kids to pass the 3rd grade reading test.

Storytimes and public programs will happen in this open space!Storytimes and public programs will happen in this open space!

IMG_7325Little kids can actually climb into these holes to work on computers!

For Tweens:

IMG_7333Under these cool lights is the Homework Help Center where tweens have their own entrance (you know, away from those little kids! 😉 ) and their own area to explore and develop.

For Teens:

IMG_7242The breathtaking view of downtown from these computers, which are exclusively for teens, is meant to inspire teens to dream about their futures here in Columbus. Behind them is a board room with glass walls that offer teens a view of an adult life that can soon be theirs.

IMG_7249This is the “collaboration couch” for teens to work together in groups and have a safe space to hang out.

For Adults:

IMG_7214Each floor offers a Discovery Board with an interactive map. All meeting rooms have iPads outside the doors displaying the daily schedule.

IMG_7294The Reading Room, with lots of natural light and views of Topiary Park!

IMG_7259Space for reading and collaborating.

IMG_7369An outdoor reading room with access to Topiary Park and free Wi-Fi!

IMG_7197More open seating for reading and connecting!

IMG_7208The Carnegie Cafe, a spot for our caffeine fix!

IMG_7262Libraries all over have shifted their focus as technology changes. Columbus Metropolitan Library is committed to offering access to technology for those who might not have access otherwise.  There are 72 public computers on the 2nd floor. The library will offer free faxing and scanning. There will be the option for mobile printing from your cell phone, or even from your home computer to be picked up at the library!

IMG_7291Lest you think the library is no longer focused on books, yesterday we learned that when Main Library reopens, half of the collection will be brand new! There will be check outs on each floor of the library, 7 meeting rooms (which can be reserved online), 7 quiet study rooms and “15-minute computers” that can be used for a quick email check or print job.

I think you’ll find Main Library to be bright, welcoming and an extremely valuable resource for our community. I expect to spend most of my time in the Children’s Department, but after my visit yesterday, I will be secretly trying to figure out how I can get there alone to spend time sitting and reading in the other amazing areas of the library! See you there!

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ICYMI: 5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus


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5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus

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There is no shortage of things to do during the summer in Columbus! In fact, I compiled a huge list for Columbus Moms Blog! But there are so many things, it can get overwhelming to try to keep track and try them all, so I thought I’d do a short list of some of the things we’ve actually done this summer to give you some tips and ideas if you need them!

1. Attend a Free Program at one of the Metro Parks

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In May, we attended the Pre-K program at Darby Creek Metro Park about seeds. The kids got to hear stories about planting and then plant their own seeds in a cup. It was exciting when one day we discovered our seeds had actually bloomed!

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We also attended a story time at the Scioto Audubon. Most of the Metro Parks have some type of program for kids (and for varying age groups), and except for a rare occasion, they’re free! There are so many great opportunities to take advantage of at our Metro Parks! Click the link here to search for upcoming programs!

2. Splash at FountainSide at Bicentennial Park

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FountainSide takes place most Wednesdays from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at Bicentennial Park. (Check the schedule in the link for the dates.) We attended the first one in June. The fountain area is really large and there are activities that take place in tents around the park. We got to blow bubbles, pet turtles, see chameleons eat bugs, crawl through tunnels, do a scavenger hunt in a pretend stream and plant seeds in a pot to take home!

Donatos sells slices of pizza for $2 and the Lazer Kraze Treat Truck is on site to pass out free ice cream bars! It was a really fun time. I recommend bringing a blanket and staking out a spot on the lawn. My kids aren’t into splashing in fountains (though they will certainly go out of their way to splash in any muddy puddle they see, thank you, Peppa Pig.) but there was plenty to do anyway! If you can’t make it during the week, the fountains are available for play from 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM daily.

3. Tour the Velvet Ice Cream Factory

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We didn’t actually tour the factory, but we did attend the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival on the grounds of the Velvet Ice Cream Factory on Memorial Day.  Since it was a holiday, the factory was not in operation, but we did get to see videos and take a look at the factory from the viewing window.

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The grounds of Velvet Ice Cream have a playground, a sand box, a pavilion, a gift shop and museum area, as well as restaurant and an ice cream shop, of course! It was about a 50 minute drive from downtown Columbus. 30 minute tours of the museum take place on the hour from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM on weekdays. The tours are not offered on weekends, holidays and some Fridays.

4. Ride the CBUS

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The CBUS is a fun and FREE way to get around downtown Columbus! Not only will it save little legs from walking (or more so, your back from carrying) long distances, it’s an exciting way to see the city! The bus runs every 10-15 minutes, every day! We took the CBUS on Mother’s Day when we had dinner at Northstar and then ice cream at Jeni’s (is that the perfect Mother’s Day or what?!). Note to self, it stops at 6:00 PM on Sunday! We didn’t realize that small fact in time! Luckily it was a short walk back to our car – but something to keep in mind if it happens to be Sunday and you don’t want to get stuck at the other end of town!

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Maybe it’s because my kids are boys, but they were very excited to watch for and ride the bus! Jaden kept wanting to know how the bus knew where we wanted to go! 😉 The great thing is that it goes in a loop, so you can’t possibly miss your stop! Just wait at one of the specific CBUS signs along the route (see the link), and then pull the cord above the window when you want to get off. Take the CBUS to and from the Short North and the Brewery District, getting on and off wherever and however many times you want. Use it to get to a specific destination or just ride it for fun and enjoy the sights! (FYI, you can bring your stroller and fold it up when you get on the bus!)

5. Visit Ohio Village at Ohio History Center

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Ohio Village is open for the summer and it has been updated to represent the 1890’s! You can try out an adult-sized tricycle at the new bike shop, take your photo 1890’s style, talk with the residents about their everyday life or play old-fashioned games on the Village Green.

We attended on Opening Day and the streets were bustling with activity! We got to try hand-cranked ice cream and take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Ohio Village is only open through Labor Day and is included with your admission (or membership) to Ohio History Center. (You can read our review here.) Saturday, June 18th is Storybook Village and your kids can meet with their favorite PBS Kids friends! (There is usually a line for this event and it is very popular so come early!) On June 19th, the Ohio Village Muffins play vintage “base ball” on their home field!

I plan to do this kind of post a few times this summer so keep an eye out! Enjoy your summer!

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ICYMI: Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield


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What Should We Do This Weekend? May 27-29, 2016

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The temperatures are in the 80’s, some schools are out, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and Columbus events are in full-swing!  It’s the unofficial start of SUMMER! (Just for saying that, it will probably snow next week (thanks, Ohio!) but I’ll take my chances!)

First off, this weekend kicks off the summer season at Columbus Commons, a great, multi-purpose green space in the middle of downtown.  All summer there will be concerts, festivals and my first event on the list, Commons for Kids!

1. Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

When: Friday, May 27, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

Free carousel rides, bouncy houses and open play are available every Friday, but each week has different special activities.  This week Lowe’s will be on hand to help your child plant a plant to take home and Mr. Puppet will give a performance!

2. Family Fun Day at Columbus Commons

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

Saturday at Columbus Commons you can join in lots of fun activities like face painting, inflatables, crafts, Lego play, maker space, photo booth and more!  Some (but not all) activities require a $5 wristband purchase. The event opens at a 3:00 PM for children with sensory sensitivities. There will be food trucks on location and visits from special characters!  Stick around for:

3. Free Movie Night at the Commons

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

The busy weekend at the Commons concludes with an outdoor showing of The Good Dinosaur, rated PG.

4. Story Trail Opening Day at Friendship Park

When: Friday, May 27, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 138 Oklahoma Ave., Gahanna, OH 43230

Celebrate the opening of the new Story Trail at Friendship Park, a collaboration between Gahanna Parks & Recreation, Columbus Metropolitan Library and Art Garden Studios. Attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, enjoy a live music performance by Casey Redmond and participate in games and other fun activities!

5. Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival

When: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 28-30, 2016
Time: Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 11339 Mt Vernon Rd., Utica, OH 43080

If you’re up for a short road trip this weekend, the Utica Ice Cream Festival offers tons of fun for kids (not to mention ice cream)! Kid friendly events include arts and crafts, magic shows, kiddie tractor pull, visits from the Columbus Zoo, water balloon toss and a whole lot more! Admission is $5 per car.

6. Asian Festival at Franklin Park

When: Saturday & Sunday, May 28 & 29, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 1755 E Broad St, Columbus OH

This celebration of Asian culture includes performances, food, a marketplace, and more. Specifically for kids, there will be a children’s area with games, crafts, dress up and the opportunity to learn calligraphy and make a handprint dragon!

7. Opening Day at Ohio Village

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus Ohio, 43211
Phone: 614-297-2300 or 800-686-6124

Ohio Village opens for the season and steps into the 1890s!  Opening day offers a look at the changes the village has undergone and a chance to meet new residents of the village, try croquet, make ice cream, listen to live music and more! Check the link for the schedule of activities.

8. For Kids – Wildlife at Homestead Park

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: The Barn, 4675 Cosgray Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-971-5211

Homestead Metro Park offers kids ages 3-10 the opportunity to meet live animals and learn more about Ohio’s wildlife!

9. Bob Evans Family Days at the Columbus Clippers

When: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Time: 1:05 PM
Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 462-5250
Ticket Line: (614) 462-2757

Family Day Admission is $15 for two adults and up to four youth ages 18 and under! Admission includes access to left-field bleachers, lawn seating and standing room only. After the game, kids can run the bases in the Commit to be Fit Fun Run!

10. Farmer’s Markets

Check out this link from Columbus Moms Blog where every Farmer’s Market in the Columbus area is listed by day!  Many take place on the weekend and would make for a fun outing this weekend as the season gets underway!

11. Memorial Day Parades and Other Events

Here is a link to Memorial Day events in the Columbus area, most happening on Monday, as we remember those we’ve lost in active military service.

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ICYMI: Playdate in Uptown Westerville

*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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